Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Suit sends multiple signals

19.10.2010
At the turn of the 19th century virtually all men wore suits. On the surface a uniform garment – but what has often been viewed as the uniform of the bourgeois civil servant was in fact a mode of dress that had many meanings and can tell us a great deal about those who wore it and the society they lived in.

Anna Hedtjärn Wester has done research into men in suits among three different groups in society a century ago: princes, artists, and hod-carriers. At the turn of the nineteenth century the suit was the latest thing in men’s fashions. Men in suits were regarded as modern.

They may have made a homogeneous impression, but there were nevertheless distinct differences. In her doctoral dissertation Anna Hedtjärn Wester analyses portraits of three groups of men – princes, artists, and hod-carriers, all of whom wore suits but none of whom were bourgeois.

What was signified when these men put on their suits at the turn of the century? Was the suit so univocally bourgeois, as has been purported in previous research, or could it be infused with multiple meanings? These are some of the questions addressed in the dissertation.

The primary source of material she used consists of images of various types: paintings and photographs. These images are seen as staged presentations, and the study of the images focuses not only on the suit – the bodies holding up the clothes are equally important. In other words, it is an investigation of how the style and quality of clothes, together with body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and gaze, could signal masculinity, group membership, and individuality more than a hundred years ago. The significance of superficial variations in the quality, fabric, colour, and form of the costumes is tied together with the men who wore them.

“I was fascinated that there was so much to glean from the material. I found major variations among the men in suits,” says Anna Hedtjärn Wester, who points out that a hod-carrier, for example, with a very meager income could be a dandy – a proletarian dandy.

Research on how these three groups dressed also reveals that they moved in different tension fields. These tension fields were created by historical and social problems with which the men had been forced to cope. For example, tradition versus modernity in the princes’ clothing or body versus intellect for hod-carriers. Artists, who were the group that transcended the boundaries of fashion in their clothing, moved in the tension between boundary-crossing and conformity.

Men’s modes of dressing embody struggles to be included in modern society – on their own terms, according to historian Anna Hedtjärn Wester.

Anna Hedtjärn Wester has been a doctoral candidate at the National Graduate School of History at Södertörn University and Lund University. Dissertation: Men in Suits: Princes, Artists, and Hod-Carriers at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century.

Contact: Anna Hedtjärn Wester, anna.hedtjarn.wester@sh.se
Pressofficer Eleonor Björkman; eleonor.bjorkman@sh.se; +46-70286 1332

Eleonor Björkman | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

Further reports about: Men in suits men’s fashions multiple signals uniform garment

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>