English Men's Dress Clothes of the 1880s

Written by mary grace konzier
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English Men's Dress Clothes of the 1880s
Many Englishmen carried canes when dressed in formal attire in the 1880s. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Englishmen in the 1880s wore dress clothes for most formal occasions, such as attending the theatre and opera, and some everyday occasions such as calling on social acquaintances. An Englishman's clothes represented status and position in society and many Englishmen took great pride in their appearance.

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In the 1880s most Englishmen wore a frock coat, waistcoat and trousers. A frock coat was a knee-length coat that flared out almost like a skirt at the kneecap. Englishmen also wore morning coats. It differed from the frock coat in that it had a cutaway front, which would give the man tails at the back. These were all considered formal attire and were for special occasions such as weddings, church and ceremonies. These coats were usually double-breasted, contained no shoulder padding and were dark coloured.


In the 19th century Englishmen wore full length trousers for many formal occasions, very similar to what men wear today. Made of corduroy or wool, they were dark in colour, usually black. For outdoor activities such as hunting Englishmen wore tweed or woollen breeches.

Capes and Cloaks

When attending formal occasions in the chilly London air, many Englishmen wore capes and cloaks. These stylish coats kept them warm as well as lending an air of sophistication to their attire.

Top Hats

Wearing hats, specifically top hats, was a customary part of an Englishman's attire. Men wore hats for formal occasions and dinners. Hats were protection from the elements, kept their heads warm and added an air of sophistication. They were de rigueur at the theatre and opera in the London.

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