Breeches, Cravats, and Greatcoats
First of all, I want to thank Elin for having me on her blog. It’s so great to be here! I want to talk to you all about the sexy attire that the men wore during the Regency period that I used in my book Groom Of Convenience book one of The Scandalous Whispers of the Remmington Realm from Dreamspinner Press.
When I first started to do the research for GoC, I had to first distinguish between a few things. I essentially had four different genders:
So I had to figure out the differences in attire when it came to what they would all wear. Would the Male Women all be walking around in dresses? Would the female men be walking around in breeches, waistcoats and greatcoats?
How the hell would that work?
Well I realized that it was all a matter of gender versus sexuality.
“Sex refers to a person’s biological status and is typically categorized as male, female, or intersex (i.e., atypical combinations of features that usually distinguish male from female). There are a number of indicators of biological sex, including sex chromosomes, gonads, internal reproductive organs, and external genitalia.
Gender refers to the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person’s biological sex. Behavior that is compatible with cultural expectations is referred to as gender-normative; behaviors that are viewed as incompatible with these expectations constitute gender non-conformity.
Gender identity refers to “one’s sense of oneself as male, female, or transgender” (American Psychological Association, 2006). When one’s gender identity and biological sex are not congruent, the individual may identify as transsexual or as another transgender category (cf. Gainor, 2000).
Gender expression refers to the “…way in which a person acts to communicate gender within a given culture; for example, in terms of clothing, communication patterns and interests. A person’s gender expression may or may not be consistent with socially prescribed gender roles, and may or may not reflect his or her gender identity” (American Psychological Association, 2008, p. 28).”
So using this definition from the American Psychological Association I used it to determine how each individual character would dress, act, and be referred to. So some male women would dress in the male attire, and be called by their male titles, and some would dress in the female dress and be referred to by their female titles.
Confused yet? LOL.
But the really fun part came in with dressing each character.
Heathcliff is a very masculine, alpha, male man.
He struts around Angland wearing a cravat, button down dress shirt, waistcoat, tight breeches or trousers, a pair of Hessian boots, carrying a cane in honor of his friend Orley Garrick who has to use one, wearing a greatcoat when the weather calls for it. His black hair is always pulled back in a queue at the nape of his neck, even though it puts the scar on his face in broad display and scares the delicate ladies, but Heathcliff Eddington, III, the Duke of Pompinshire, cares not one whit for the delicate constitution of these simpering misses, he wants a lady made of tougher stock than that.
There were skirted coats or waistcoats with tails on them as we know them. They had high collars. Breeches and trousers were also worn by gentlemen, pantaloons were usually worn by dandies to show off their… wares.
“Shirts and drawers were considered “undergarments” and the drawers were cut like breeches and made of linen or cotton. They fasten with a combination of drawstrings and buttons. Shirts were linen or cotton and blousy, with buttons at the neck and wrists. The collars are high and worn turned up to cover the neck, and often the jaw-line as well.
Coats were single or double-breasted, although double-breasted coats predominate by about four or five to one. They descend in front only to the natural waistline (i.e., about to the navel). They are uniformly cut so that the tails descend directly from the back panels; that is, there is no waist seam at the back, unlike modern tailcoats. Collars and lapels can be of moderate width or very wide. Especially early in the Regency, they are often arranged to stand up around the face and neck, but tend to lie flatter as time goes on. Sleeves are long, and the cuffs cover the base of the hand nearly as far as the thumb-joint. Earlier coats have scooped waistlines, in which the tails curve downward from a horizontal or slightly curved front edge.
Waistcoats are sleeveless but have collars and, usually, lapels. Early-Regency examples are likely to have standing collars, but later the collars are turned down. The body descends just below the natural waist, so that it projects an inch or two below the front of the coat; and, like the coat, it has a straight waistline (unlike the points on most modern vests). It should cover the waistband of the trousers or breeches. There may be lacing or an attached belt at the center back to ensure a close fit. Waistcoats may be single or double-breasted; the numbers of each style seem to be about equal. Any combination of single or double-breasted coat and waistcoat may be worn. Since double-breasted coats greatly outnumber single-breasted ones, the combination of either a single-breasted or double-breasted waistcoat with a double-breasted coat is most common, but both single and double-breasted waistcoats can also be worn with single-breasted coats. Earlier waistcoats are often striped, vertically or horizontally, or patterned, but grow plainer with time. Fabrics can be silks, wools, or linens. The buttons can match the fabric, particularly if it is fancy, or be of smooth metal.
Breeches are prescribed for evening wear. They are close-fitting, with much less fullness in the seat than earlier eighteenth-century examples (although, especially early, the crotch can be just as tight), and with higher waistlines, which should come to the natural waist or just above it. The waistband and top of the fall should be hidden by the waistcoat. The back of the waistband may have laces for a precise fit. The legs descend to just below the knees and are buttoned. There may be supplemental ribbon ties or straps with knee-buckles. The front is closed with a flap called a fall, rather than a fly as in modern trousers, which is not fashionable at this time. Falls are commonly narrow (as opposed to the broad-fall fronts of the late eighteenth century), with the fall covering about half the breeches’ front width. The fall may be set quite high, so that only the bottom corners of the opening appear below the waistcoat. Falls get narrower over time. Trousers initially resemble breeches, being tight through the thighs and knees, and continuing into close-fitting lower legs, almost as if the idea were to make breeches with attached stockings. Stirrup-straps are common on narrow trousers meant to be worn inside boots. Later in the Regency, trousers get wider, and can be quite full by the end of the period. Trousers worn with shoes commonly fall only to the ankles, rather than resting on the shoe-tops as modern examples do. Cuffs are not worn.
The cravat, a long strip of white linen, frequently starched, is the almost universal neckwear for Regency gentlemen. It is wound around the neck over the shirt collar (which should project above it) and tied in front. The cravat typically covers the entire neck up to the jaw-line. Beau Brummel is supposed to have ruined, on average, more than half a dozen neck-cloths a day before managing to arrange one to his satisfaction, but he was a famously fastidious dresser.”
The above is some of the research that I used from the website The Commonwealth Vintage Dancers while writing Groom Of Convenience along with a number of different sites. I think the pictures that I’ve sent will also give you a great sense of what the men looked like. While Lucien dressed just like Heathcliff much of the time, the only time he didn’t was when they got married and tradition dictated he wear a gown and what a gown it was, he was gorgeous and completely took Heathcliff’s breath away, though Heath couldn’t wait to take to rip it off of Lucien’s body as soon as they were alone, for more than one reason.
What did it look like?
Well, I guess you’ll just have to buy Groom Of Convenience to find out.
Thanks for having me, Elin! It was great to be here.
Thanks for visiting Vicktor and thanks for the terrific blog post. Readers, you can click the link for a chance to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $10 Gift Card
In an alternate universe, in the country of Angland, 1814, the gentry live lives of culture and class. It is a time of courtships, marriages of convenience, and titles, where scandal can ruin an entire family. Gender lines are blurred, and making a good match is of utmost importance. Children are born to men and women, which has led to the acceptance of same-sex marriages.
Lady Lucien Timothy Hawthorne is shocked and angry when he is betrothed against his will to Lord Heathcliff Eddington, III, the Duke of Pompinshire. While drowning his frustration at a popular gentleman’s club, he meets “Robert,” a gorgeous older man whom he sleeps with as “Timmy,” regardless of the potential damage to his reputation.
After their liaison, Lucien corresponds with Robert via letters left at Remmington, and they decide to elope. Before they can get away, Lucien meets his betrothed, Heathcliff, who he is surprised to discover is also his beloved, Robert. Both men desire a marriage of the heart, but they find out that sometimes a marriage of convenience can turn into love under the right circumstances. But Lucien has a secret, and Tlondon isn’t as safe as they once thought.
Categories: Alternative Universe, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Romance, *Trans
Lucien inhaled deeply and then began to softly sing “Ae Fond Kiss,” a popular Tscottish ballad written twenty years prior, sliding his eyelids closed, afraid of any negative reaction from his betrothed. His mother used to sing it to him every night before leaving for a ball or party she was obligated to attend. Rosemary would sing the song and then kiss the top of his head. Annabelle would be waiting at the door, and when Rosemary finished, thinking that Lucien was asleep, she would meet Annabelle at the door, and the two of them would share a sweet kiss and then leave. Lucien loved those late-night lullabies by his mother, cherished them, and when he went to bed, even at his advanced age, he would sing the song to himself until he would fall asleep.
Finishing the last note of the song, Lucien opened his eyes and looked at Heathcliff, expecting to find him asleep, only to find him looking at him in wonder. “What?” he asked. “You have a beautiful voice, Lucien,” Heathcliff told him. Lucien blushed and ducked his head. “Thank you,” he whispered. Heathcliff’s fingers under his chin brought his face back up, and he found himself looking into Heathcliff’s eyes. “Don’t do that. Don’t hide from me. Never hide from me,” Heathcliff told him. “You have a beautiful voice. One that has obviously been handcrafted by the very touch of God. The beauty of your voice is rivaled only by the beauty of your face, which does not compare to the beauty of your spirit.”
Vicktor “Vic” Alexander wrote his first story at the age of ten and hasn’t stopped writing since. He loves reading about anything and everything and is a proud member of the little known U.N. group (Undercover Nerds) because while he lives, eats, breathes, and sleeps sports, he also breathes history and science fiction and grew up a Trekkie. But don’t ask him about Dungeons & Dragons, because he has no idea how to play that game. When it comes to writing he loves everything from paranormal to contemporary to fantasy to historical and is known not only for being the Epilogue King but also for writing stories that cross lines and boundaries that he doesn’t know are there. Vic is a proud father of two daughters one of whom watches over him from Heaven with his deceased partner Christopher. Vic is a proud trans* and gay man, and when he is not writing, he is hanging out with his friends, or being distracted by videos of John Barrowman, Scott Hoying, and Shemar Moore. Vicktor has published numerous bestselling novels and has a WIP list that makes him exhausted just thinking about. He knows that he will be still be writing about hot men falling in love with each other, long after he is living in an assisted living facility, flirting with the hot, male nurses.