19th Century Men’s Attire

Have you ever read something in a book and had no idea what they were talking about or describing? That’s happened to me a few times. Then when you keep coming across the same word you finally go to the internet to look it up. That is why I wanted to write things on my blog that you might find in my book. Today I want to tell you about men’s clothing.

Personally, I find some of it interesting. So here is a list of things you would see a man wear. Then I will tell you the things I found interesting:

  1. Shirts were linen and worn with a stock or cravat.
  2. A stock was a stiff neckband.
  3. A cravat was a square piece of cloth that was folded into a triangle and tied around the neck.
  4. A waistcoat, a type of vest, was standard with every riding coat.
  5. A “dress” riding coat was cut high in the front, double-breasted and was long-tailed in the back.
  6. A frock coat was worn during the day.
  7. Tights (pants) were made of buckskins.
  8. Tall boots.

Well, linen shirts aren’t to interesting unless you are watching the end of Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Darcy is walking through the field toward Lizzy. It was dawn; the breeze blows his frock coat around him as his walks through the grass wet with dew. His linen shirt is tucked into his pants, but is open at the neck. Well, you get the picture. Besides the intriguing glimpses into Lizzy’s life, the wealthy could afford to have several linen shirts. You could say it was a sign of wealth if you were always wearing a white linen shirt.

The color of a waistcoat and dress coat became darker as the century when by until you had the black and white formal attire that you may see even today. We call it a tuxedo. Even with the black and white formal attire there was always the cravat to give your attire some color. Some cravats could be quite extravagant.

Now, as far as the pants and boots, the beginning of the 19th century was a time when a more natural look was desirable. When I say pants were like tights, it means they were really tight. You know, like tights. Seriously, they were so tight men had to carry a separate coin purse because there was no room for pockets. Boots were tall for a very practical reason, what with all the riding men did.

One last thing I find interesting. Before the 19th century, men and women wore powdered wigs. Men wore pants that stopped at the knee, white socks that covered their calves. They had to wear the ruffled shirt and the coat with the big brass buttons. At the beginning of the 19th century men and women’s clothing may have changed but servants had to continue to wear the old style of dress.

We have come a long way in the way we dress, yet we seem to always be repeating the styles of the past. One thing that has gone in and out of popularity has been wearing wigs. Can you think of anything else that has gone in and out of popularity since the 18th century? Is there anything you wish would or would not go in and out of popularity? Leave a comment if you can think of something.

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