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Author Topic: Mens Shirts for a humid enviroment  (Read 944 times)
kwc280
Swab

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« on: April 21, 2017, 03:17:06 am »

Hi everyone. I am new to the boards and I am curious as to whether short sleeve shirts would be a fashion no go.  I live in an area where the summer weather often gets up to the high 90's with 90% humidity about 6 months out of the year.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 05:48:12 am »

Hi everyone. I am new to the boards and I am curious as to whether short sleeve shirts would be a fashion no go.  I live in an area where the summer weather often gets up to the high 90's with 90% humidity about 6 months out of the year.


Welcome to Brassgoggles! I don't see why not in the right context. Do you have a character or persona you want to represent?

As much noise as it's made about Victorian fashion being prudish and covering every square inch of the body, there are many exceptions within the regional, ethnic, professional and social class contexts.  

Unfortunately, for the well dressed Victorian gentleman, the shirt throughout the period was regarded as a type of underwear, and often not proper to show uncovered by something else. This had been the case since the middle ages, and perhaps what we in the United States call "dress shirt/ button-down shirt" (in British dialect simply known as  "shirt"), was in fact during the middle ages the direct equivalent of what today we call "undershirt."

By the 1600s, though, some parts of the shirt were allowed to show as a risqué fashion statement and increasingly became prominent by way of collars and cuffs and such. But even as late as the 1700s shirts were sufficiently long to use the tails of the shirt as a replacement for drawers - perhaps an early form of "bodysuit"?  Tongue Whether showing the shirt or not in public was decent, really depended on your social status (or how provocative you wanted to be with the ladies)...

Consider this text:

Quote
The shirt was an item of clothing that only men could wear as underwear, until the twentieth century. Although the woman's chemise was a closely related garment to the man's, it is the man's garment that became the modern shirt. In the Middle Ages, it was a plain, undyed garment worn next to the skin and under regular garments. In medieval artworks, the shirt is only visible (uncovered) on humble characters, such as shepherds, prisoners, and penitents. In the seventeenth century, men's shirts were allowed to show, with much the same erotic import as visible underwear today.

In the eighteenth century, instead of underpants, men "relied on the long tails of shirts ... to serve the function of drawers. Eighteenth-century costume historian Joseph Strutt believed that men who did not wear shirts to bed were indecent. Even as late as 1879, a visible shirt with nothing over it was considered improper.

The shirt sometimes had frills at the neck or cuffs. In the sixteenth century, men's shirts often had embroidery, and sometimes frills or lace at the neck and cuffs and through the eighteenth century long neck frills, or jabots, were fashionable. Coloured shirts began to appear in the early nineteenth century, as can be seen in the paintings of George Caleb Bingham. They were considered casual wear, for lower-class workers only, until the twentieth century. For a gentleman, "to wear a sky-blue shirt was unthinkable in 1860 but had become standard by 1920 and, in 1980, constituted the most commonplace event."


For women, the rules were very different, and short sleeves were acceptable to wear for evening gowns, but noting that long sleeves were mandatory for day wear. In the 1840's the evening look was rather risqué and included off the shoulder dresses, which is radically different from the late 19th. C. look where every single inch of the female body was covered all the way up up to the neck with what you'd call today a "mock neck" or even  "turtle neck," a prudishness attributed rightly or wrongly to Queen Victoria.

Women did, however, fire the first salvo, in trying to turn the shirt into an external garment when they were inspired by the Italian Reunification, and adopted the "Garibaldi shirt" in the 1860s. This is touted to be the origin of the modern day "women's blouse."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garibaldi_shirt

Quote
European and American women began wearing shirts in 1860, when the Garibaldi shirt, a red shirt as worn by the freedom fighters under Giuseppe Garibaldi, was popularized by Empress Eugénie of France. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Century Dictionary described an ordinary shirt as "of cotton, with linen bosom, wristbands and cuffs prepared for stiffening with starch, the collar and wristbands being usually separate and adjustable".


So perhaps by the military conflicts of the period (American Civil War / Italian Reunification / Maximilian Empire / Prussian-Austrian conflict), there was a sudden shift in attitudes about the propriety of displaying a shirt, and clearly military fashion had something to do with that.

One cannot escape the memory of the US Army uniforms worn during the Indian War period, when often men were wearing what in military jargon is refereed to as "fatigue blouse" and "undress blouse," which basically is what we call today an "overshirt," a type of very light coat which looks a lot more like a shirt than a coat. By the Indian War Period, say late 1880s, the fatigue blouse is looking very modern, more like an early 20th. C uniform would.

http://www.ushist.com/american_civil_war/union_us_military/uniforms/q-5933_usmc_fatigue_shirt_uscw.shtml

http://www.ushist.com/spanish_american_war/us_military/uniforms/q-9862_m1898-officers_khaki_field_blouse.shtml

http://www.ushist.com/spanish_american_war/us_military/uniforms/q-9560_m1892-m1895_officers-undress-blouse.shtml


There is always the fashion of the "Wild West." Wearing a coat was not always practical throughout the day. A "Range Vest" over a long sleeve shirt would have been somewhat ubiquitous during the day as imposed by the reality of the harsh conditions in the frontier. You would probably have to wear your "frock coat" though if you were going to town or to church on Sunday, though.

http://www.ushist.com/old-west_mens_range_ranch-wear.shtml#item1

http://www.ushist.com/old-west_mens_range_ranch-wear.shtml#item6


~ ~ ~

So yeah, perhaps it's tricky to wear a shirt in full display, much less a short sleeve shirt, but I'm sure we could find plenty of exceptions to the long sleeve rule for the lower classes and especially among the rural and the military. The trick is looking for the excuse.

For example, I chose a short sleeve / short trousers uniform for my quasi-Germanic Airship Angel / Luftschiffenfel outfits.

The idea was a landing party uniform for airship crew of Austrian rural origin, who later were captured in Northern Mexico and then ended up pressed into US (Union) service during a global war centred around the American Civil War.

The landing party uniform would need to reflect the Germanic rural fashion (tied to the origin of these service crew in particular), which was then merged with American military uniform, for a theatre of operations centred in the American Southwest/Mexican Northwest.

Consequently, you'd see elevated temperatures near sea level, desert-like conditions, and extremely cold temperatures at altitude.

This meant having layers of clothing, with the inner layers resembling short length Trachten outfits (similar to Lederhosen), was not unrealistic, but I modified the look with the cutting edge materials of the period, say, to allow them to be cleaned after battle or service - say cotton Denim.  

The excuse is that Central Europe can be quite warm in summer as well (I understood that when visiting Switzerland one summer, and contrasting the temperature on the lakes, and the temperature at the top of mountains). And the clothing of the American West was also different than the clothing worn in the cities. Military uniform would need to adapt to the physical requirements as well as cultural notions.

The service blouse (again military jargon) would be short sleeved for use in 100 F+ weather and desert conditions. Over that, you'd see formal woollen coats and long trousers for docking, formal, or ceremonial occasions, or perhaps long sleeve fatigue blouses or cropped coats, more in line with US and Austrian officer uniforms.

And apart from that, an Eskimo style coat - spacesuit hybrid, like a primitive pilot's pressurized suit, with a helmet/ mask and trousers as over-clothing, with the suit having heating elements and compressed air/oxygen attachments for service at extreme altitude, like in the stratosphere.

So there was plenty of an excuse to use short sleeves for a field service uniform.

So what is the nature of your favorite character(s)?

JW
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 08:41:10 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged

steiconi
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2017, 05:47:57 pm »

My, what an impressive response, JW!

I would suggest using very lightweight cotton for the shirt.  Low thread count is cooler than high thread count (lets the air through); lightweight gauze fabric (not quite the same as bandage gauze) is very low thread count and cool.

You could also consider having a character that has been in a disaster, with his clothes somewhat shredded, leaving short sleeves and trousers.  Be fun to distress the clothes and create makeup (I'm picturing soot from the blast all over your face except where your goggles were).
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2017, 07:03:00 pm »

Yeah. I went a little overboard  Grin. Everything you wanted to know about the shirt and then everything you didn't!  Grin Grin. My apologies....
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Prof Marvel
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2017, 12:27:56 am »

Yeah. I went a little overboard  Grin. Everything you wanted to know about the shirt and then everything you didn't!  Grin Grin. My apologies....

My Dear J -

no appologies required, many of us, (myself included) enjoy a such a wonderfully detailed monograph!

yhs
prof marvel
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Goks1211
Swab

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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2017, 11:03:11 am »

I appreciated every word. I have to figure out attire for my husband who is not the biggest fan of dressing (up) to go to my brother's steampunk wedding in mid-August.

Though I love the music of Abbey Park and have several Renaissance Fair costumes myself, I have yet to pick a man's style without pushing my luck.

If it helps any, starting with a story/character is the way to go it seems. I love color, my husband not so much. I love costumes, nope. So, in order to get away with bright colors and not being overly warm... I have chosen to go with an India influence. The story goes my husband and I trade in exotic spices. Peacock originate from there and have such a rich influence in the culture itself (which I love) meanwhile he is more practical. Both of us have adapted to the culture around us. Me in bright colors, him in a lesser degree of formality though be will remain in more neutral colors.

It should be the scandal of the year! I do hope my brother will forgive me! Wink

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steiconi
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2017, 07:14:08 pm »

JW, I was admiring, not sneering.  I'm usually polite online, save rudeness for in-person applications.   Grin
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montysaurus
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2017, 12:08:26 am »

Either Linen, which wrinkles, or seersucker (an Indian fabric) which doesn't. both are cooler to wear in the summer.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2017, 08:54:14 am »

JW, I was admiring, not sneering.  I'm usually polite online, save rudeness for in-person applications.   Grin

I'm aware of that  Wink But I do tend to go overboard a bit.  Grin If I hadn't been so tired when I wrote it, I'd have written the Encyclopaedia Camisium. Luckily I had to work the next day.
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George Salt
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2017, 11:17:00 pm »

I think Shirtsleeve Order* would be acceptable, or a short sleeved shirt tailored to resemble this.


* a long sleeved shirt worn with the cuff folder over on itself a sufficient number of times to come above the elbow.
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Peter Brassbeard
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2017, 12:17:44 am »

Since when have steamPUNKS shied away from fashions that Victorians would find scandalous?
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Goks1211
Swab

United States United States


« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2017, 09:21:59 am »

Since when have steamPUNKS shied away from fashions that Victorians would find scandalous?

I have to tell you, I am not new to scandal.

I do have a better understanding to the people that are attracted to the genre though. The amount of research I have put into the era, the steampunk culture, the aesthetic, not to mention giving myself the added bonus of wanting to respect to combining the vast rich culture (and beliefs) that is India into the base line story and attire... I LOVE IT! So much information and so many new things to learn. Steampunk really is a culture peppered with those endowed in the cognitive, creative, and crafty. Even my husband has requested a top hat with goggles. (This is incredibly unusual for him. My brother was flattered he was dressing and equally excited about the request of more gear.)
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Caledonian
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2017, 10:18:31 am »

Since when have steamPUNKS shied away from fashions that Victorians would find scandalous?

I've seen some ladies.... who could do with a longer skirt, so to say.
The look still works, though. And i think that's the most important.
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steiconi
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« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2017, 11:00:14 pm »

Since when have steamPUNKS shied away from fashions that Victorians would find scandalous?

True this.  Did you know that the actual Victorian ladies wore their corsets UNDER their gowns?
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2017, 12:56:46 am »

Have you looked at th history of the Khaki Drill Uniform?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khaki_drill
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Cora Courcelle
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2017, 03:28:47 pm »

Are you intending to wear a waistcoat or jacket?  Rolled up sleeves would look fine with the waistcoat, in an artisan/working class sort of way, or perhaps you could add fake collar and sleeves to cut down on the number of layers you'll be wearing.
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2017, 01:24:04 am »

These hot weather questions come up fairly regularly (and understandably so). Sorry this is maybe not the best illustration, but sadly it's all I have. Taken at a music festival a few summers back with my sister. Please forgive the scenic toilet cubicles in the background, but it's all part of the festy vibe I guess. It was getting on towards the end of the day and that outfit is pretty much entirely linen (hence a few creases here and there) but you get the idea. We're not re-enactors, and I would say that general ensemble has a pretty acceptable Steampunk vibe despite the short sleeves. Or even a Dieselpunk vibe if you prefer, as the one overlaps with the other both will usually pass muster. Add a tie or cravat for extra dressiness. I also have a linen Fedora which is a might cooler than the Pith helmet. Goggles of course remain optional. Wink

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« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2017, 11:38:17 am »

I think the most relevant points have been made already, in particular in Mr Fairbrass's post: 'we're not re-enactors'.  It's easy to get carried away with Victorian authenticity and lose sight of the fact that this is steampunk - we're making it up, so wear whatever works for you!

Also strongly endorse a couple of recommendations to go with natural fibres rather than synthetics.  My travelling companion and I attended a steampunk convention near Brisbane a few years ago.  It wasn't the height of summer but was still decidedly warm, but our cotton (etc.) garments were quite comfortable despite us wearing a number of layers (eg shirt/waistcot/jacket).
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 09:19:00 am by Colonel Hawthorne » Logged

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montysaurus
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« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2017, 05:02:23 pm »

If your handy, you could get this and transfer fan to a pith helmet.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cooling-Cool-Fan-Cap-Solar-Helmet-Hard-Hat-Ventilate-Safety-Protection-Cool-Hat-/131945019673?hash=item1eb8893919
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kwc280
Swab

United States United States


« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2017, 02:00:30 am »

thank you everyone.  My first outing with my new attire went fairly well with a linen style shirt with the sleeves cuffed to the elbow with my waistcoat and flat cap.  The character is being designed around the premise of a kind of weird west meets mythology bounty hunter.  The ship that my colleague and I are working on is the premise of ferrymen/salvage and reclamation crew that works with alchemy and necromancy to attend to their assignments and warrants. Think the ferryman Charon on the River Styx in Greek mythology.  My character takes hints from kind of the classic street fighter and law man while my friend goes more for the traditional British commonwealth militaria look.  Interesting enough is that the state line between us just so happens to be the styx river.  My character will eventually get covered in armor and a coat for the higher altitude look while I have formal attire for when the time calls for it.
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Fairley B. Strange
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« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2017, 07:30:16 am »

As an Antipodean, the warmer climes and traditional textile concepts often clash.

So I considered a few philosophical variations.

The Neo-Victorian Chap (NVCTM) would exist in a world where the harnessing of steam and shiny brass functional gearings were celebrated as engineering works not just natty hat decorations, so the imagery of having rolled up one's shirtsleeves might take on a literal expression.
Long-sleeved shirts and jackets would be a snag hazard while oiling the wormgears and drivebelts of ones auto-velocipede, and would thus be forsaken for the much safer rolled cuff at the upper-arm or just below the elbow, displaying the muscular/hirsute/work-scarred forearms of the Practical Steam Engineer or a finely worked set of protective leather wristbands or full bracers.
The Frockcoat or Sack jacket would either have its arms shortened correspondingly or be replaced by a return to the Jerkin or Long-waistcoat, perhaps with additional pockets for necessary tools or instruments, either for use or for show by those who wish to emulate the Engineer but lack the knack and careworn hands to do so.
With 4 patch pockets and short sleeves, the suit coat might therefore reasonably be replaced by that acme of 1970s fashion - the shortsleeved Safari Suit jacket, although of course in linen or summerweight wool rather than pastel polyester.
The natural male prediliction for showy fabrics would then be displayed by the selections of waistcoat fabric, the cravat or neckrag depending upon one's station or availability of funds, and perhaps the bright colours of the oily-hand-wiping-rag hanging from one's pocket like the gay-chaps' ancient handkerchief code.
Add a flat cap, Wolesley Pith, or battered campaign slouch hat as appropriate.

Addition:  Actually, having just opened Mr Fairbrass' image, that is the look I was describing. Huzzah, Sir.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2017, 07:46:14 am by Fairley B. Strange » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2017, 07:42:54 am »

Similarly, even in a military culture where Winter Mess Dress is usually some combination of a Cavalry or Shawlcollar  Jacket and Vest, and Summer White Mess Dress is the shorter cutaway jacket with bowtie and cummerbund, there was 'Red Sea Rig' for warmer waters.

Dress trousers, cummerbund, short sleeved shirt with the collar pressed flat or bowtie, miniatures and shoulderboards.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Sea_rig

So, even in the more traditionalist cultures, there was usually a lighter practical outfit for the hot weather.

Or, if you still need some ventilation, there is always the Scottish solution....   Grin
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Banfili
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« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2017, 08:15:02 am »

Being a former motor cycle rider, I gave up skirts and dresses many years ago, and have hit upon a convenient and comfortable summer and winter kit.

Summer (for venturing out): Longish sleeve cotton/linen blouse, sleeves unbuttoned, with cotton/linen photographers vest over the top (for travelling, especially); cotton 3/4 or full length trousers or cargo pants, sandals or dress walking shoes, nicely polished. At home, the not-very-steampunk (unless steampunk themed) T-shirt (always cotton) and cotton/linen knee length shorts (being modest!)

Winter: long sleeve crew or turtleneck  skivvy, flannelette shirt (comfort here, not fashion!), jumper or polar fleece long sleeved top, sometimes the photographer's vest, depending on circumstances. For going out, nice long sleeved winter-weight dressier shirt over the skivvy (all matching, of course!), with a quilted natural silk coat (in emerald green). Leather gloves, scarf and, sometimes, a beanie or hat. Dressier trousers, plain or pretend-tartan, wool/cotton mix, already pleated (to cut down on ironing), shiny boots or dress walking shoes.

As an archaeologist of a 'certain age' comfort has long won out over fashion!
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keithjones
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« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2017, 05:52:07 am »

I believe I may have posted this circa 1910 picture of my grandfather before, but rolled up sleeves, no coat, and straw boaters would have been acceptable on a warm day, along with adult beverages and hat stacking.

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morozow
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« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2017, 12:37:20 pm »

Well I'm here to check in. Bring a little bit of Russian.

Gymnastyorka. Comes from the "gymnastic shirt".

Part of the uniforms of Russian soldiers. Came into wide use from the late 19th century. Linen, long shirt, worn with a strap or belt.

In official use entered in Turkestan, where it is very hot. There was a white Gymnastyorka.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymnastyorka



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