ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Mr. Darcy Would Never Do

Updated on July 15, 2011
Not wearing stays, apparently.
Not wearing stays, apparently. | Source
How many hours did it take to look that au courant?
How many hours did it take to look that au courant? | Source
"You're a superstar, yes, that's what you are..."
"You're a superstar, yes, that's what you are..." | Source

Sharp Dressed Regency Men

I am sure that dear Mr. Darcy would never do this. No, no. Jane Austen would faint if it was even rumored to be true. But a lot of Regency era gentlemen did - and knowing Miss Austen, I cannot help thinking that she would have been aware of this strange little secret of theirs.

I can remain silent no longer; the truth will out. For it seems that men in the 1820s had a harder time than you'd think. trying to keep up with the fashions. They did in the Regency period, too; this was the decade 1811-20, when the Prince Regent ruled Britain in place of his famously mad father, George III - and when Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813. Yes, men had as hard a time in terms of fashion discomfort as women in the Victorian era (which would not technically begin until Victoria became queen in 1837). That was the time when women were struggling, in various decades, with corsets, crinolines, bustles and enormous mutton chop sleeves. The men never had to deal with this sort of thing, did they?

Or - did they? Did you know that in the 1820s, the fashion-conscious dandy of the day wore corsets to help him fit into those trendy nipped-in coats. They did - and these items were not to be called corsets, oh no. You were supposed to call them belts or vests - even though they were whale boned, lace-up uncomfortable corsets. They were already being used by men in the military. This continued into the 1830s; according to Alison Carter in Underwear, the Fashion History (1992), men also used stays for strenuous exercise and when hunting - as a support for the muscles. But in many cases, the stays were simply a fashion statement.

With their corsets - yes, we are going to call it like it is, gentlemen - men in the 1820s wore linen shirts and floppy bow ties, small-waisted coats with big collars and capacious skirts. Trousers were similar to riding trousers, cut close to the leg and tight around the ankle. A top hat, some pointed shoes, curled hair and some fancy sideburns would finish off the picture.

In the same year as the ad above, 1823, in a magazine called The Emmet , a journalist wrote that:

The stays have passed from the ladies to the gentlemen, who bid fair to acquire as great slimness of make as their country-women. [Long ago] man contended with his fellow who should have the tighter waist, or who stand most heroically the discipline of the stays.

My sympathies, 1820s gentlemen. I had no idea that your everyday wear was as excruciating as a mid-Victorian lady's.

Strike a pose!
Strike a pose! | Source

Cassimere Pants

I tried to find an 1820s men's stays ad - oh, how I tried! And if I do find one, I'll edit it in, of course. This 1823 advertisement for the Boston firm Kelly and Hudson's did not include stays -(I imagine these were sold quietly, without a lot of ads, don't you? But there are some quite nice "French and London cloths" to be had, nevertheless - all manner of fancy things. I like the colors - forest green and claret especially - but what in the world was "bareback" or "Oxford mixt"? Bareback was a shade of beige - I've seen it described as "champagne," too. And Oxford grey was a dark grey, so Oxford mixt is probably a sort of tweedy grey (which sounds very nice).

"Cassimere," of course, was cashmere, a soft wool derived from Cashmere goats, mostly associated nowadays with expensive, beautiful pullovers, coats and scarves. The word comes from the north Indian province of Kashmir, home to the goats that give the wool.

I found the second page of the Kelly & Hudson advertisement here - and what a lot of fabulous clothes they had for sale back in 1823! Gloves, "vestings" of all kinds, new and improved suspenders, Russian and Paris belts - enough, in fact, for several more future Hubs...


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Bijja profile image


      10 years ago from India

      Great hub on Mr. Darcy and Cashmere pants!

      Cashmere is derived from Kashmir a city in Indian sub-continent.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)