What people are wearing in historical photographs can offer many clues as to the earliest possible date of a portrait, group photograph, or street scene with figures.
Dress details may provide additional information, such as the social status of the wearer, their occupation, and sometimes their location or region.
Two young men stare out at me from a small old photograph. A variety of websites offer tips and tools, and they have the great advantage of being able to provide visual aids.
Even the most seasoned family historian will run into this headscratcher from time to time as Victorian fashions throughout the time period can look very similar to the untrained eye. Every fashionable gentleman could be seen wearing narrowly tailored sack suits during the 1870s. Later in the decade, cravats were wider and fabric was held in place by frames. Tight trousers and waistcoats, high upstanding collars with neckties tied around them. During this time, men’s frock coats had wider lapels and waistcoats were adorned with metal buttons and patterns. Collars were then worn down with long, knotted ties during the latter part of the decade. What to look for: Low, tight-cinched waists, rounded chest and flared frock-coats giving the illusion of an hourglass figure. The sack coat — a loosely fitted jacket — was also introduced. Basic facial recognition will also be covered which will help identify the same person in several photos over time.There are some good, easy tricks which you will learn in this workshop-format presentation.