Friday, June 11, 2010

Where the Boys Are: At Their Tailors!

Thanks to everyone who’s commented so far on Cotillion by Georgette Heyer! I understand we should expect a few more comments over the weekend—bring them on! The more the merrier!

One of the things that struck me about our hero Freddy Standen is his exquisite taste in clothes. He wasn’t the only young man to pick lint off his lapel or gasp at a wrinkled cravat. Many men spent long hours at their tailors then longer hours with their valets getting dressed and undressed and redressed. Prince George was even rumored to have gone to the home of fashion leader Beau Brummel just to watch how he picked his clothes for the day!

Freddy mentions two of the premier tailors of the day: Weston and Stulz. Between the two, they likely dressed most of the nineteenth century gentlemen with any pretense to fashion. Not much is known about Weston, but Stulz was a German tailor who grew to some fame in his native Karlsruhe (which happens to be the hometown of my husband’s family) before moving to London. He amassed a fortune and gave it away to charities. When he retired in 1820, he was granted a German barony and died Baron Stulz.

One of the items Heyer mentions for her gentlemen are many-caped greatcoats. These were outerwear that went over your usual coat when you were going to be out in the elements. They mimicked the coats worn by the mail coach drivers, who had achieved something like celebrity status in the nineteenth century. The picture here shows one with two capes. Heyer mentions Jack wearing one with sixteen capes. I’m guessing that was a calculated exaggeration, because I can’t see how you could possibly fit sixteen layers on this thing and not look like a grizzly bear!

One of the reasons Kitty is counted a credit to Freddy’s family is that she listens to him in matters of fashion. Could you love a man who was more interested in the latest styles than you were?

1 comment:

QNPoohBear said...

I prefer the dashing Corinthians. Dandys aren't my style.