Here we look at some of the different types of clothes, accessories and visual emblems that can represent or define formal or informal occasions. Outfits for special events like weddings, parties or fancy balls make a bold statement. They are designed to be seen in and admired, and are usually highly decorative and visual, and sometimes stiff and uncomfortable. Formal occasions in the past have also required different accessories like fans for women or wigs for men.
Clothes to relax in and to wear at home, have always been looser and less restricting; often a welcome change to more uncomfortable "public" clothing.
Society today has become far more relaxed about clothing than in previous generations, and the "casual-smart" look is now fashionable, blurring former distinctions. As a result, a consumer shopping for an outfit may choose a designer suit made of denim, thereby "dressing down" the formal; or else a jersey leisure suit encrusted with pearls and sequins, thereby "dressing up" the casual.
Banyans & Men's Gowns
Suits for Men & Women
18th Century Women's Fashion
18th Century Men's Fashion
19th Century Women's Fashion
1950s Cotton Board Fashion
Victorian Photographs: Men & Women
Victorian Photographs: Family Groups