History of Men’s Leg Wear (Pants) Through the Regency Era
by Suzi Love
By the early 1800s, men’s clothing was rapidly changing. Culottes, or knee breeches, and their previous distasteful association with rich aristocrats, particularly in France, were being replaced by first pantaloons, and then trousers. ‘Showing-a-leg’ no longer seemed important as clothing, and lifestyles, became more relaxed.
Breeches before the turn of the century were looser fitting around the hips and made of wool, cotton, or linen, while some silk breeches were still worn on very formal occasions or at court. But coats became higher cut in the front, so waistcoats and pants were more exposed and the style of pants needed to change.
Breeches were fall-fronted with a broad fall, the early ones being very wide, hip to hip, and gradually becoming narrower, hip bone to hip bone. Waistbands were buttoned and then the fall closed and buttoned over the top like a bib. A French Fly was fastened down the centre, but Englishmen resisted this style as it was considered a racy French style.
Riding breeches, or buckskin breeches, were still worn for comfort. These were tighter fitting and had either, or both, button and ties for fastening at the knees. They became longer, to the tops of long boots, while for daywear, pantaloons and trousers replaced breeches.
The word ‘Pantaloon’ comes from the French pantalon, from Italian Pantaleone, a traditional character in 16th-century Italian comedy and literally means a covering for each leg from waist to ankle.
Trousers were fairly close fitting and ended around the ankles, with slits on the sides for foot access. Some had under-the-foot straps to keep them anchored in place. For day dress, stirrups were worn under the shoe but for evening wear, under the foot.
Suzi Love is an Australian author of historical romance, from Regency to early Victorian, and from sexy to erotic.
You can find more of her historical articles at http://www.suzilove.com
And more historical men’s fashion at :
Fashion Men 1800- 1820 http://pinterest.com/suziloveoz/fashion-men-1800-1820/