The Metropolitan Museum continues its generous policy of sharing images online; “Fashion plates from the collections of the Costume Institute and the Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art” are now available (and searchable) at http://libmma.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15324coll12
Click here, and scroll down for a lengthy list of sub-collections of fashion plates: menswear, children, wedding, women, headgear, etc., organized by date or range of dates.
What really excited me is the large number of men’s fashion plates, many dated very precisely, like these tennis outfits from 1905-06.
If you need to skim through a year or a decade of men’s fashion, this is a great place! It’s also going to be very helpful to collectors who are trying to date specific items of men’s clothing. Sometimes the date range given is very narrow (e.g., 1905-06) and sometimes it’s rather broad (e.g., 1896 to 1913) but menswear is neglected by many costume collections, so this is a terrific resource.
In addition to full outfits, like these evening clothes …
… individual items like vests can also be found:
Of course, fashion plates that have been separated from their descriptions in text are less useful than a complete magazine or catalog. Nevertheless, I’m grateful for the chance to see these rare collections, especially because the men are not forgotten.
This delightful plate reminds me of an Edward Gorey vamp — like the ones dancing through the credits on Mystery on Public Television.
I’ll add a link to the collection to my “Sites with Great Information” sidebar. (There are other treasures to explore there….)