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© McCord Museum
E. Klingis, Montreal, QC, 1895
Wm. Notman & Son
1895, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper
17 x 12 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

Despite the prevailing belief during the late 19th century that men were (or, at least, should be) uninterested in fashion, there is ample documentary evidence to the contrary. And despite their apparent indifference to fashion, men immortalized themselves (and their wardrobes) in paintings and photographs. Dressed for the artist or the photographer, men chose their best clothes, leading us to wonder whether some portraits weren't as much a portrait of a favourite hat or tie as they were of the man himself. Self-conscious attention to fashion is evident in a man's choice of suit, the jaunty set of his hat, or his detailed attention to his accessories, grooming or facial hair.

Who says men aren't interested in fashion?


From his straw boater to his carefully arranged watch chain and necktie, Mr. Klingis is undeniably and self-consciously fashionable. His crisply creased trousers were still a fashion novelty in the 1890s.


Mr. Klingis's picture was taken in the studio of William Notman, photographer of Montreal's élite.


Mr. Klingis's photo was taken in 1895.


Men at all social levels had themselves immortalized by the camera in the 19th century, once photography became cheaper.

© Musée McCord Museum