Men’s Fashions for Georgia-era Historical Romance Fans
I love the early Georgian-set novels of Lucinda Brandt, Jo Beverly, and others. However, I confess that I find the men’s fashions off-putting. What?! A hero in red high heels with lacy cuffs spilling out of his embroidered coats?!
By the time of the Regency, men’s fashions had become more subdued, at least as far as colors and fabrics were concerned. Men still drew attention with their tight-fitting pantaloons and the tailoring of their coats. And of course, quality (signaling wealth and status) is always recognizable.
A Parade of Peacocks
Look at the parade of peacocks in this depiction of the 1764 investiture of the Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph II. Though I think I spotted two women in this picture, most of the onlookers are male.
Compare those gaudy outfits to the suit worn by the Regency arbiter of male fashion, Beau Brummell:
It makes sense to me that the political revolutions were the great drivers of change in men’s fashions, as mentioned in the Wikimedia article on the subject.
But in England, another reversal in men’s fashion had taken place a century earlier.
The Roundheads and the Royalists
In 1660, Charles II returned to the throne of England, after a decade of rule by the puritanical Oliver Cromwell and his followers. Charles brought with him the flamboyant dress and decadent conduct of the French court.
Men’s dress went from dark and dour to incredibly rich attire that distinguished the noble and wealthy from the everyone else.
About those High Heels
The fashion of high heels for men came to the European courts from Persia. Heeled shoes were worn by Persian cavalry. With the heel wedged into the stirrup, a rider could rise and wield his sword more effectively.
Louis XIV popularized red heels for men. In the pictures I’ve been able to find, the heels were chunky, rather like the heels on some cowboy boots. If you’ve seen other pictures, please share the link in the comments.
Here’s more on men’s heels in this BBC News article.
And here’s another one from How Stuff Works.
Which men’s fashion choices do you like better?
Images: Wikimedia Commons