Men’s clothing was just as diverse in the 1880s as it is today. Photographs are an excellent but limited source of information, simply because whether or not a person was ever photographed had to do with economic, ethnic, and regional characteristics.
In this Article
Charles Guillaume Frédéric Boson de Talleyrand-Périgord (1832-1910) was a famous French dandy, and the grandson of Dorothea von Biron. A cavalry officer, he was one of the major figures in French high society in the second half of the 19th century. Boni de Castellane wrote of him:“ A cabotin, brave, amiable, high but without airs-and-graces, he had a supreme elegance, with the air of a grand seigneur, but with a certain something of the actor Gil-Pérès. Quite diplomatic, very ignorant, without taste for things of value, he was full of a “chic” which showed itself in all his sounds, gestures, poses and even the black band of his spectacles. He excelled in the art of paying homage to women who showed themselves attentive to him, like a cat, without good-faith or law. He reigned in Paris over a crowd of personalities from the “grand monde”, just as over more dubious people. A prince as well as a prince of fashion, he held the titles of peer of France and compère of the revue.” See Ask Andy on the history of checked trousers.