Reigning Men- Menswear Exhibit at LACMA


Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Reigning Men exhibit at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art with my husband and The Dreamstress.  WOW!  What an incredible display of menswear!  If you haven’t yet been able to see this exhibit, it’s on until August 21st.

Menswear is so often overlooked in the history of fashion.  It was pretty incredible to see several large rooms of clothing on display.  The garments spanned from the 18th century until present day.  Of course, I was the most taken with the earlier menswear garments, as they are so seldom on display on the West Coast of the United States, so most of my pictures are of those garments.

I have uploaded over 200 photos to my Flickr Album so you can see all the photos I took (I didn’t take photos of every garment), but I’ll highlight a few favorite images in this blog post that show the amazing details that I was most excited about.  Unfortunately, I neglected to take photographs of most of the name plates, and many of the garments aren’t yet on LACMA’s online database, but hopefully you will enjoy the images regardless!


This cotton banyan (at home robe), circa 1750, was absolutely gorgeous.  I have a soft spot for 18th century cottons, and this one was incredible.


The amazing striped fabric and incredible buttons on this 18th century coat were most exciting. I love how this period often unashamedly used different colors in the same ensemble.


These “corset” drawers, circa 1830, were most exciting. I really want to try to recreate these.


Not only is the brocade on this 18th century waistcoat absolutely gorgeous, but the scalloped pockets AND the seam right above the pockets made me really excited.


This French coat, circa 1800, was my favorite piece on display.  The textile, the embroidery, the colors, the cut… it was all just perfection in my book.  You can see The Dreamstress taking a photo of it in this image.


The embroidery and dimension!  The swirl of lace that intertwines the floral embroidery is particularly exciting. And the pocket edging that’s mirrored on the garment!


With the vest, it’s just too, too, much.IMG_0054

This textile was just incredible, and not something I usually think of for 18th century menswear.  This is on the LACMA database, and it describes it as “Silk cut velvet on plain weave with tie-resist-dyed pile warp (chiné) and self-weft patterning”.  Circa 1770.


The cuff treatment and button placket on this striped silk coat, which I neglected to get a date of (but I believe is 1790’s-early 1800s), was incredible to me.


This was my husband’s favorite piece of the exhibit.  All that metal embroidery was just INCREDIBLE.  If you look closely, you can see that included in the embroidery are acorns.  This is an Italian court suit and vest, circa 1800.


And here we are!  Braving the heat, sunburn, and long lines to see old clothes!

If you want to see more pictures of the exhibit, you can see all the pictures I took here in my Flickr Album.  If you repost/share any images, a link back would be highly appreciated.

Historical costumers might be excited to know that LACMA has released some sewing patterns of a few of the garments that are on display in this exhibit.

Reigning Men is a specially ticketed exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that is on display until August 21st.  If you get a chance to go, I highly suggest it. I also suggest you purchase tickets online in advance if you plan to go on a weekend, as the lines were quite long when we were there because a popular exhibit has just opened.

2 Comments on Reigning Men- Menswear Exhibit at LACMA

  1. Hilary
    August 11, 2016 at 8:52 pm (8 years ago)

    I saw the exhibit shortly after it opened and your photos and comments on the details make me want to go back and see it again! I got kind of overwhelmed by how much was there, somehow I don’t even remember the embroidered French coat you posted. Nor did I notice the scalloped pockets on the 18th century waistcoat!

    I loved the early 19th century clothes (those “corseted” undergarments were so so cool) and really loved seeing the differences in silhouette. I think my biggest disappointment I wish they’d utilized the “undergarment” room to show more practical undergarments/shaping methods. I liked the calf-padding and tailoring displays they had but like…as funny as the inflatable ab-live-preserver was I didn’t quite understand the curation of the “modern” garments. The Western-influenced Japanese clothes from 1930-40(?) were also super interesting (I’m mainly thinking of a cloak made to fit over a man’s kimono).

    Thank you for the great photos! I think the 21st is going to creep up on my faster than I expect (and I’m probably not going to have time to check it out a 2nd time) but I love seeing all these pictures of all these pieces and details my untrained eye missed!

    • Lauren
      August 12, 2016 at 11:01 am (8 years ago)

      I’m so glad you got to see the exhibit, too! It WAS overwhelming, seeing so many garments in one space. I wish I had spent more time looking at certain garments, but I was totally distracted by the 18th century and Regency garments! Ha!

      I agree, it would be nice to see more undergarments worn on average, rather than the most extreme.

      The Japanese clothes were really neat! I loved that cloak! I don’t think my photos turned out well of that, but I thought that was really neat.

      Thanks for your comment! Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.