Future Dictates of Fashion

A friend linked me to this hilarious article written by W. Cade Gall in The Strand Magazine (Vol. 5, Jan. 1893) called "Future Dictates of Fashion". It's basically the author's prediction of what clothing will look like over the next hundred years. As my friend pointed out, "the images have become my headcanon for Harry Potter wizarding fashion through the ages". She is not wrong.

The article is quite long, so I'm just going to give you the illustrations and a few lines describing each one.

1893
Untitled1893
This is what people dressed like in his day. Fair enough. He writes, "The costumes of the lady and gentleman are familiar enough, although we note with surprise that the gentleman's coat-tails seem to have a crinoline cast, and if the turned-up bottoms of his trousers are a little mortifying, it is atoned for by a triumphant attitude which disarms hypercriticism".

I guess that's code for "Stand like a bad-ass and no one will pick on your fugly trouser cuffs."

1905
Untitled1905
"we find a subdued form of the article in the female costume for 1905. The ladies may well regard this plate as astounding. There is even a suggestion of "bloomer" about its nether portion".

Actually, this one isn't too far off. If you've seen Anne of Green Gables, or really any sort of "New Woman" costume that would be fairly easy to ride a bicycle in (with its requisite GIGANTIC PUFF SLEEVES), then you'll realize the author actually predicted this trend okay.

1908
Untitled1908
"The tailors, fifteen years hence, seem to have borrowed, in the construction of the coat, very liberally from the lady's mantle of 1893."

1910
Untitled1910
He didn't really say anything about this outfit, but the lacy breeches are a nice touch.

1911-1912
Untitled1911-12
He didn't say too much about this outfit, either, but can we please discuss the pimp-hat and unfortunately-placed cane/sword? Phallic phallus is phallic.

1912

Untitled1912aUntitled1912b
"In the Ebullient period it [women's fashion] is chiefly distinguished by head-dress and the total abolition of stays. Crinoline, in spite of certain opposition, enjoyed a slight revival in the present day, and in 1897 the divided skirt threatened to spread universally. But it passed off, and nothing of a radical order was attempted in this direction until the revolution which brought in trousers for women in 1942".

That is remarkable–that's pretty much the EXACT date when trousers for women became commonplace, due to WWII and women needing to dress more practically in order to work in factories.

Also, I would love to see the Downton Abbey cast dressing like this in the first episode. You know Edith would be all over that shepherdess crook.

1920
Untitled1920
"The plate dated 1920 exhibits a very gorgeous and yet altogether simple set of garments for the male of the period".

He looks like Grizzly Adams going to a Halloween party as Little Lord Fauntleroy.

1922
Untitled1922
"The skirt, it is true, is short enough to alarm prim contemporary dames."

Actually, if you take off the hat and the cloak, this is an astoundingly accurate dress for the period.

1926
Untitled1926
And then shit goes off the rails again.

1929
Untitled1929
"we are favoured with a plate of what is presumably a husband and wife on their way to church [yeah, the church of Dr. Seuss] or perchance upon a shopping excursion. The lady is evidently looking archly back to see if anybody is observing what a consummate guy her spouse is making of himself."

I don't know what a "consummate guy" is, but I don't think he is one.

1935
Untitled1935
What's weird is that you saw little girls dressed like this in the early 1900s. He's only off by three decades.

1936
Untitled1936
"If we look for the greatest donkey [aka, ass] in the entire collection, it is obvious that we shall find him in the middle-aged party of 1936, who is gadding about in inflated trunks and with a fan in his hand. If it were not for the gloves and polka-dot neckwear we should assume that this costume was a particularly fantastic bathing-suit."

1937
Untitled1937
Shaved heads, duck feet, and letting your tackle flap in the breeze was clearly a big trend this year.

1938
Untitled1938
Okay, this guy is just straight-up fucking with me now. She looks like some freaky Strawberry Shortcake/Faberge Egg hyrbid.

1940-1945
Untitled1940-1945 Untitled1945
"The Oriental influence is easily traced in the fashion from 1938 to 1945, but it cannot but make the judicious grieve to note that trousers seem to have been adopted by women at the same time that they were discarded by the men."

1946-1948
Untitled1946-1948
"We hasten to observe that the latter plate — the one for 1948 — is that of a clergyman."

From the Church of Puritan Elves, no doubt.

1950
Untitled1950Untitled1950a

1952
Untitled1952
The Beefeater look NEVER needs to come back into style.

1955-1956
Untitled1955-1956
FEAST YOUR EYE-SOCKETS ON THAT HAIR.

1960
Untitled1960
"The policeman shown in the drawing for 1960 seems to have a very easy time of it, for no man's person can be considered in danger from the mob who habitually offers so many points a saisir [points to seize] as this policeman's head displays."

1965
Untitled1965Untitled1965a
Apparently the first of these pictures depicts a military gentleman. Yes, that is precisely what you want to wear into battle: exaggerated Scottish foppery and Poirot shoes.

1970
Untitled1970
"many of us would doubtless strenuously object to wearing neckties of the magnitude here portrayed." Yeah, because that's the weirdest thing about this costume.

On another note, I'm sorry, did someone say, "FAAAAAABULOOOOUS!"?

1975
Untitled1975
"Zup."

1978
Untitled1978
I don't care who you are–this outfit is pure Liberace/Elton John circa 1978, and you know you want it.

1984
Untitled1984
So what if it's a totally impractical skirt that doesn't let you walk? So what if it's a frivolous hat that doesn't let you see anything? You deserve it, girl. Treat yo'self!

1989
Untitled1989
The Queen of Hearts called. She says, "No, never mind. Keep the outfit."

1993
Untitled1993
She looks like a surly lighthouse keeper. I think I saw Rachel wearing something like this on an early episode of Friends.

Now, clearly, all of these drawings are meant to be fantastical and more than a little satirical. He didn't actually think this is what people would be wearing in however many decades, because honestly, who can predict that? That said, I'm not entirely sure what point this article served, except for some mild amusement. I've read it twice now and just keep coming to the conclusion that this guy was really bored.

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One Response to Future Dictates of Fashion

  1. sajina says:

    I wholly agree on the Harry Potter Wizarding fashion statement.

    Like

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