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During the Regency there were three ways to send a letter. The first was to send it to the recipient who paid for the honor of receiving said letter. The second was by way of a messenger that the sender would pay and the receiver would probably tip. The third way was by using franking privileges.

All peers had franking privileges. This was because they had seats in the House of Lords. Members of the Commons also had them. Even today politicians holding elected office in the UK, Canada, the US, and probably other countries have franking privileges. That means that the government actually pays for the letter to be sent.

Once the letter had been written, sealed, and was ready to be sent, the peer or MP would write his name diagonally across the sealed part of the letter. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find an image of a Regency era franked letter.

Stamps were not used until about 1840.

Regency letter foldingfolded letter

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As most of you know, other than boots, gentlemen wore pumps (and yes, they were called pumps). Pumps were worn in the evening especially at Almack’s, and the balls in London. Although, some men might not care, most gentlemen wore what was expected. Pumps were also worn with trousers. Gentlemen were actually the first sex to where shoes with a higher heel. If only that trend had continued.

Gentlemen's shoes

mens dress pumpsTrousers with strap

During the Georgian era it was fashionable to have precious gems put on the heels of one’s pumps. Unfortunately, that went out of fashion during the Regency. I was unable to find any images of them.

Georgian men's shoes

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A regency gentleman’s typical day wear would be boots. There were several different kinds of boots, but the most popular became the Wellington. Hoby was the most well-known boot maker of the Regency. Boots were always highly shinned and valets had secret recipes for shining boots. Some gentlemen (typically those who aspired to be Dandy’s) had white tops on their boots or gold tassels. Beau Brummell was famous for never going beyond the first field of a hunt for fear the mud would damage the white tops on his boots.

Men's boots

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The Most Eligible Viscount in London revised comp
It’s not available for pre-sale yet.
In bestselling author Ella Quinn’s intriguing new Regency trilogy, a dashing suitor must decide if love and marriage are mutually exclusive . . .
Viscount Gavin Turley is convinced that love matches cause nothing but trouble. Still, after months of courting, he’s fallen for Miss Georgie Featherton. He’s passionate about her, in fact. But words of love are not an indulgence he will allow himself. When he presents Georgie with his marriage proposal, he will lead with his head—not his heart. His qualifications as a husband are excellent, after all. What could go wrong?
No sooner does Gavin kneel on one knee than Georgie’s heart goes aflutter with joy. Finally, the proposal she longed for had arrived. Yet Gavin seemed to be listing his credentials for a business partnership, not a romantic union. Without a declaration of love, Georgie can only reject his offer—unless the ladies of the ton, and Georgie’s grandmama, have anything to do with it. For sometimes it takes a wiser eye to see the love behind a guarded heart—and a clever scheme to bring it out of hiding . . .
Oh, and proof that authors have little say even when they give detailed information about what the H/H would wear.
 
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Pantaloons were extremely popular for wear during the day and for some evening entertainments. They were not considered as formal for evening wear as were breeches.
Pantaloons were made from linen and a knitted material. When the knitted material was used they were cut 2” smaller than the gentleman’s measurements. They covered the ankle and were held down by a strap that went under the foot. They could also be worn with boots or dress pumps.
After they went out of style there is a story about two older ladies bemoaning that they were no longer worn because you could immediately see a man’s interest when he wore pantaloons.
 
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  • buckskin-breeches-and-a-clawhammer-coat

During the Regency there were three types of unmentionables men wore. The oldest—and the only one accept at Almack’s—were breeches. Breeches could be made in a variety of different fabrics, such as silk, wool, leather, and nankeen.  Breeches ended just below the knee and could be worn with either boots or dress pumps. They were essential wear for evening events until around the late 1840’s. Only gentlemen dressed in breeches were allowed in Almack’s. Buckskin breeches were de rigueur for riding, around Town, and in the country.

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As we’ve seen before, some words have been around for hundreds of years, but their meanings have evolved over time. ‘Check’ used as a verb is one of those words. Up until the around 1911 in the US, ‘check’ meant to stop someone from doing something, or to stop yourself from doing something, or to slow your horses. It applied to dogs losing a scent. To lose one’s wages, in short, there were many meanings.

However, around the time of WWI in the US ‘check’ began to be used to look in on something or to arrive and depart from a place such as checking into a hotel.

Therefore, during the Regency, ‘check’ was not used to look in one someone or something or to ensure something.

Gig 2

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Banyan

During the Regency, underclothing was the term for underwear. Unmentionables were actually breeches or trousers, not underclothing. The meaning changed to mean underclothing during the Victorian era. Interestingly, a man’s shirt was also considered to be underwear. Ergo, if a man is running around wearing only his shirt, he’s running around in this underclothing. This was probably the reason banyans were so popular. One man even had his portrait wearing one. For their nether parts, gentlemen either wore their shirt tails tucked around their groin or drawers.

men's drawers

 

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Every once and a while I like to post something I’ve found that goes beyond the Regency. We often bemoan historical inaccuracies. And we all know that that they aren’t limited to the Regency era. Here is a sampling of movies that got things wrong. If you saw the movie, did you recognize the inaccuracy?
 
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Drawers

There is an on-going (and unresolved) debate about whether ladies wore drawers. Advertisements have been found for drawers. I tend to think ladies, especially young ladies, did not wear them. It’s more than possible that women in the demi-mode did wear them. They were considered scandalous because they had legs and only men were supposed to wear clothing items with legs. They were also notorious for falling down. At least one lady was embarrassed when she was at an evening entertainment and they did just that. But whether you believe they did or not, it’s helpful to know just what Regency era drawers looked like.

Drawers were two pieces of cloth made into legs and held together by a string at the waist, very much like chaps. There was no slit.

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