The Regency era, that brief period from 1811 to 1820, developed fashions—for both men and women—distinctly different from what came before or after. I might be biased because I set my books during the Regency, but I think the men’s clothing during that time is some of the most masculine and charming in fashion history.
In my recent novel Scandalous, the hero, Martin Bouchard, is a clothes horse. Martin was born a slave, but now that he’s a free, wealthy privateer, he enjoys the finest clothing money can buy. Luckily for Martin, men’s clothing during the Regency era is particularly flattering to a man with his fine physique. It may seem peculiar to have a privateer who is also a fashionista, but just like today, there were men and women in the early nineteenth century who were mad about clothing.
The Regency era was caught between the grandiose and flamboyant clothing of the Georgian era—when men wore high heels, makeup, and coats with skirts—and the tightly laced respectability of the Victorian era—when suits were concealing and the only color choices were black, brown, and gray.
Why am I so wild about the clothing during this period?
First, the boots: top boots, Hessian boots, and everything in between. Yes, it was an excellent age for boots, which made their way from the stable to the drawing room. It wasn’t unusual for younger men to wear them as part of their everyday clothing.
And then there were the coats. Specifically, the clawhammer or cutaway coats that so resemble modern tailcoats. They replaced the skirted frock coats of the Georgian era and exposed more of a man’s torso and hips to public view. This style most certainly looked best on trim figures and hid fewer imperfections than the looser sack coats that would come later.
My beloved breeches began to give way to pantaloons—pants that were cut on the bias, so they clung more closely to the male form—and by the end of the Regency, men usually only wore breeches for riding or the occasional social event, such as Almack’s. There are stories of men (the Duke of Wellington, for one) being turned away from the famous assembly room because they weren’t wearing breeches.
At the beginning of the Regency, men could still exhibit individuality with their choice of colors and fabrics for coats and waistcoats. But evening coats in any color but black became increasingly rare as the decade wore on.
Much of this change in fashion was due to the influence of Beau Brummell, a man whose name is synonymous with not only Regency-era clothing but also a sharp, sophisticated fashion sense. Brummel’s preference for simplicity and clean, elegant lines was the predecessor of the black-and-white formalwear that men wear today.
I could go on about men’s clothing all day, but what do you think? Do you lament the fact that men no longer wear breeches and fitted cutaway coats?
“Have you no decency?”
Straight-laced missionary Sarah Fisher has never met a man like Captain Martin Bouchard. He is the most beautiful person—male or female—she’s ever seen. Overwhelmingly masculine, elegantly attired despite months at sea, he is in complete command of everyone and everything around him—everyone, that is, except Sarah. But that’s about to change, because Sarah has bought Bouchard’s mercy with the only thing she has to sell: her body.
“None at all …”
Despite her outrageous offer, Martin has no doubt Sarah is a virgin, and a most delectable one at that. But instead of bedding her, he finds himself staring down the muzzle of his own pistol. Clearly, the longer she stays on his ship, the greater the chances that she’ll end up its captain! Most infuriating of all, she looks past his perfect exterior to the wounded man inside. Can Martin outrun his scandalous past in time to have a future with the first woman to find and capture his heart?
About the Author
Minerva Spencer was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She has lived in Canada, the United States, Europe, Africa, and Mexico. After receiving her master’s degree in Latin American history from the University of Houston, she taught American history for five years before going to law school. She was a prosecutor and labor lawyer before purchasing a bed-and-breakfast in Taos, New Mexico, where she lives with her husband and dozens of rescue animals. Readers can find her at MinervaSpencer.com and on the social platforms below.