Buttoned at the Top (Updated)

Today, I’m going to talk about fashion.  That’s right…..fashion.  Those folks who know me well, will tell you that I generally do not give a hoot about fashion.  Fashion is certainly not my bailiwick.  However, I have discovered that whenever I write for this blog, I am in the business of learning something new.  Each day, I discover a story that I didn’t know before I started.  I just find a starting point and begin researching.  Plus, with regard to fashion, there may be some readers out there who really do care about this topic.

Today, my starting point was the birthday of Herman Guetersloh.  He was born on August 12, 1872 in Jacob, Illinois.  However, looking for facts in his story ended up giving me a reason to discuss an observation I have made in previous stories.  It has to do with something I noticed in photos over and over again.

But first, let me just tell you a few things about Herman.  He was the son of Dietrich and Margaretha Guetersloh of Jacob.  Herman’s parents were discussed in the post, The Original Gueterslohs.  Herman had an older sister, but he was the firstborn son in the family.  He also had several other brothers and sisters.  Here is a photo of one brother and three sisters that must have been taken after Herman had died.

Guetersloh siblings
Guetersloh siblings

Henry became a farmer, and all indications point to the fact that he probably farmed the same land as his father had done in years past.  On November 6, 1895, Herman married Maria Heitmann, also of Jacob.  Here is their wedding photo.

Guetersloh Heitmann wedding
Herman and Maria Guetersloh

It is this photo that sent me off in another direction with this story.  I have been noticing for a while now that in photos taken around this time in the 1890’s, men were wearing coats that were buttoned only at the top.  Maria’s sister, Emma, married Martin Bellmann one year later, and we have this photo which was shown in a previous post about Martin.

Martin Bellmann-10-6-1872 - 8-27-1968
Martin Bellmann

The jacket he is wearing seems to be the same style and is buttoned only at the top.  So I started researching men’s fashion in the 1890’s.  This is one of the beauties of the internet and internet search engines.  You can find information on just about any topic you can imagine on the internet, and internet search engines make it possible to find it.  I found this statement on a website discussing men’s fashion in the 1890’s.

“Jackets were notably short and narrow during the 1890s. Sleeves were narrow and short enough to reveal the cuffs. The jacket was close-fitting with extremely narrow lapels and a rounded bottom at the front. The jacket was generally buttoned to the top.”

In other places, I found that such a coat was called a sack jacket.  I’m not sure how that name developed, but it wasn’t because the jackets were made from sacks.  I even found one source that said that only the top button on some of these jackets was functional.

I have also been told somewhere along the line that it was about this same time that white weddings dresses became more fashionable.  That may be a story for a future blog.  I know I have already written a post about Another Black and White Wedding.

***UPDATE   Upon further thought, I realize now that this fashion trend allows for future expansion of the belly.  Thus this jacket could be worn for many, many years.  I say, let’s bring it back.  I could use it.

I leave you today with a gallery of photographs that have been published on previous posts.  I captioned each one with a name or two, plus a date when it was taken.  In some, the precise date could not be determined, so I placed an approximate one.  Click on thumbnail to enlarge.



5 thoughts on “Buttoned at the Top (Updated)

  1. Permission to reprint this in the Ava Citizen in a future month?  The blog “The Original Gueterslohs” is going in the August edition and I am also going to include the Eclipse ad again since the paper is mailed on August 16th.Diane

    From: Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum To: dla62@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, August 12, 2017 8:14 AM Subject: [New post] Buttoned at the Top #yiv6652362369 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv6652362369 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv6652362369 a.yiv6652362369primaryactionlink:link, #yiv6652362369 a.yiv6652362369primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv6652362369 a.yiv6652362369primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv6652362369 a.yiv6652362369primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv6652362369 WordPress.com | Warren Schmidt posted: “Today, I’m going to talk about fashion.  That’s right…..fashion.  Those folks who know me well, will tell you that I generally do not give a hoot about fashion.  Fashion is certainly not my bailiwick.  However, I have discovered that whenever I write fo” | |


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