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How to Look Like a Victorian Gentleman in 11 Easy Steps

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Getty Images

Trying to add a bit of class to your 21st-century fashion sense? Here are some dandy pointers from Britain’s Victorian period (1837-1901).

1. Vests (AKA: “Waistcoats”) Are A Must

Victorian gentlemen had a “vested” interest in these garments. Why? Unless he was an athlete, engaged in rigorous labor, or heading off to bed, a man wasn’t considered fully dressed without one … even in his own home.

2. Learn How To Tie An Ascot

Back then, these elegant ties were a common sight, so this is one skill you’ll definitely want to brush up on.

3. Start Cultivating Your Facial Hair

“Why Shave?” begged the title of a popular pro-beard manifesto written in 1853. Face fuzz—long denounced as “unseemly”—fell into the British mainstream in the mid 1800s. It was a rediscovered symbol of unbridled masculinity, and, thus, men began gleefully growing extravagant moustaches, beards, and side-burns. So which style’s right for you? Here’s a nifty run-down well worth looking over.

4. Going Around Hatless Is A Big No-No

“A well-brushed hat, and glossy boots must always be worn in the street,” states the Gentleman’s Book of Etiquette (1860). Being seen outdoors or in a public building without some form of headgear remained frowned-upon until well into the 1900s. But wait! What if you’re plagued with obnoxious hat hair? If that’s the case, you can always fight it the old-fashioned way: by applying a generous helping of Macassar oil to help keep that mop in shape.

5. Pinstripes Are Your Friend

Pinstripe trousers might not have been universally-used, but they were a distinctive staple throughout much of the Victorian period.

6. Understand The Four Basic Coats

According to Martine’s Handbook of Etiquette (1866), “There are four basic coats which [a gentleman] must have: a business coat, a frock-coat, a dress-coat, and an over-coat. A well-dressed man may do well with four of the first, and one of each of the others per minimum. An economical man can get along with less.”

7. Ditch the Belt

Larry King would’ve fit right in during the Victorian era. Thanks to the relatively high waistlines of contemporary trousers, suspenders were vastly more popular than belts.

8. Get A Pocket Watch: They’re Timelessly Charming

A few hollowed-out models even contained built-in cameras. Don’t believe it? Check this out.

9. No Glove, No Love

Be advised, prospective neo-Victorian: If you’re planning on waltzing anytime soon, you’d better invest in some decent gloves first. Protocol dictated that, while dancing, the bare skin of young ladies and gentlemen couldn’t come into contact, so a layer of protection was necessary.

10. When it Comes to Footwear, Stay Conservative

Shoes and boots were generally either black or brown before the 1890s, when white alternatives were introduced to complement summer outfits.

11. Above All Else, Avoid Eccentricity!

“The dress of a gentleman should be such as not to excite any special observation, unless it be for neatness and propriety,” implores Arthur Martine’s aforementioned book of etiquette. “The utmost care should be exercised to avoid even the appearance of desiring to attract attention by the peculiar formation of any article of attire … a positive evidence of vulgarity.”

All photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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Helen Maybanks, (c) RSC
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Pop Culture
Royal Shakespeare Company Auctions Off Costumes Worn By Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Patrick Stewart, and More
Helen Maybanks, (c) RSC
Helen Maybanks, (c) RSC

The stages of the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England have been graced by some of the most celebrated performers of our day. Now, the legendary theater company is giving fans a chance to own the original costumes that helped bring their characters to life. On April 17, more than 50 costumes worn in RSC productions will hit eBay to raise money for the group's Stitch in Time campaign.

With this new campaign, the RSC aims to raise enough money to renovate the aging workshop where costume designers create all the handmade garments used in their shows. Following a play's run, the costumes are either rented out to other theaters or kept safe in the company's museum collections. Designers often make duplicates of the items, which means that the RSC is able to auction off some of their most valuable pieces to the public.

The eBay costume auction includes clothing worn by some of the most prolific actors to work with the company. Bidders will find Patrick Stewart's beige shorts from the 2006 production of Antony and Cleopatra, David Tennant's white tunic from 2013's Richard II, Ian McKellen's red, floor-length coat from 2007's King Lear, and Judi Dench's black doublet from 2016's Shakespeare Live! Costumes worn by Anita Dobson, Susannah York, and Simon Russell Beale will also be featured.

All proceeds from the auction go to restoring the RSC's costume workshop. Shakespeare fans have until April 27 to place their bids.

Patrick Stewart in Antony and Cleopatra.
Pascal Molliere, (c) RSC

Actors in stage play.
Manuel Harlan, (c) RSC

Actor in stage play.
Kwame Lestrade, (c) RSC
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PRNewsfoto/PolyU
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technology
This 3D Human Modeling App Could Revolutionize Online Clothes Shopping
PRNewsfoto/PolyU
PRNewsfoto/PolyU

A team of academics in Hong Kong have developed a 3D human modeling app that could drastically change the way we shop online. Dubbed 1Measure, this “one-click measure” tool allows users to record their body measurements in a matter of seconds by uploading two full-body photos.

After snapping images with both a front view and side view, the app uses artificial intelligence to create a 3D digital model of the user's body in under 10 seconds. Next to this image, over 50 size measurements are displayed, including everything from knee girth to shoulder slope. This information can be saved and accessed at a later date, and the app also lists your size in other countries, allowing you to shop for clothes around the world with ease.

This revolutionary technology was developed by associate professor Tracy P.Y. Mok and PhD graduate Dr. Zhu Shuaiyin of the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).

Other current technologies are capable of carrying out similar modeling functions, but the PolyU team says these methods involve costly, bulky scanners, and their results are only approximate. The 1Measure app’s margin of error is 1 centimeter for users photographed in tight-fitting clothes, and 2 centimeters for those in loose-fitting clothes, according to its developers.

The app is particularly useful when it comes to online shopping. Dr. Zhu says the technology “frees us from the limitations imposed by taking body measurements physically, helping customers to select the right size in online clothing purchases.”

The app can also store multiple measurements at once and track any changes that the body undergoes, making it suitable for those with fitness goals.

1Measure is free to download and is currently available on the App Store in both English and Chinese.

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