Gentlemens fashions for May archive 1831

English dandies at the tailor’s shop. Engraving by George Cruikshank, 1823.

The fashionable colours for dress coats are blue, with gilt buttons, and blue velvet collars; dark green, with black silk buttons and black velvet collar.

For frock coats, black, blue, olive, and green; they still continue to be made double breasted, with its pocket outside in the left breast, and though of fine cloth, often bound with silk binding. Velvet collars are indispensable, and if made single breasted, the collar and breast are faced with velvet. The sleeves are not so full at top, nor is there much wadding or stiffening used in the fashionable portion of the trade at the west end.

The only alteration in the fashion since last month is as follows: – The waist is a trifle shorter, and the hip buttons nearer together; the lappels not so pointed, and rather larger at top; the collar a degree longer, and shews a part of the quilting behind.

For trowsers, the spring has introduced a great variety in various names. Shepherd’s plaid is now changed into plaid merino, and cashmere plaid into almost all colours; it promises to become the leading article for morning trowsers.

The collar of a dandy’s shirt must he rounded, and without any opening under the chin, only it is a little higher at the sides. We see many cravats of glazed or watered silk, with knots ready tied.

For morning waistcoats, the Thibet shawls seem to have been put by for another winter; Marcella and silk are the only materials now in request. There are several things quite new in Marcella; the texture is finer, and the patterns, instead of being printed, are wove in so there need be no fear in the washing.

Hand coloured transparency of the Thames Tunnel circa 1830.
Hand coloured transparency of the Thames Tunnel circa 1830. Photograph: Amoret Tanner/Alamy

Hats present two very opposite fashions. Some have the crowns high, and rather conic, the brims turned up, and plaques at the sides of the crown; the others with very low crowns, and large flat round brims.

The boots above tight pantaloons are entirely round at the top, and form numerous plaits.

A dandy no longer takes off his hat to salute his male friends, when he is on horseback; he contents himself with raising his right arm to the shoulder, and bends his fingers two or three times in the palm of his hand. The gesture is for gentlemen instead of the bow, and for ladies it is necessary to take off the hat to salute them.

Many of our dandies wear, on one of the fingers of their left hand, half a dozen gold rings of the form called grees and polonais.