The Crazy Shit the People of 1893 Thought We'd Be Wearing Today

Can anyone predict the next 100 years of fashion? Signs point to no.

Trying to predict the future of fashion just a few years in advance is hard enough, but can you even begin to imagine how people's sartorial tastes will change over the next century? A recently uncovered article from 1893 tried to do just that, and the results are predictably—and hilariously—off base.

In "Future Dictates of Fashion" written for the British magazine The Strand, author W. Cade Gall frames his predictions by imagining that a book from 1993 has been unearthed in a library. In it, Gall finds drawings of what he's convinced men and women will wear in the 20th century. While in reality people have cast off complicated layers and frills over the years, these predictions see us adding them on to circus-clown levels of absurdity.

In 1960, Gall thought policemen would wear heavy capes and smocks, and by 1965 he envisioned members of the military carrying umbrellas "to protect one's head-dress."


Justin Fenner

He did get one aspect of the 1970s correct, anticipating that "many of us would doubtless strenuously object to wearing neckties of the magnitude here portrayed." But in the same decade he also predicted that men would don spherical hats with plumes of feathers sticking out and tailcoats that dragged along the ground.


Justin Fenner

By 1993, men have progressed to wearing skirts. And while we've seen this look on the runway relatively recently (thanks, J.W. Anderson), they're nothing like this.


Justin Fenner

There are a few bright spots in Gall's predictions. He totally called the dawn of tights-ass-pants in the '70s, and even predicted that people would smoke less tobacco by that time, too.

While it's easy enough to make fun of what he got wrong, it'd be considerably harder to predict what the menswear bloggers of 2114 are going to be talking about—or if they'll even exist.

—Details associate online style editor Justin Fenner.

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