In spite of middle-class men’s presumed absence from consumer culture during the nineteenth century, the role of consumerism in the articulation of patterns of masculinity is especially evident in the case of Catalonia. In industrial and metropolitan Barcelona, products often framed or thought of as “feminine”—such as clothing and fashion accessories—were also central to entrepreneurial masculinity and bourgeois men’s social mobility during the late nineteenth century. It is therefore unsurprising that the commercialization of menswear and masculine accessories was notable in the Catalan context, given what that region’s rapid urbanization owed to the manufacture, sale, and display of fashionable commodities ranging from jackets and shirts to walking sticks and home and office décor in small shops and department stores, particularly during the second half of the nineteenth century. By examining commercial ephemera produced and distributed in Barcelona, alongside theories of male homosociality and empire, this essay demonstrates how Spanish men—specifically Catalans—commercialized fantasies of bourgeois masculinity, thus contributing to the consolidation of cultures of consumption during the final decades of the nineteenth century. Visual representations of masculine accessories in department store catalogs, advertisements, and newspaper illustrations are analyzed to argue that bourgeois men, through their shared affective interactions with material accessories, branded Spain as a capitalist nation and, with their consumption of tobacco-related paraphernalia in particular, as an imperial power, even as that power was waning.

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