Clear blues within a frame, within a frame -and a theory on those unbuttoned waistcoats of the Civil War era

Carte de visite. J.W. Gould. Ohio. Private Collection.

1860’s Carte de visite. J.W. Gould. Ohio. Private Collection.

A handsome sitter from the 1860’s with very light blue eyes!  Several points to make about this portrait:

I like that the picture was framed within the border lines of this carte de visite.

Also, the way he tied his neck ribbon is interesting.

And he chose to open his waistcoat with the top and bottom still buttoned, like many Civil War soldiers did on the pictures of the era…Was he a veteran in civilian suit? A good chance, the lines and corners of this CDV date this picture to be between 1864 and 1869. The next decade saw the rise of a civilian fashion trend where men wore their coat with the top buttoned but not the bottom.  The thought behind it was to show the waistcoat, but I have a theory on it. I think the trend emerged out of respect for soldiers whose uniforms were standard issued and were too small for their frame…For example, the trend of bushy beards became popular with mature Victorians when they wished to imitate the soldiers who fought the Crimean war. I believe people were looking up to those brave boys and adopted their style…so why not the way a coat or waistcoat is buttoned?

Photographer: J.W. Gould. Main Street. Carrollton, Ohio.

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