Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Aloha to Ella Quinn and THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA MARSH

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh

On this day in 1665, the Oxford Gazette was first published as an official journal of the British Government - the Royal Court moved to Oxford while the plague ravaged London.  When the court returned to London, the journal was renamed the London Gazette. The London Gazette guided the peerage during the Regency Era in matters of politics ... but the waging tongues of The Ton sought the on dits of Regency fashion from other sources.  Ella Quinn joins me today to address just that .. what a Regency Gentleman Wore ... to celebrate the release of THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA MARSH

What a Regency Gentleman Wore

As a Regency author the topic of what a gentleman would wear is high on my list of need to know information, and it’s one of the reasons I love the Regency era so much. I morn the, relatively new, failure of men to dress for the occasion. Sometimes when my husband and I go out, it looks as if we’re going to two different places. No, no, no, when it came to dressing, there was no ‘guy culture’ during the Regency. Some men might prefer to be able to put their jackets on themselves, while others wore them so molded to their shoulders, they required help. Yet, gentlemen could be as persnickety when it came to their clothing, and who was to care for it as the ladies. Beau Brummell is given credit for the clean lines and darker colors of men’s dress during the era. 

File:BrummellDighton1805.jpg
Caricature of Beau Brummell
by Robert Dighton, 1805
Public Domain (link)

Shirts were mainly white muslin. You will see they did not button all the way down, and are quite long. That is because many men didn’t wear drawers to protect the fabric, they tucked their shirts under them.  Waistcoats, worn over the shirt, ran from plain to elaborate.

The cravat, which came next was the piece de reistance of a gentleman’s ensemble. It was a foot wide, long piece of muslin and starched ironed. Valets were never supposed to tie the cravat. It was considered a gentleman’s responsibility to get the thing exactly right. They had names such as Trone d’Amour, Mathematical, Hunting, Ballroom and many others. Some men made up their own style. Brummell was known to go through up to a dozen neck clothes when tying his cravat. Gentlemen generally changed cravats three times a day.   
Here are the directions for the Mathematical.

The Mathematical Tie (or Triangular Tie), is far less severe than the former. There are three creases in it. One  coming down from under each ear, till it meets the kust or bow of the neckcloth, and a third in an horizontal direction, stretching from one of the side indentures to the other. The height, that is how far, or near the chin is left to the wearers pleasure. This tie does not occassion many accidents.The colour best suited to it, is called couleur de la cuisse d'une nymphe emue.'

File:Neckclothitania-1818.gif
Engraving from Neckclothitania by George Cruikshank
Published in 1818
Public Domain (link)

Regency jackets were cutaway style with tales. Many gentlemen had them so fitted that they required help to don them.

Moving lower, next came breeches, pantaloons, and trousers. Though trousers did not become generally popular until after 1816.    In the country and when riding men wore buckskin breeches. They were normally made of deerskin, form fitting, and said to be extremely comfortable.

File:PrideandPrejudiceCH3detail.jpg
C. E. Brock illustration for
Pride and Prejudice, 1895
Public Domain (link)

For regular daytime wear, gentlemen wore either breeches or pantaloons, trousers became popular after 1816. Generally pantaloons were made of a knit and cut 2 inches smaller than the mans measurements.

For the evening, although pantaloons were gaining in popularity, breeches were still required at Almacks. None other than the Duke of Wellington was turned away for wearing pantaloons.

Finally we get to footwear. Boots were worn during the day but never in the evening. For balls and all other evening entertainments, even going to ones club, pumps were required. 

File:The First Quadrille at Almack's.jpg
The First Quadrille at Almack's
Public Domain (link)

In my Regency novel, The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh, Anna is particularly fond of the way our hero dresses.  
That evening she met the rest of the guests in the dining room. Rutherford started to approach more than once, but Anna stayed with a group of ladies, chatting as if she hadn’t noticed him. When it was finally time for dinner, a Mr. Matthews escorted her in. Thankfully, they were seated several places away from Rutherford on the same side of the table, so she’d not have to see him.

The best thing she could do was keep her mind busy with the problems at home and on her smuggling gang. That would keep her occupied.

After dinner, she excused herself early and went to her room. Sitting in the window seat, she tried to shake off her disappointment over Sebastian. She never really thought of him by any other name, though she called him Rutherford now. Tonight he had been perfectly dressed as always. His black jacket fit snuggly setting off his magnificent shoulders, with not a wrinkle to be seen. His shirt points were high enough for fashion but not so high he couldn’t turn his head. And his cravat. Anna wanted to sigh. No one but Brummell could tie a cravat like Sebastian.

How do you like your man dressed?


Ella Quinn lived all over the United States, the Pacific, Canada, England and Europe before finally discovering the Caribbean. She lives in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands with her wonderful husband, three bossy cats and a loveable great dane. Ella loves when friends connect with her. 

Website: ellaquinnauthor.com

Facebook: facebook.com/EllaQuinnAuthor 
Twitter: twitter.com/ellaquinnauthor 
Blog: ellaquinnauthor.wordpress.com



Mahalo, Ella, for this excellent tutorial on how Colin Firth dressed to film PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!  I am giving away an ecopy of THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA MARSH:

Since she was a young girl, Anna Marsh has dreamed of Sebastian, Baron Rutherford asking for her hand in marriage. But that was in another life when her brother Harry was alive, before she vowed to secretly continue the work he valiantly died for. Now as Sebastian finally courts Anna, she must thwart his advances. Were he to discover her secret, he would never deem her a suitable wife...

Sebastian has always known Anna would become his wife someday. He expects few obstacles, but when she dissuades him at every turn he soon realizes there is much more to this intriguing woman. Somehow he must prove to her that they are meant to be together. But first he must unravel the seductive mystery that is Miss Anna Marsh…


To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about your favorite component of a Regency Gentleman's dress - the cravat?  breeches?  boots?

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 9, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 10.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City




59 comments:

  1. It's got to be the tight breeches.

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  2. I like the waistcoat, and the boots worn with buckskin breeches.

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    1. A good waistcoat was so important back then when the jacket had become so plain. Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Yep the tight breeches with high boots - but of course the body to go with it lol.

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  4. I'm always fascinated by the cravats & hats, but a great coat can make a gent look very sharp indeed.

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    1. I love a well tied cravat, and a jacket fitted across the shoulders.

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  5. Oh those snug fitting breeches!

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  6. The light colored pants are not my cup of tea... But the boots are nice & would be even better with jeans or a dark blue.

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  7. LOL. You might like dark breeches. Unfortunately Kim couldn't get my pictures up. Light breeches or pantaloons were only for day wear.

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  8. So glad cravats went out of style - with directions like that my husband would never get dressed in time.
    Happy Release Day.

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  9. LOL, Daryl. He would have learned, and think how much fun it would have been to take it off.

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  10. I'm copying this post and putting it in my research file. Congratulations, Ella.

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  11. Thank you for all your support, Andrea!! I really appreciate it.

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  12. Love the bit on cravats - always interesting how they got them to look like that. Congrats on release!

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    1. Me too, Gina. It doesn't surprise me at all that they could go through to many of them getting it right.

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  13. The cravats would have me tangled up in a knot, literally. I thought I'd make a better man than woman during this era, but perhaps not. Maybe I could be a pirate....

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    1. LOL, Liza, they wore them as well. Really, you'd be fine.

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  14. I prefer them undressed! Sorry I couldn't resist *grins*
    I like the jackets

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  15. I've always wondered how the gentlemen managed to even move, let alone hunt, dance, or ride a horse in those tight breeches (or pantaloons) and form-fitting jackets. My hubby acts like he's incapacitated wearing a tie for a few hours.

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    1. They'd wear leather breeches for hunting. Pantaloons were made of a knit, so they moved with one. Tell your hubby, he's a wimp. Actually, I don't think they were that tight.

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  16. Fascinating post, Ella. Happy Release Day on The Secret Life of Anna Marsh.

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  17. i think the breeches are my favorite part of the dressing back then ....would love to see some modern men wearing them now

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  18. I'd just like to see modern men dressing better, Jodi! Thanks for visiting!!

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  19. Ella, how fascinating! Love all the research. I think the whole cravat thing is very interesting! Love a man who dresses up and down! While suits are fun, sometimes there's nothing like a pair of Levi's!

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    1. Hi Lana, thank you. I think I could like breeches as well as Levi's.

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  20. I've always been fascinated by how complicated cravats could be, but I'll never understand how men could wear collar points so high they couldn't turn their heads. LOL

    Marcy Shuler
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. LOL, Marcy. I know, fortunately it was the extreme of fashion! Though one character in The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh wears them. Thank you so much for stopping by!!

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  21. Ella, thanks for all the research! It is amazing that men wore different cravats. I can't imagine how they did it. There had to be some cursing going on. Lol!

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    1. My pleasure, Cathy. I love research. They were very interested in fashion back then. Though I'm very sure more then some cursing went on! Thank you so much for visiting.

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    1. LOL. All of you are stuck on breeches. What about pantaloons? Thanks for commenting.

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  23. The boots. Love a sexy guy in boots. (Which might have something to do with why I'm so happy in Texas!)

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  24. I do like the tight breeches and boots. Those are sexy and nice for riding. I'm not sure about the tight jackets and such, maybe they are made to emphasize the arms and chest.

    Melissa
    daringzoey at yahoo.com

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    1. They were, Melissa. Men who didn't have the right physic, used padding, even padding their calves if they had skinny legs.

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  25. I think I would love to see a few men in breeches. It would make a change from sagging pants.

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    1. Don't get me on that topic. I detest sagging pants.

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  26. I would say the boots because I appreciate great boots.

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  27. For a young man with nice legs and a trim waist, I like the whole effect. However, the buckskin breeches and tall boots are the best part.

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    1. They are nice, Betty. But what about pantaloons and tall boots?

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  28. I would love to see a man in tan breeches and black hessian boots, but only if he has the figure for it. Yummy!!!

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  29. Breeches and boots... kind like formfitting jeans and boots!!

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  30. How to choose! Probably the tight fitting breeches and boots for me - as long as they had the body for it.

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  31. The pantaloons! Oooh La La! Imagine how uncomfortable the men were (even though they were of knit material) because they wore them smaller than their regular size. But...imagine how they looked on the men! Thanks for the post and for this chance. jdh2690@gmail.com

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  32. I love a well-built man in breeches!

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  33. I'd also have to say the breeches :) Thanks for sharing!

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