With the end of the Civil War, fashions reflected the enormous relief that Americans felt with peace, prosperity, and a return to "the good life". With people no longer having to hoard food, household goods, and basic necessities, there began an age of luxuries both in household design and in the clothes that people wore, and this was most evident in a shocking fashion phenomenon... FOR MEN! The appalling death toll among Civil War soldiers on both sides resulted in a post-war turning away from the military and preconceived notions of "manhood" and virility. Tobacco use and the consumption of hard liquors among men fell dramatically, replaced by perfume distilling and afternoons of teas, scones, and elderberry sherry. Traditional boy's sports fell out of favor in academies and were replaced with entire semesters devoted to needlework, kitchen arts, and interpretive dance... sometimes with beribboned hoops or garlands of flowers. And men's more conservative suiting and formal wear gave way to the latest fabulous fashions from Paris; full skirts, lace adornments, flowery prints on glamorous fabrics, and more flattering and festive silhouettes.
Of course, a man still wanted to keep his handsome side-whiskers... just to let the ladies remember "who the man was"!
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