The tailors

Waistcoat. 180-1830. Owner: Nasjonalmuseet

Making the attiers

Men’s tailors were needed for the new fashion. Men’s jackets, vests, and trousers had intricate patterns, utilized advanced stitching techniques, and required a precise fit tailored to the wearer. For these clothes to fit as fashion dictated, specialized sewing skills were required, and a gentleman’s tailor was usually necessary.

In contrast to women’s dresses, which in the early 1820s did not require particularly advanced sewing skills, at least if the dress was for everyday use.

The spread of fashions

Men’s fashion, as experienced in the Gentleman Tailor experience, required a skilled tailor to make properly, and so, for economic reasons, it was attainable mostly for the wealthiest in a community, such as merchants and state officials, along with their adult sons. They could also use more expensive fabrics and decorations, though in a discrete way.

Less affluent individuals belonging to the lower ranks of the middle class or the civil service, including clerks, secretaries, office workers, also followed the fashion but in a less extravagant version. Their clothes were made of less costly fabrics, the cuts somewhat simpler, or they may have inherited or purchased used clothing, or sewn by a mother, wife, or daughter. Who was not as skilled as a professional tailor.

Working-class people also attempted to follow the fashion, but by the time used garments reached them, they had often become quite outdated. Poorer women also had less experience in sewing, unless they worked as sewers. They had to dedicate their time to working, and would not have had sewing skills comparable to the bourgeois ladies with lots of free time, and certainly not the specialized gentleman’s tailors.

Ole Leuthen Ring. 1820. Artist: Jacob Munch. Owner: Nasjonalmuseet
Outside the Lottery Agency. 1808. Artist: C.W. Eckersberg. Owner: Statens Museum for Kunst