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Frock coats, cravats, bustles. The fashion of the nineteenth century

We have two representations of Nitschmann, but unfortunately neither shows his whole figure and therefore we do not know all the details of his clothing. We do see, however, that he was wearing a tie tied with a bowknot, as was fashionable among men at the turn of the century. As for the rest of his clothing, we can assume that it consisted of a tailcoat or a frock coat, long pants, a vest, and a shirt. The elements of men’s costume changed from decade to decade, of course, but they were much more constant than those of women’s fashion. The Empire style popularized the dress with a fitted bodice that ended below the breast, while Biedermeier-era dresses had wide skirts and puffed sleeves. The mid-nineteenth century, in turn, was marked by hoop skirts and then dresses with bustles. From the 1880s, female clothing simplified, not least due to the emancipation movement, which advocated making women’s everyday clothing more comfortable. By the end of the century, fashionable ladies wore practical garments consisting of a skirt and a jacket. Elegant men and women living in Elbląg at the end of the century obtained information about new fashions from the press, fashion magazines, and also from prêt-à-porter boutiques such as Unger und Sohn on Rybacka Street, the men’s outfitter Mecklenburg und Co. on the Old Market, or the Lowenthal department store.
Illustrations (from top):
1. Advertisements of the Felix Berlowitz factory. The manufacturer offered a wide selection of straw and felt hats for men and women. The factory was located on Rybacka Street in Elbląg. Elbinger Wohnungs-Anzeiger 1910.
2. In the 1880s, the dresses had a pronounced hump on the back of the skirt giving a female silhoutte the shape of the letter “S”. Illustriertes Sonntags-Blatt, a supplement to Altpreussische Zeitung, no. 9, Elbing 1888.