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The Spanish cut: tailoring men’s fashion and national identity in nineteenth-century Spain

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This essay shows that middle-class men engaged with fashion often and openly in nineteenth-century Spain. Through a survey of previously unstudied archival materials, it also recasts Spanish men’s fashion as part of a larger, interconnected system of producers, distributors and consumers. By historicizing textual and visual evidence (e.g., paper garment patterns, fashion plates) printed in professional tailoring journals, the following study challenges the notion that fashion was an exclusively feminine and feminizing pursuit during the second half of the nineteenth century. Apprentices, journeymen, master cutters and their professional journals, such as El Arte Español (1871–1878), El Genio y el Arte (1881–1888) and La Moda de Madrid (1884–1887), identified fashionable ecosystems as fertile ground for the flourishing of an aspirational national image that cohered around sartorial craftsmanship and intellectual capital, pride in Spanish métiers and the cultivation of male homosocial bonds of confidence and trust.
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Keywords: Men’s fashion; masculinity; national identity; nineteenth-century Spain; tailoring

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Spanish & Italian, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA

Publication date: July 2, 2020

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