Foreign vs. American Fashion

By Maureen A. Taylor

My mind is focused on packing for Who Do You Think You Are? Live! in London. I’ll be at this dynamic trade show for three days and I’ll be presenting two lectures—one about online picture research and the other on writing your family memoir. Can’t wait!!

While I’m in London looking at pictures I thought it would be a good time for a quiz. I’ve been to WDYTYA three years in a row looking at pictures. It’s been a learning experience. The number one question folks ask me when I’m there is “what’s the difference between American and English fashion?”

No, not all Americans dressed in Western style hats.

Photographic methods vary just a bit. Daguerreotypes weren’t as common in England as America, but early paper photographs were available from 1839 on. The American invention, the tintype, also wasn’t as popular in England.

Clothing is a little more difficult. The differences can be subtle or dramatic. Everyday dress is about the same, but occupational dress has several distinctions.

So…here are two pictures. Vote in the comment section below and tell me which is a British man and which is American. I’ll weigh in when I return.

Photo one

Photo two


(If you like these hats you should see the ones in my new Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900. It’s available in the Family Tree Shop store. Click the link below.)

If you happen to be in London, stop by the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! photo gallery and say hello.

Thank you for participating in my Silly Old Photo contest on my website. It’s not too late to vote. I’ve extended the deadline until the day I return.

Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album