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Showing posts from August, 2019

Mr. Darcy and That Wet Shirt

I can’t do a post on Regency male fashion such as the one I published earlier this week without mentioning Mr. Darcy and his wet shirt incident. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve seen Episode 4 of the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries. Viewers gasped with delight when Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy emerged from the lake on his Pemberley estate with his wet shirt clinging to his chest. That scene was described as "one of the most unforgettable moments in British TV history" in The Guardian and it fanned the flames of a Jane Austen frenzy that continues to this day. Here's a fun fact: As mentioned in The Guardian article linked to above, screenwriter Andrew Davies originally wanted Firth to jump in the lake stark naked, which would have been more historically accurate. However, Firth insisted on keeping his clothes on - hence the wet shirt scene. The only problem with this famous scene is that Jane Austen never wrote it. And if you think you can remember reading th…

Best-Dressed Imperialist, 18th Century Edition

“To dress up as a man means wearing a suit,” declares fashion consultant Tim Gunn in his Fashion Bible.
That was true seven years ago when Gunn’s book was published in 2012 and it was also true centuries ago when Charles II of England decided that the men who came to his royal court had to follow a particular dress code.
The outfit that the king decreed acceptable in 1666 was the precursor to today’s three-piece suit. He said that a man's apparel had to include a long coat (the ancestor of today's suit jacket) with a waistcoat (today it's called a vest), a cravat (necktie), and of course, knee breeches (pants).
That sounds like a no-brainer these days, but earlier in the 17th century before Charles' reign, male fashion included pleated ruffs worn like a ring around the neck and doublets that today look like a woman's blouse. 

But the style of today's suits really started to take shape during the Regency, thanks to the influence of George Bryan Brummell, better know…