A look at Yesteryear's Fashions through Photographs
Men's Fashions

About this Image:
1)  This photo is believed to be the last portrait photograph of Jose Antonio Navarro (1795–1871), lawyer and one of three Mexican signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The image, possibly from the 1850s, shows him posing in front of a studio backdrop. He wears a frock coat, loosely tied cravat, and a double-breasted vest over high-waist trousers. Don Jose's ear-length hair and clean shaven face, was a fashionable men's look during the early 1850s.

2)  Edward Guilbeau (c.1850s-?) served as deputy city clerk in 1889. He sports a closely tailored jacket with the narrow lapels and fitted sleeves typical of the 1880s (notice the creases visible in the upper arm). His short, side-parted hair and full mustache first became fashionable in the 1870s and continued to be favored throughout the decade that followed.

3)  A shoe-shine boy and his smartly dressed customer turn to have their photo taken in Travis Park. The man wears the high shirt collar, hip-length jacket, and creased trousers popular in the 1910s. His bowler hat, which dominated men's headgear in the 1890s, remains stylish, as do his dress boots that button rather than lace.

  In the background: the Travis Club, which catered to wealthy San Antonio businessmen. It was demolished in 1978 after having served as the Elks Lodge for many years.

4)  One interesting aspect of 1940s fashion was that neckties became shorter and wider to accommodate trousers being worn higher on the waist. Although most men's clothing during the war years (1941-1945) reflected the economic austerity felt across the country – vests, pocket flaps, and trouser cuffs disappeared to save fabric – ties often featured colorful patterns like the prominent stripes worn by the man in the center.

  Also, no well-dressed man could appear in public without a wide-brimmed fedora hat, which this man holds in his right hand. Photographer: Estrada Fotografo.

Courtesy of San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation
Click to Enlarge
2) ca.1870s2) ca.1870s
3) 1912-19143) 1912-1914
6) 19444) 1944