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Weird historical pants for men

October 28, 2009

Weird and Wacky pants for men

        No wonder men needed valets! 

        It wasn’t just women struggling into tight fitting clothing! And no wonder it took both sexes so long to dress every day, often  changing clothes four or five times a day!

Early on were Breeches – Short, close-fitting trousers that fastened just below the knees or above the ankles, with a horizontal front flap called the ‘fall’ and were worn with stockings. In Regency times, breeches were  worn tighter to show off a manly physique. Boys of 3 – 6 years stopped wearing loose dress-type children’s garments and went into short pants instead, and were considered ‘breeched.’

 Then of course we had Pantaloons –By the late 1810s and beyond, these became popular and eventually they evolved into full length trousers. Originally pantaloons were made to suit shorter Hessian boots that fell below the typical knee-breech level and they were worn very form-fitting.

Buckskins – Fashionable trousers made from deer skin also showed off every curve of the man’s figure.

              How could ladies not want to peek?

                          Oooh, what a display of fine, manly figure!! Swoon!

And so to more modern Trousers –

       The word Trouser came into usage in the late 1600’s,  so we’ve had trousers around for a long time. But at first, they were mostly for lower classes.

      Revolutionary France started a trend for sans-culottes, which meant trousers or pantaloons instead of culottes, or knee breeches, which were associated with the aristocracy.

       The styles of the revolution moved across to England and were taken up by those who either sided with revolutionary ideals or who took them up as part of a protest against the establishment set.

         Early trousers looked strange because they were generally a bit looser than pantaloons or breeches, and ended at the ankles with slits on the side for foot access. They often needed under-the-foot straps to fix them in place.

  Now here’s a couple of insider tips from a gentleman’s valet for you to remember –

– False calves can be created by padding so that a master’s calves fill out his stockings and make him look more muscular, especially when he is wearing knee-breeches. Every woman’s dream!

– For rotund gentlemen, tightly pulled corsets help keep the paunch to a minimum and enhance his figure.

– To keep trousers in place and prevent disgrace, braces( suspenders) can be worn under vests.

          Even in cases of his master’s over-imbibing, or just plain clumsiness, a valet can ensure his lordship remains correctly clothes at all times when representing the household in public by taking a few early precautions. 

      Imagine the poor valet’s work if –

             –  a gentleman rode before breakfast   – changed to join the family

              – spent the morning boxing with friends in looser attire – changed for lunch at his club with peers        

             – changed for afternoon calls or a drive in the park with the women

        –  changed for dinner with friends

                        –  changed into evening dress for a formal ball

                    – arrived home just before daylight to change into his banyan( robe) to smoke his cheroot before bed

– then rose 3 hours later expecting his clothes laid out so he could do it all over again.!!

No, I seriously do not want to go back in time and become wither a lady’s maid or a gentleman’s valet

                        – although, if I had the choice….

                                   Hmmmm….being in a gentleman’s bedroom…. does hold a certain appeal.


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