A LANDMARK exhibition exploring 200 years of male costume is being staged by an auction house.

Tennants, at Leyburn say the study of male clothing has long been overshadowed by the prominent place given to female fashion by both costume historians and museums with only one public exhibition on men and boys dress, held over forty years ago in New York. Now they say they are holding the exhibition to move the discussion of male dress from the side lines to centre stage.

A spokesperson said: "Using real garments drawn from two exceptional private collections, the exhibition will tell the story of clothes worn by men and boys at work and play, at war and peace, in the schoolroom and in mourning over two hundred years. Unusually, it will examine not only the sumptuous dress worn by the elite, but also the plainest workaday clothes of the ordinary man and boy.

"With an increasing interest in the construction of gender, the exhibition will offer a rare and timely opportunity to look in detail at changing historical attitudes to the representation of masculinity from early childhood to adulthood. The exhibition will introduce visitors to the attire of fops, dandies and swells, to bridegroom’s clothing across the centuries, to the costumes worn on trips to the seaside and much more. A special focus will also be given to clothing made or worn in Yorkshire."

There is a talk being held by collectors on February 15.