A Gentleman Ties his Cravat

“And his cravat, that which was meant to be an elegant arrangement of stiff white muslin with a discreet knot at the base of his throat, looked more like a wadded bandage tied in the dark by someone wearing woollen mittens”  (May 1812). 

As those who have been following these blogs may have worked out, I prefer to write from experience, to have tried out a thing before I start writing about it.  Thus, to get the true sense of the guns from the period, I have shot a 14-bore which was used at Waterloo; I have loaded the thing, smelled the powder, felt the kick against my shoulder, smelled the explosion, had my fingers stained with the powder…that sort of thing.  Continue reading

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What a Gentleman wears…

I keep getting told that this is a subject of endless fascination–which if I’m honest, always leaves me scratching my head.  But there you go.

The early 19th century sees English tailoring dominating male fashion for the first time.  Previously, it had always been Paris which had been the dominant capital of fashion.  But the combined forces of the ongoing war against the French and Napoleon (which would have made the idea of all things French repugnant to many) and Beau Brummell allowed the English tailors to show what they could do.  And what they could do what draw on Britain’s extra-ordinarily wide access to different weights and weaves of wool, and cut that wool so that it would mould to the figure as only a natural fabric, when well-cut, can do.  Continue reading