Victorian Men are “aristocrats [that] move in their gilded circles from opera to dinner to drawing room, with a costume for every role and every time of day.” (Ebert 3) Newland Archer was one of these men who always had to do and/or wear what was “the thing.”.
“[I]n the first place, New York was a metropolis, and perfectly aware that in metropolises it was “not the thing” to arrive early at the opera; and it what was or was not “the thing” played a part as important in Newland Archer’s New York- (Wharton 4).
The descendants of an aristocratic family were taught “the mannerisms and rituals expected of well bred young women [and men] in those days. (Shidler 1) Edith Wharton, creator of Newland Archer and writer of The Age of Innocence, was also an aristocrat. Wharton expressed her life as an aristocrat from New York in this novel.
Aristocrats such as Newland Archer and Edith Wharton are very well educated and deal with a very busy schedule around many people and things. Wharton owned a salon “where the gifted intellectuals of her time gathered to discuss and share ideas.” Most of the people that Wharton “enjoyed the company of [were] intelligent men” such as Henry James, Teddy Roosevelt, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway. (Shidler 1).
Newland Archer was created to be as active as these aristocratic descendants were taught to be. He spends a lot of time in operas, museums, and libraries.
“Newland Archer sat at the writing-table in his library in East Thirty-ninth Street. He had just got back from a big official reception for the inauguration of the new galleries at the Metropolitan Museum, and the spectacle of those great spaces crowded with spoils of the ages, where the throng of fashion circulated through a series of scientifically catalogued treasures, had suddenly pressed on a rusted spring of memory.” .
Fashion was another huge issue to the Victorian Man. These men had to look elegant and clean.