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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WWJD?

I have always believed that there was no way I could teach my two boys to be men. I just can’t do it. It is genetically impossible. Ever since I read “Bringing Up Boys” by Dr. James Dobson, I have held the belief that it takes a man to teach a boy to be a man. There are just some things that a mother can’t teach her sons. This belief was again confirmed when I read half of the book “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. (One day I will finish it.) A book written mostly for men to help them recover their masculine heart. Sounds funny doesn’t it? But, there is a real issue that there is a lack of men in boys lives to help them become men. I’m talking about real men. A man after God’s heart.

As an author I wanted to understand this a little bit better so I can make my male christian characters more believable. My Sunday school teacher, someone I would consider to be a real man, talked about this idea of a real man to us and is striving to teach the teenagers on his football team. (He is head football coach of our local college.) When I talked to him about it he recommended I read a book called “Season of Life” by Jeffery Marx. I had more fun reading it than I did the other two books. (Seriously, I am going to finish reading “Wild at Heart” someday.)

I was probably half way through the book when it all made perfect sense to me. Yes, I know, men think differently than women and how could I understand it. That’s not what I understood. I understood that there were more things that I could teach my boys than I thought. It all comes down to the perfect example any man or woman could have. I can now tell my boys that I can’t teach them to be men, but I know the one person who can other than their own father. That man is Jesus.

“Season of Life” made me think about Jesus and remember a time when I was a teenager. My youth director pointed out to us a few things about Jesus that I wouldn’t have thought about. He talked about what most pictures of Jesus looked like; long hair, beard, mustache, skinny man. Then he reminded us that Jesus had been a carpenter. He made us think about what it would take for a carpenter to get wood to make furniture or to build a house. There were no machines, no electric saws, nothing but maybe an ax or a saw to take down a tree. I can only emagine what he had to do to get the tree back to his shop. Not only that, but furniture wasn’t made of particle board like it is today. It was solid pieces of wood that would make a table heavy. Do you remember what happened in the temple when Jesus was angry? That’s right. He turned the table over. Not an easy thing if the table was made of thick solid wood. I could never picture Jesus as a skinny man again.

There was more to Jesus than just strength. He was a man who put other’s first. He was never there to take care of his own agenda, but always to help other’s. Ultamatly, his main purpose was to do God’s will. It was God’s will that we all have a relationship with Jesus. Those two things where his cause, his purpose in life. This is why I think thousands of men went to see Jesus and why woman were willing to drag their children along with them to hear him.

So, did this book help me to understand better what a christian man should be like? Yes! Do you have to be a christian to understand how to be a man? No. This book did not go into detail about the bible or about Jesus. Though it touched upon it a few times, I could probably count on one hand the number of times.

One more thing. After reading this, I think I will buy a copy of this book to give to every coach my boys will have. I think I’ll give it to their scout leaders, too. Not that I don’t think they are not men, but that any one would benifite from reading it. They may not read it, but that’s ok.

Is there a man in your life who almost always puts other’s before himself? Is there such a man? If you enjoyed this post leave a comment.