Dating old photos by clothes


Type of Photograph

These detailed circled sections are beside the explanatory text. Let's look at the picture starting with circle 1. Elements of the coat could suggest it to be circa The sleeves with soft fullness at the head and the fitted silhouette suggest late Victorian styling. But the hat is too big for that date. Hats tight and neater, with less width, were dominant in the late s. Reference circle 1 left, is probably one of the best sections to use for generally dating the picture. The picture below for reference 1 enlarges fully. The coat is typically Edwardian, and because a waist is in evidence, I think it is before After that date waistlines were much higher following Directoire styles, and under-the-bust empire lines, but of course when women buy a coat they even now expect 2 or 3 years wear from it.

In those days they may have hoped for even longer wear. The silhouette back of the coat in circle 9 shown right, is very straight indicating no swing-back sway, which was created by the S-bend style of Reference circle 5 above centre shows a typical tailor made suit circa The necklines and tailoring of refernce circles 1, 3, 4, 6, and 11 could all be as late as Hats in reference circles 2 and 10 right show veiling which may be mourning veiling or motoring veiling.

The fashion designer Lucile had designed the original widow hat for an operetta in , but it influenced hat fashions for 3 more years.

Dating Old Photographs

It was always black and encased in filmy chiffon or organdie and festooned in feathers. The children wearing straw hats in circle 13 are wearing early forms of straw cloche hats. They are not as close fitting as the later cloches, but they show early signs of the fashion. The cloche hat was not confined to the s as is often first thought.

It was fashionable from to was one of the most extreme forms of millinery ever, with an appearance that resembled a helmet. Cloches existed in many forms including one with a beret like top. By hats became much smaller, although large wide picture hats were still worn for dressy functions. I think that there are too many garments with slightly puffed head sleeves for this to be as late as By all fullness in sleeve heads was well gone. The black hat in circle 14 is probably the most up to date hat in the picture. There are dozens of hats there, but that hat speaks volumes in terms of style and only she wears a hat like that.


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We will date the photograph by that hat and I think it is The hat she wears is an early form of the toque. So I will date the picture at I suppose bearing in mind your comment at the time of the war there is not much between and , but there are substantial fashion changes between and that eliminate those dates, now often known as the Titanic era. This picture leans more toward full late Edwardian styling than Titanic era styling. I'm inserting some of my hat drawing pictures. You can see how the last picture has elements like the black hat in the street scene and how the others have similar features.

The lady in the picture wears a hat which is combination of all these I've drawn. It really is a wonderful picture of children in dress. However, the problem with the children's clothing is that it was often handed down. In the main it's typical Edwardian era clothing for children. I think they are very smartly dressed for a crowd scene and would really like to know more about the picture. He has since told me that Hebburn is about 5 miles from the North Sea, and stands on the south bank of the river Tyne 6 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne, making the people there 'Geordies'.

The photo was taken in his hometown of Hebburn and is on card the same thickness of a Postcard. Norman was told it was possibly an outing on Easter Sunday. He doesn't know anymore than that even though he has tried hard to find out more information.

I did notice that one of the women in the photo centre has a selection of small badges on her coat lapels, typical symbols worn by members of church based organizations such as Band of Hope Temperance Society, or the Mother's Union sections. A closer look at the photograph also reveals that standing at the far left hand side is a man ina clerical collar, possibly the Church Minister.

Clerical Figure shown right.

Sir Humphrey Davey who invented the miners Safety Lamp went to Hebburn in and with gas from the 'B' pit he tested his lamp. All three pits were closed by the early 's. The Kelly's Commander was Lord Louis Mountbatten and every Armistice day he came to Hebburn to take part in the march up to the Kelly grave in our cemetery. Lots of Kelly men are buried in a mass grave after it was torpedoed in the North sea. Many Irish and Scottish folk flooded into the town looking for work. Before that there were Tin Miners from Cornwall going there for work. Some Welsh teachers went there to work in the Schools, so the Geordies really are a mixture.

In the photograph the building on the right with all the windows is still there today. It was called 'The County Hotel' in those days and probably where Mountbatten stayed on his visits. Just behind it is St Aloysius Church. It and the Priests house in front of it were extended after WW1 so are still there, but looking different.

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No one can remember the properties to the left with fence leading up to it, but an Aluminium manufacturer had that land then The Bauxite Company. You can visit Norman's site showing hundreds of old photographs of the region and its people here at www. If anyone reading this knows more about the picture analysed here please write to me or Norman. For those interested in more about Hebburn, Norman has suggested they check out the site he uses called www. One thing I do know is that as I examined this photograph I felt a connection to real people behaving in much the same way we might whilst waiting for an event that happened almost years ago.

How to Date Old Photographs by the Costume

I felt I would have liked to have known the lady with the most fashionable black hat. I just know we would have had much to chat about. I am sure she shopped until she dropped too. I wonder if anyone of the people in this old photograph could have envisaged that they each would be studied with such interest so far ahead in time. Wouldn't it be wonderful if one of those small children were alive today and able to tell us about that special day trip they had.

To read about fashions in mourning clothes and fabrics in Victorian and Edwardian eras see the Mourning Fashion web page. See also the Old Mourning Dress Photo I was recently sent this wonderful photo from with the request to research information about their costume and occupation from the photograph. The sender thought the women were wearing some kind of uniform related to their religion.

All I was told about this old photo was the known date of It's always good to have a known date to the picture, but the sender needed to clarify ideas about the people in the old photo. My first reaction was women in mourning dresses and that this was a family photo taken after the death of perhaps the mother in the family. Since they are fully grown women it does not seem unreasonable that their mother had become ill and died. At this point I was not aware of their identical family surnames, neither did I know the birth dates of all three characters.

Both women wear identical dresses of the era and this may be because mourning styles were limited in order to keep them fashionable. On close inspection they also both appear to be wearing a simple and limited tasteful amount of mourning jewellery. The dresses also have some decorative elements such as small pattern guipure lace neckline yokes and deep cuffs of lace, plus decorative button trim.

The mourning dresses have moved beyond the untrimmed plainest of mourning gowns, indicating that this photo was taken more than six months after first stage mourning. You can read more about Victorians and mourning fashion on the mourning dress page. I also thought one other interpretation was that the two women were shop workers or reception staff or schoolmistresses and had to wear the same gown for uniformity.

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Dating Ancestor Photos Through Clothing and Hairstyles

For example, they could have been the main housekeepers in a large manor house or hotel. Mourning jewellery was an important part of mourning dress. On the left we see a dark possibly jet brooch and on the right a black necklace made of black beads with a black cross. It is unlikely that young women of that age would wear such a totally black 'day' dress if they were not in mourning. Their mourning dresses are unlikely to be one piece dresses, but as was the custom at the time, consisted of two pieces of garments, but still described as a dress. After the fullness in dresses became reduced as narrower fashions emerged.

As a result over the next five years more dresses began to be constructed as one piece gowns.

Date an Old UK Photograph

When made as two pieces the bodice top was often called a waist and was worn with a fabric matched skirt. The skirt style is quite fashionable with all those side buttons, but not as narrow as many dress images of The blouson bodice style was seen many years before, but the narrow straight sleeves are of the later Edwardian era. By many women were wearing under-the-bust empire line gowns.


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These dresses are only very slightly above the waist if at all. By a V-neckline was the most fashionable neckline and the V-neckline was denounced from the pulpit for its vulgarity. This neckline suggests a respectful, demure and serious approach to the nature of the event with such an all occasion dress rather than desire to be fashion conscious with limited use occasion dress. For him it was a significant outward sign of mourning garb.

The photograph may even have been taken as a family effort to show other family members that this nuclear family was strong in its unity to the rest of their family wherever they were in the world. If the family was large they may also have been the most important and significant family members. These women may have acted as mothers to younger children. From these facts I thought it fair to assume the sitters were all in mourning dress. The marks on his fingers suggest permanent scarring such as the blue black marks a coal miner picks up when he cuts himself and can never rub them clean of coal dust when he washes and thus gains a permanent 'labour' tattoo.

From this I concluded he must have been a worker in manual trades rather than say a full time religious preacher or doctor despite his clean respectable attire. A few days later I was told that this old photo is of Newton Weddell , Hannah Weddell the lady on the left, with Mary Weddell the lady on the right. He was a slater and tiler by profession which helps explain those permanent black marks on his fingers. Despite his working class background he was a Freeman of the City due to his grandfather being a member of the Tanners' Guild.

His wife Jane, with whom he had ten children, died in The photograph was sent to his son William in Australia - the message on it reads "A Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year from your loving father and sisters. If you have any pictures of your family wearing mourning dress I would be interested in seeing them to add to this page or another page.

Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values, homelife and politics have all contributed to lifestyle trends which influence the clothes we wear. These are the changes that make any era of society special in relation to the study of the costume of a period.

Sponsored by MMA News. Please use the extensive sitemap which lists everything. Lindsay the owner agreed with me that if I could help him come to a satisfactory conclusion about who exactly this women was in his genealogy timeline research of family photographs, then maybe it would help others dating a similar photo and so I show it here. There are photographs that it might be possible to give more or even less information on, but this is just the type of photograph that places family history enthusiasts in a dilemma.

Suddenly they are curious and wonder who was she? When did she live? What social class was she?

Victorian Era Hairstyle Types by Decade

These are all questions that spring to mind when such an old photograph is found in an attic or a shoebox or estate effects. Analysing a photograph like this with a view to dating it and finding information on the web or with books can take several hours. These pages will eventually show you one method of achieving a deduction to help you become your own costume detective.

Firstly we are in luck in that she is a young and probably quite fashion conscious woman and so her hairstyle is possibly the most up to date fact about her. The sleeve is also interesting and is deep cuffed and slimline like later styles. Men wore lounge suits with matching waistcoats by the middle of the decade. The ladies look like they are wearing heavy furnishing rather than dresses. The cardboard is thicker and stronger less flexible than a playing card and the printing on the back is typeset with fonts but usually one large word, and perhaps a border, and the rest small and coloured inks may be used and a logo may appear.

The card may have rounded corners - mid to late s. These date from the s. Some still show full length and a carpet in the early s. Norfolk jackets were popular as were more casual clothes. Ladies wore tight fitting jackets, high white collars or ruffs a brooch at the neck, lots of buttons in rows, tight fitting sleeves, odd little hats, hair plain or curls usually pulled back. The back of the card is quite filled with print, with medals, famous customers, branches, and could be artistic. Studio furniture and chairs look as if from a fine country house.

dating old photos by clothes Dating old photos by clothes
dating old photos by clothes Dating old photos by clothes
dating old photos by clothes Dating old photos by clothes
dating old photos by clothes Dating old photos by clothes
dating old photos by clothes Dating old photos by clothes
dating old photos by clothes Dating old photos by clothes
dating old photos by clothes Dating old photos by clothes
dating old photos by clothes Dating old photos by clothes
Dating old photos by clothes

Related dating old photos by clothes



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