Edwardian male photo portraits suitable attire and pose


Sep 1, 2004
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I have my edwardian outfit almost done and now I would like to have a portrait and I want look like a "young man of the upper class."

I would wear a cutaway coat with pinstriped gray trousers, gray waistcoat, shirt with starched wing collar, four-in-hand tie with golden pin and a pearl, golden cuff links with mother-of-pearl inlay, grey gloves (probably cotton for I can not find kid leather ones) and a silk top hat and maybe spats?

The only thing I can not get are proper shoes. I wear size 13 and it is impossible to find any patent leather shoes with plain forepart (or any at all) and with laces or any other shoes that would go with an edwardian outfit. Maybe you could help me? I have found patent leather pumps but I think that pumps had been rather for evening wear, had they not?

I don't really know what to "do" on the photo. How to stand or sit to achieve that respectful, rich, appropriate and "stiff" look. Which pose should I choose? There are lots of beautiful photos of aristocratic or upper class women but I can not find any photos of men. And if so, they are just sitting.

I know the people on ancient photos used to sit or lean to minimize moving (the photographers had no flashes)...


Thank you for your help
 
Dec 29, 2006
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As I understand it, an upper class (or upper middle class) gentleman in 1912 would have worn laced shoes known as "Oxfords" when in town, and "brogues" or boots when in the country.

However, full evening dress would have been regarded as out of place when travelling on an ocean liner, which meant that gentlemen would tend to "dress down" for the voyage (so Oxfords or brogues?)
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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These gents might inspire you, Vitezslav. Note the hands - holding something makes them less awkward to place. If wearing evening dress, try for a relaxed pose or you'll look like a waiter.

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Dec 29, 2006
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Hello Vitezslav,

I would say black laced Oxfords for formal use, but it would be interested to know what others may think about this. The people in Bob's picture seem to be wearing Oxfords which have quite sharply-pointed ends.
 
Sep 1, 2004
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Yes, but it is very difficult to get edwardian-looking Oxfords. Do you have any idea of where to get the online? They all look modern, obviously, with thick rubber soles and seams on the forepart
 
Dec 29, 2006
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The basic "Oxford" shoe has not changed since the 19th century, but I am not sure how pointed the toes were in 1912.

It may also be worth checking that "Oxfords" mean the same thing in the United States - I have an idea they may also be known as "Balmorals". However, whatever they are called, the shoes which I have in mind are laced, plain and usually black, with tapering toes and "flush" stitching of the two side flaps.

Depending on how much the customer is prepared to pay, a well-established shoe shop should be able to comment on the exact style for 1912 (many of the most prestigious London shoe-makers have their own websites). Northampton Museum Service may also be able to help, as I think they have a shoe museum.
 
Dec 29, 2006
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I have found some 1912 newspaper advertisements, but am having difficulty in posting them as "large" images. These small versions do not show much detail.
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Sep 1, 2004
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Thank you so much! I thought the shoes must have been completely plain, but none of these is, so I guess a perforated one will be ok, will it not? Or do you suppose the pictured shoes are rather for leisure time. The man in the last picture is wearing a cutaway coat I will be wearing in the portrait...
 
Dec 29, 2006
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Brogues were normally perforated, whereas Oxfords were smooth-surfaced. The Oxford and the Hanan shoe (or is it more of a boot?) were for formal use, but the brogues, which were often brown, would have been used for leisure. The question is, however, would an Atlantic voyage have been regarded as a leisurely activity - I suspect that, to many first class travellers, an ocean trip would have been seen as leisure rather than work or formality.
 

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