Top 5 historic clothing items we should bring back into style (stockings on men, big cuffs on coats etc.)
Well I am very biased, because my everyday clothes are mostly 18th century menswear inspired, but for a list as short as 5 it's good to narrow it down!
1. 18th century shirts. Big puffy soft linen shirts. Best shirts. Comfiest shirts. Though tragically, since they get softer with more washing, they're at their absolute most comfortable right before they wear out.
(This one's from the post where I copied the tiddy-out violinist painting.)
Besides being the nicest softest comfiest, they're also the most economical, being made entirely from rectangles. And they're versatile, they look good with lots of different garments! Someday I will do a very detailed youtube tutorial for my machine sewn shirt method. I've done so many now that I think I've finally got it down.
2. Adjustable waistbands. Why did this ever stop being a thing? 18th century breeches have lacing at the back, then in the 19th century trousers have a buckle tab.
Now they do not, even though we're all still humans with bodies that change. (These are my orange silk breeches)
Do you know how many hours of my life I've spent taking in or letting out the waist seams of modern trousers? I don't know either, but I've been an alterations tailor since 2019, so it's got to be a fair amount.
All that waist altering wouldn't be necessary if they still made them adjustable! Waistlines fluctuate, so too should waistbands!!
3. Shoulder capes attached to coats. This was a thing in the late 18th century, and in the 19th, and I think into the early 20th too. It adds extra protection from the rain and snow, and it looks cool.
(c. 1812, The Met.)
(c. 1840-60, MFA Boston. The cape on this one is detachable)
You can make them long or short, and stack them up like pancakes or just have one. I've got 2 small ones on my corduroy coat, and one on my dark blue wool. Both cut from almost the same 1790's-ish pattern.
I also want to give a shoutout to fitted sleeves! I love me some two piece sleeves with a distinct elbow! And the coat pockets were bigger back then.
4. Indoor caps. I don't care what era or how fancy you go with it, I just want people to wear caps indoors when it's cold! This one's super simple, it's just a tube of linen tied with a ribbon.
(Detail from Le Marchand d’Orviétan ou l’opérateur Barri by Etienne Jeaurat, 1743.)
If it's cold in your apartment you need slippers for the feets and a cap for the head. Speaking of which.
5. Medieval hoods. This one is wayyy outside my usual era, but the wintery below-freezing weather has just started here and the knit hat I've been wearing isn't quite long enough to cover my ears. I want to make a simple hat with ear flaps, but I also wouldn't be opposed to trying to work something vaguely similar to this into my wardrobe. It looks so warm!
(Image source. Also she has a printable pattern available!)
I actually made one of these once, an entire decade ago. But it was scratchy blanket wool and I've since given it away.
That's some of the main things I think we should bring back! There are lots of other things too, like men's nightgowns, and waistcoats with little scenes embroidered on them, but for this list I tried to be mostly practical.