Any dress codes aboard

Not open for further replies.

Chung Rex

I saw a lot of first class males wearing hats abroad in the films related to Titanic.

Also, I saw a lot of women, especially 2nd and 3rd class passengers, wearing headscarf. Is it related to religion or else?

Anyway, are there any dress codes in 1st, 2nd and 3rd class parties in Titanic?
Hi Chung

It looks like you're new to the site, so welcome.

Costume history is a fascinating discipline and the subject of dress has already been discussed in great detail on ET. For starters, I'd refer you to the 'Passenger Fashion Gallery' thread, which was started in spring last year, and which can be accessed by clicking on 'Passenger Research' and the subheading 'General - All Classes'.

Many first-class passengers were prominent members of European and American 'Society' and their outfits at the parties and functions they attended were minutely described by journalists and gossip columnists. No doubt you're aware, too, that one of the most successful and influential fashion designers of the Edwardian Era, Lady Duff Gordon, was aboard the 'Titanic'. The insurance claims for lost luggage filed after the sinking by the likes of Charlotte Cardeza, Leontine Aubart and Emma Bucknell provide us with wonderful insights into what the wealthier passengers carried in their trunks and suitcases.

Hats were very much part of day-to-day wear for all classes in 1912 and so would certainly have been worn by both men and women aboard the ship. I'm not aware if any of the third-class passengers would have worn head-scarves for religious reasons but close inspection of 'Titanic' survivors boarding the 'Carpathia' early on the morning of 15th April reveals many women with blankets and shawls tied around their heads. I don't believe that these are all steerage passengers - as I've speculated elsewhere, I think the terrible cold that night forced many in the lifeboats to bundle themselves up any which way in an effort to keep warm.

Good luck with your research!

Best wishes

>>Also, I saw a lot of women, especially 2nd and 3rd class passengers, wearing headscarf. Is it related to religion or else?<<

Depending on what part of the world they came from, it just might. One might expect that among some Muslim women, but you see that with some Christian sects as well. If nothing else, it's a practical if inexpensive way of keeping warm as well if it happens to be chilly out. (A lot of body heat is lost through one's head.) In cities, it would also be fairly effective in keeping soot out of one's hair.

Some of the styles we see may look silly on the surface but there were some very practical reasons for some of them.
As hats were relatively expensive--especially by 1912, when they were very large and furbished with rare feathers, beads, flowers, etc (and come to think of it, a cartwheel-sized hat isn't very practical for a working-class woman)--headscarves was an inexpensive form of headgear.

As for men's hats, Derbys and fedoras were common daywear, while top hats were for night. Working-class men wore tam-o-shanters of differing sizes.

And there was a "dress code"--but not limited to the Titanic. Fashions of the day dictated the sort of clothing to be worn for certain times of the day, certain activities and meals all the way down to the length of the sleeve, the cut of the jacket and even how low a woman's bodice would be. But the most common code for the upper classes and middle-classes would be tailcoat, white waistcoat and tie or a lounge jacket/Tuxedo, white waistcoat and tie, for supper, while women wore décolletage dresses and hats.
Apart from its use in army uniform (and by women) the tam-o-shanter was favoured only by the Scots. For working class men the standard headgear was the ubiquitous peaked 'flat cap', in 1912 and for decades to come. These were favoured also by men of other classes when casually dressed, and they were the norm on the 1st Class promenade deck of the Titanic.
Not open for further replies.