The Gilded Age from 1870 to 1900 marked massive changes and was a period of lavish, Luxurious, and high-quality fashion lifestyle. The Gilded Age HBO MAX SEASON 1 2022 EMMY WINNER.

What Gilded Age means?

We don’t know what drove HBO to show the American Gilded Age as a big part of fashion, but in fact, and according to historical data America’s Gilded Age was divided into social reconstruction and industrialization. This was the period when American society decided to become civilized and began to achieve social, cultural, and political changes and principles in life. Well, we really appreciate the efforts of the drama directors Michael Engler & Salli Richardson Whitfield, because they decided to focus on New York which leads to avoiding all such historical facts and reality and got the opportunity to display pure classical content of traditional fashion and the fabric of New York The Gilded age.


Gilded Age according to Encyclopaedia Britannica

So what makes directors opportunistic to only show New York fashion?

According to a historical thesis published on, American history as “The Gilded Age” is a historical pipeline of the three decades of the nineteenth century (roughly 1870-1900). Actually, in Hyde Park, New York, the National Park Service preserves Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, one of the many Gilded Age mansions owned by Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt.


The Vanderbilt Mansions are one of the main pillars of America’s important fashion past because such historical monuments preserve historical pieces of data and today those data are showing that fashion was a very important and prominent part of the gilded age lifestyle.

|Well, The Gilded Age drama costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone has done a really amazing job (Big Bow To Her Talent)|

Because in those days women and men used to wear many layered clothes and those clothes were really grand and traditional.

the characters of The Gilded Age

If I get a chance in the future, I will definitely travel back in time and ask those people who wear 5 to 10 clothes a day and why?

Yes, you are reading right during the gilded age, both men and women were expected to change their wardrobe as many times per day and even more than 10, Because of social status and of course possible because they were affluent enough to spend such a lavish lifestyle.

Women First?

Oh No!

Even in America during this so-called “the gilded age” women’s rights were a toy of men and Women were only allowed to look beautiful and majestic.

We found an article “Illinois During the Gilded Age” from the NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY digital library, that says The majority of men were from the working class and women were only allowed to run the household and raise children, by Drew E. VandeCreek.

Illinois During the Gilded Age
Women’s Experience and Gender Roles in GIlded-Age Illinois

Ok, back to the point!

Men & women were used to changing clothes many like a dress for the night, morning, afternoon, evening, party, and sometimes as per the occasion and emotion.

And, this is how directors got the opportunity to show the fashion side of the gilded age of America by adopting the “Gilded Age” culture of the New York Vanderbilt Mansion.

Well, no doubt during that period fashion was a top-notch level homage.

Remember, what goes around comes around! and that’s why history repeated itself with the concept of OLD WINE NEW BOTTEL because the style 1870 become the trend of the twentieth century.

What is Gilded Age Glamour? and Historical Facts of the gilded age!

The term “Gilded Glamour” indicates the golden period of America, the period of fast industrialization, social growth, political changes, and massive economic growth in the three decades before the turn of the century. This historical period is actually the end of the Reconstruction Era in 1877, which prohibited and prosecuted the right Black American community from participating in or benefiting from the social, political, and economic distribution and accessibility, in reality thus era name is inspired by the 1873 novel “The Gilded Age:

Followed by The Met Gala 2022 Dress Code? Gilded Glamour!

Followed by The Met Gala 2022 Dress Code? Gilded Glamour!

Last year’s 2022 theme was “Gilded Glamour,” the aura of the concept driven by 1870 fashion and pulls inspiration from New York’s Gilded Age when excess and grandiosity defined both the decades and the fashion. As skyscrapers began to spring up, decorating the New York skyline, millions of celebrities, stars, entertainers, and creators arrived in the city and changed the cultural landscape forever.

Ok, let’s get back to our main course!

The first season of HBOMAX, The Gilded Age is well decorated with a high level of the cast and fashion touch, according to HBO The Gilded Age is the story of 1882 when a young Marian Brook moved from rural Pennsylvania to New York City after the death of her father to live with her thoroughly old-money aunts, Agnes van Rhijn and Ada Brook. This story is quite interesting and emotional but hard for us to believe after reading about the reality of the gilded age.

The Directors got an amazing opportunity to seize the story from 1870 by showing how fashion changed by decade during the Gilded Age. Let’s catch some real changes of that era!

The signing of 1870s: From the 1870s to 1880s, the bustle was the best innovation in fashion for women;

The Gilded Age Fashion Of Women’s

bustle was notably fashionable in Europe and the United States for most of the 1870s and again in the 1880s.
  • The design was fuller in the back than in the front, like a duck, rather than being circular.
  • Multiple colored patterns and the use of synthetic dyes
  • Multi-layered.
  • Priority is not designed and still, this design is unique and attractive as a traditional fashion symbol.
  • The most used colors combination were navy blue, White, red, and pink
  • Popular as princes design in 1876.
  • Encompassed bodice and corsets with vertical seams, rather than horizontal ones which tightly hugged the body.
  • The dress was commonly designed with long sleeves and a high neckline was a feature part of the style.

You may wonder if you are just taking a new dive into the world of fashion but Harper’s Bazaar has been tracking the fashion industry since June 1850 and is one of the oldest magazines in the world.

According to NPS, the Nation Park Service, The Harper’s Bazar wrote about his style; “The object now is to make the figure look slender and long-waisted…There are many dresses with long seams that begin on the shoulders, making long side bodices, while others again have short seams that begin in the armhole…The neck of the dress is as high as it is possible to wear it, and in many cases has two collars, one of which stands, while the other is turned down in Byron shape…Sometimes there is a single plastron[2] down the middle, while others have two plastrons set on a little beyond the button holes. This a tasteful and simple fashion.

The Gilded Age Fashion Of Men’s

Maybe a pattern on the pattern but nothing more for men. The men’s fashion world has always been the victim of low engagement and attention from society, which makes slow growth in the fashion fraternity of men. Even in the gilded age of new york fashion options were limited;

  • Three-piece or Four piece
  • Round hat
  • Cufflink
  • Tie-bar
  • Enamel lapel pin
  • Brooch
  • Pocket watch
  • lan Drummond
The Gilded Age Fashion Of Men's

Switch to the 1880s of The Gilded Age: on the other hand in the 1880’s women’s fashion was in constant development with the “Princess Line” style. Over the decade Bustle becomes more popular and quickly adopted fashion by society, which elaborated more fashion options for women and promoted more garments & accessories to support the bustle from a wardrobe malfunction, like;

  • The cushions stuffed with hair and attached to a belt,
  • Thin metal or steel springs to achieve the desired look,
  • Net soft-cotton umbrella
  • Hand-gloves
  • Safety pin for patterns
  • Rotation dresses with decoration and time, bows, lace, frills, and more.

Again response from the HARPER BAZAAR issues in 1880 on women’s fashion and described as a dress with “…metallic embroideries of silk cords, and beads-gold, silver, steel, jet, and crystal…so incrusted with metallic embroidery as to conceal the fabric on which it is wrought.”

During this period of fashion women’s round hats got more attention, including everything from lace and flowers to feathers, and this was the reason why hairstyles got simpler and easy than in 1870. However, Men’s fashion also got some new upgrades like less baggy more formal, and straight, and within a span of two decades, men’s clothing finally got an upgrade due to the innovation of tuxedos.

The TUXEDO Controversy

The Gilded Age claims the innovation & fame of the tuxedo as part of American fashion of the 1880s, but in reality, the tuxedo was reportedly first produced for the UK’s Prince Albert in 1865.


America claims everything on this earth and space as the property of granny and grammy. However, it is also true that the tuxedo got a high level of adoption in American society at the end of the 1880s. There is a saying that James Potter was the person who brought the Tuxedo style from England to America.

If we drill down more then the story is also connected with the involvement of the Prince of Wales. The Billionaire James Brown Potter and his spouse Cora got a chance to meet the Prince during a private trip to Britain and got introduced to the chic new jacket style some claims that the Prince asked Mr. James Potter to wear the Tuxedo and make it a trendsetter attire. And then Potter made his debut wearing the tuxedo at the Autumn Ball of Tuxedo Park’s private country club in New York, where the name “tuxedo” took hold. The exact manner in which the tuxedo proliferated across the US remains shrouded in myth and contested narratives.

Tuxedo history from the Library of Congress

tuxedo from library of congress

Mr. James potter made his debut wearing the tuxedo in Tuxedo Park’s private country club in New York in 1886 and the congress library also claims that the tuxedo gained popularity and attention in the 1880s. Hence America can get the name of fame but the innovation from part of Britain.

The Last Decade Of The Gilded Age

In the last decade of the Gilded Age, both gender fashion was evolving towards the 20th century. Women got more civilized and right to spend more time outside the home and got also involved in politics, and women’s numbers got increased in the working class. In turn, fashion responded. Sportswear for women became highly popular:

The gilded age 80s women sportswear

This period was more dedicated towards the enhancement of sportswear but doesn’t like the simplicity and movability, of today’s clothing options more suitable for activities and all sports forms, like cycling, golf, and tennis. The “bicycling costume” was a notable sportswear option, a combination of skirt and pants, but it was somewhat controversial due to its conservativeness in society. It is designed with a skirt paired and a shirt like a men’s dress shirt, but with added women and feminine touches like bright colors, lace, frills, and other decorative things. The bell-shaped skirts replaced the previous two decades’ prominent bustles.

Sportswear clothing for men continued to be popular in the 1890s, just as it had been in the previous decade. The frock coat remained a popular daywear option and nothing more.

This article is not meant to defame the Golden Age drama but a question to the audience did you get anything real from this drama? Or are you satisfied with the script of the directors? Personally from our point of view, the directors have neglected the main course of the golden age and served the audience only with fashion sideshows.


If you share the same opinion with us, do you believe that the director will show reality in the second season of The Gilded Age?

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