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Masculine Contrasts

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Returning From Market., Digital ID 802062, New York Public Library[Man In Tribal Costume, North America, 1830s.], Digital ID 806777, New York Public LibraryThe new era of Victorianism affected masculine dress as well. Whether in Europe or America, men found themselves more mistrustful of dandyism. This isn’t to say that dandies didn’t continue to emerge from time to time, often in artistic circles, but the general air was one of cynicism. The illustrations I’ve used for this post are indicative of what two American men from different cultures would wear in the 1830s. An even greater impulse for change would affect men’s clothing. Scholars still argue today over the reasons for this change. One theory calls the decisions ahead “The Great Masculine Renunciation.” Most literature from this time period suggests that gender identity was in flux, although the man on the street would hotly deny that this was so.    

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