Monday, March 24, 2014

A Man In Boots, 1830 England

David Gandy says, "Men don't realize how much women look at shoes." Yep, it's true for me, but as a historical writer, I'm in to boots. You know, those leather Hessian's that men wore during the old days? Topped off at the knee? Tight breeches tucked inside?

So let's talk boots and shoes, Regency style. This is from The Whole Art of Dress, 1830.

"The Hessian is a boot only worn with tight pantaloons, a fashion entirely copied from the military, and is very common in Germany and France, where it generally forms a part of the equipment in the cavalry. Of late years, however, this kind of boot has been introduced among our own military horse. The fashions, with respect to the boot have been very capricious, leaving it neglected for a long period, and then reviving it again. Latterly it has become very popular in riding, for which it is excellently qualified.

In undress it is impossible to dress a fine leg, more especially of a short person, to greater advantage than in a Hessian; and it must be allowed, where other requisites correspond, it adds a great deal of dignity and command to the person, setting off the figure to considerable advantage.

Hessians are a very expensive wear, and, like almost all other manufacturers in the present day, may be superbly worked and finished, being bent and creased in the most exquisite manner, without ever losing shape. That kind of shape most admired, when pulled on the leg, should be high enough to let the tassel touch the knee-pan, and then be lowered to the calf, when the dents will form fuller and much handsomer than when contracted and held in, which latter way causes the boot to sit stiffly, and want the elastic spring in the leather that the method I point out possesses."

 Ah, a man in boots. And here is David. In boots. Hard to believe even he can look better in boots. Photo: Massimo Dutti.

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