Masculinity in Victorian England illustrates the close relationship that clothing, class, and morality had to one another. The majors fashion movements of the Victorian Era, Free Fashion, which celebrates fabrics and prints in men’s clothing, and renunciation, a rejection of style, are indicative of a complex moral system that was expressed through clothing. Examining clothing through a combination of direct sources, clothing from the Victoria and Albert Museum Textile Collection as well as indirect sources; Punch magazine and The Strand Magazine, offer new insight into the social implications of clothing. Clothing acted as a method of social control, through the praise of mockery of subjects based on their clothing. Ideal morality and masculinity were represented to a Victorian audience through a combination of displays of ‘correct’ masculinity as well as through ridicule of those not performing proper masculine behaviors or dress. The written portion of this project as well as the accompanying digital timeline work to show the ways that masculinity was rigidly conditioned to Victorian audiences, as well as the ways that clothing acted as a social marker of class and morality during this period. The digital timeline, through the digital platform Omeka, allows audiences outside of those reading this discussion access to the images and understandings of the role of masculine dress in Victorian England.


Walters, Jordan Biro

Second Advisor

Welsch, Christina


History; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | History


Masculinity, History, United Kingdom

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2018 Anne Carney