Coats of Many Colours

In the 1780’s new fabric fashions appeared in France which were quickly adopted by men and women of other European nations – that of wearing clothing made from striped fabrics and even animal prints! Stripes had appeared on garments before this date but they dominated this decade, and although horizontal ones were worn, vertical stripes were […]

Putting the Boot in!

  It is a truth universally acknowledged that most modern men, when presented with a range of period costumes to wear for a fancy dress party, will choose to wear those styles which go with boots.  Boots are sexy. Let’s face it, some historical male footwear, to the modern eye, looks clownish, girlish, weird, unmanly…think […]

Pockets of Embroidered Beauty

I suppose it’s natural for any collector of old clothes to go through the pockets of a newly-purchased garment, in hopes of finding something of interest that the vendor may have overlooked. In almost 50 years of collecting men’s garments it has happened only a handful of times. Luckily I don’t buy the things hoping to […]

Ahead by a Neck

Dear Reader, my apologies that the Wallis Collection’s doors have been firmly closed for the last few weeks – I’ve been lecturing overseas (as well as having a few weekends off, dressing up for international Jane Austen Balls). But I’ve opened the collection’s drawers and have been looking through my substantial collection of gents’ neckwear, so […]

Punks’ trunks of the 1790s

I’ve just opened the drawers of the Wallis Collection for inspiration and come across my pairs of original Georgian leather breeches, so I shall make these the subject of this Blog. I remember when punk first reared its (self-consciously) ugly head in Britain. Everybody was saying how terribly new it all was and that nothing […]

On the Fringes of Fashion

In studying clothing of past centuries one quickly shares the delight our ancestors took in colour, fabrics, shape, novelty, cut, accessories and decoration. Now of course, this statement applies principally to those with money, whose clothes survive in far greater numbers that those of the working classes – but even they would try to be […]

Flower Power

For centuries, some men have delighted in wearing the colourful flora of the natural world on their clothing – from Chaucer’s dandified pilgrim, with a jacket so embroidered with flowers as if he were wearing a meadow, to modern shirts and jackets from Italian clothiers Etro and our own Sir Paul Smith. It is fair […]

Hats off to the Wallis Collection!

There’s fun to be had matching hats to their respective centuries: We can’t think of Stuart courtiers without those dashing, be-feathered hats, nor Georgian gentlemen without their distinctive three-cornered cocked hats (anachronistically called ‘tricorns’ by a later age) – or even black n’ white Hollywood movie heroes without their fedoras. And the same goes for the  Victorians, […]

A handy gift for Gentlemen

The Wallis Collection is open for visitors again – this time to examine some of my unusual pairs of historic men’s gloves. Gentlemen wore, gave and were given gloves throughout the period covered by my collection, circa 1690- 1890. They were often of fine (sometimes coloured) leather and made relatively cheap, convenient and sometimes sentimental […]

An Illustrated Shirt of the 1850s

Welcome to my first Blog – and to the Wallis Collection (pun intended)! I have been collecting men’s historic clothing and accessories since 1970, when I bought my first item with my saved-up pocket money. Since then I have amassed thousands of pieces, spanning the years 1690 – 1890, but always felt like a miser, with […]