'Clothes Maketh the Man'

Conference 2022: Clothes Maketh the Man

Saturday, 22 October 2022 – Wednesday, 2 November 2022

Following the success of last year's conference, the 2022 Costume Society conference will be held online. We hope that many of our members and followers, nationally and internationally will be able to join us.

‘Clothes Maketh the Man’: Men’s Clothing and Concepts of Masculinities Expressed through Appearance. 

“. . . one realizes that without his clothes a man would be nothing at all; that the clothes do not merely make the man, the clothes are the man; that without them he is a cipher, a vacancy, a nobody, a nothing. … There is no power without clothes.”  Mark Twain ‘The Czar’s Soliloquy’ North American Review, March 1905. 

Following our very successful online conference last year, we are so excited to announce the return of our annual online conference!

The Costume Society is delighted to be able to bring new research on menswear, from established academics and postgraduate students, to its members. 

The Costume Society’s 2022 online Conference ‘Clothes Maketh the Man’ provides a thought-provoking platform for exploring men’s dress and how concepts of masculinity are expressed through male appearances. The Conference will showcase and celebrate the unique characteristics, influences, manufacture, methods of communication and inspiration involved in clothes for men, and those who identify as male, through a series of short presentations (20 - 30 minutes). 

There will be a mixture of topics, from the shopping habits of wealthy eighteenth-century Virginian planters, USA, to the dress of enslaved workers on a Maryland plantation in the following century, British working dress before and after the First World War and the bespoke tailoring of Henry Poole & Co, London for the actor-manager Sir Henry Irving. Tailoring will also be surveyed through the lens of nineteenth-century photography, and twentieth century film, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1955). There will also be a re-evaluation of the trouser crease of the 1890s. We will “visit” late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth- century Serbia to consider how British fashion influenced Serbian men and then travel to Japan (1868-1912) to see how men adopted Western attire during this turbulent time in Japanese society. 

The two keynote speakers will take us from the caricatures of the Regency Dandy to the sartorial choices made by modern gay men today using research conducted between 2012-2018 for a new book, Gay Men's Style: Fashion, Dress and Sexuality in 21st Century.

Two keynote speakers, four conference sessions, student ticket discounts and it's all online so you can join us from wherever you are! Delve into the world of menswear and book your tickets now.

Registration is open via Eventbrite for the Costume Society conference, open to members and non-members.

Conference Details:

Session 1: Saturday 22 October, 14:00-17:00 UK time

Keynote Speaker: Nicole Dee-Collins 

Depicting and Demystifying the Regency Dandy: an analysis of dandy caricatures and the masculinity “crisis” post-Waterloo

Paper 1 Stefan Žarić English Menswear and the Fashioning of Early Modern Masculinity in the Late 18th and the Early 19th Century Serbia

Paper 2 Neal Hurst Robert Beverley of Virginia and his London Clothiers 1762-1775

Paper 3 Chloe Chapin The Measure of a Man: tailoring and masculine subjectivity in early nineteenth-century America

Session 2 Wednesday 26 October, 19.00 - 20.30 UK time

Paper 1 Dr Ann Buermann Wass The People's Cloth: Clothing the Enslaved Men at Rose Hill Plantation

Paper 2 Maarten Saelaert Donning Japanese modernity: Men’s fashion during the Meiji Era

Session 3 Saturday 29 October, 14:00 - 17:00 UK time

Keynote Speaker: Dr Shaun Cole 

Constructing Gay Men's Wardrobes in the 21st Century

Paper 1 Dr Alison Toplis Mechanic, Artisan, Workman: Representations of male ‘working wear’ in late 19th century Britain

Paper 2 Rachel Neal Patriotism, White Feathers and Standardised Suits: civilian men and the lived experience of everyday dress during the First World War

Paper 3 Brian Centrone The Cunning Wrinkle of Newness:19th-Century Origins, Implications, and Adoptions of the Trouser Crease

Session 4 Wednesday 2 November, 19.00 - 20.45 UK time

Paper 1 Diane Maglio The Gray Flannel Suit: A Tale of Two T[h]oms

Paper 2 Dr Sarah Goldsmith and Miss Gill MacGregor ‘Can’t walk, can’t talk and has no face to speak of’: Visualising Henry Poole & Co’s nineteenth-century tailoring methods and the absent historical body

Speakers will be expected to register for the Conference. 

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