Monday, January 25, 2010

Regency & Romantic Era Gentlemen

I finally finished the Fraizer International History Museum order... the 1829 Gentleman's outfit. Done & shipped, but not before checking the size on my handsome husband & snapping some pictures. He is, ironically, exactly the same size as the actor the clothes were made for... if a bit shorter (the pants are a little long & so is the coat & waistcoat... as they should be). The outfit is a combination of several fashion plates and historic references from 1825 to 1830.

Seeing my husband transform before my eyes from a slightly disheveled 'day off' modern American to a dapper gentleman of the Romantic Era took my breath away. I had one of those girly moments where I wanted to clap my hands, bounce up & down and giggle. That doesn't happen very often, but BOY do the clothes make the man!

We decided his hair was perfect as it was, and we didn't need the top hat at all.

He is wearing:
Linen shirt with pleated front (more tucks than pleats), hand-sewn covered buttons.
Hand finished black silk stock lined with linen that buckles in back (John says this was comfortable after about 5 minutes).
Red/violet 'wine' colored silk waistcoat with a brown linen back, lined with white linen.
Cream cotton narrow fall-front pants. (shared center button, plan ahead for restroom runs).
Wool tailcoat with brown cotton velvet collar. This is the cut-edge nightmare that I've been complaining about on Facebook for the past couple weeks. Hand sewn buttonholes, hand-bound edges, hand sewn self-fabric covered wood blank buttons. Lined with brown linen in back & white linen at the sleeves (so it doesn't shed wool bits all over the shirt).
Not shown is the black silk cravat that I sent along to complete the look. I couldn't stand that they ordered this lovely outfit & were missing that crucial element... so to complete my work of art I tossed it in!
No shoes...

The tailcoat is 1/2 lined as per the original garment, which is quite annoying as it increases the amount of hand sewing, only saving about 1 yd of fabric. However, it makes creating the small fold at the back of the coat much easier than in a fully lined garment... and when it's finished, it looks just fine. The hand-sewn binding on the cut edges should not have been necessary, but the wool started to fray almost immediately, so I blanket-stitched the edges with black thread. Not a happy thing time-wise, but it made the fabric much more durable. The tails were left raw as they don't take a lot of wear & tare.

The funny thing about photographing my husband is that he always looks angry (check out the glare in the picture below). In real life he's quite pleasant. My father said he looked like a disreputable card sharp on a riverboat, and I though he just needed a belly gun... maybe a pocket watch on a chain, and one of my silk or brocade wallets.

The magic of Romantic Era clothes, is that they look fantastic on real human beings. The fashion plates & paintings are a bit ridiculous, but the reality is truly superb.

I told John that now I have to make an 1830 outfit for him. He agreed. Truly worth a few minutes of breathless sighs & girlish titters from a giddy wife... perhaps I need to make the pink creation on the left.

As good as men look in Romantic Era clothing, I will always be a fan of Regency & Federal styles. Perhaps the Romantic era refined the Regency modes, but the simplicity of cut, the clean beautiful lines that set off a man's form, the stubborn determination to hold on to ruffles... I do love clean white ruffles on a gentleman. It was near perfection in menswear.

Perhaps not the best picture of these clothes as the dummy is too big for the waistcoat... but you get the idea. All of the lines work together to form this perfect whole that says 'gentleman'. (And yes, the pants are pinned on the dummy, not actually ON the dummy).

As a side note, I sold this outfit today. Funny thing: these were the only pair of drop-front pants in stock (I've carried these things for a few years now... small sizes rarely sell), one of 2 tailcoats & 1 of 2 waistcoats in this size. The other choices were not quite as nifty as this combination. Let's hope it fits!

1 comment:

Isis said...

He looks very dashing indeed!