May 16, 2011

A Regency Gentleman's Breeches

A new tailcoat means new breeches. Whilst yellow breeches would go perfectly with the blue wool I've purchased, the store had some lovely sturdy cream canvas that I'll use instead. Because John often gets too hot to wear a tailcoat dancing for four hours plus, I'm using a Scandinavian pattern instead that does not have as a baggy a bottom as Regency-period breeches. As he does not ride a horse, it makes me wonder, did Regency gentlemen ALL wear baggy-bottoms or would a dressmaker have erred on the less-baggy side for a dancing master? I do know that I want to add in pockets, and especially at least one fob pocket in the waistband for a pocketwatch with decorative fob.

I've been reading Norah Waugh's book on men's costume to see when breeches were replaced by pantaloons. I think a man looks so elegant in breeches at a ball.

Breeches were the correct wear with the evening dress coat until c. 1810, and were often worn during the day with tail coats until c. 1830, and always with Court dress. They continued to be worn by the unfashionable until well in the century [...]

Pantaloons were very generally worn until the middle of the nineteenth century ad replaced breeches for formal wear. [...] Until 1817 pantaloons were calf length, and then, they extended to the ankles [...] Straps under the instep kept them taught, but for evening wear the stockings had to be visible. [...]

Trousers appeared very early in the century for informal day wear, and were accepted for informal evening wear from 1817. By 1825 they were in general use, though pantaloons were still considered correct evening wear until the middle of the century. [...]

[...] wider-cut trousers [...] the 'Cossacks' which were inspired by the Czar's visit to London in 1814. They were cut very full and gathered into the waistband and also round the ankles.


zarisson said...

thanks for posting in so much detail - this is gold dust for writers. Sarah Brabazon

Baggy breeches said...

They are also known as Jodhpur pants or royal riding pants (baggy - tight, horse riding trousers).

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