Starch makes the gentleman, etiquette the lady–Beau Brummell.

When one writes in the Regency era one must pay attention to fashion. In fact, the fashions of the Regency are one of the things I love about the time period. Usually, though, when I think of fashion, I think of the beautiful empire gowns for my ladies. When my editor’s revisions for my next Warner book, Desire in His Eyes (aka Blake’s story), included a comment, “describe how he looks” I realized I had to think about my Regency hero’s clothes. The question – would the breeches of his formal wear be white or black?

I have an aversion to thinking of my hunky heroes in white or buff-colored breeches and white stockings. I prefer them in boots up to the knee and form-fitting pantaloons, but no Regency gentleman would wear boots to a formal affair. Goodness, he’d be turned away from Almack’s in an eyeblink.

So I went on the web, to see what I could find. I used Yahoo and put in “Mr. Darcy Pride & Prejudice” and selected “Images”. As I hoped I got a lot of Colin Firth and Matthew MacFadyen, but none showing their legs. Not in formal attire anyway.

But I did find these, from a site called www.paperdollparade.com that is no longer in existence.

Which do you like better?

The boots?

Or the breeches?

Then I found these really charming illustrations from the 1895 C. E. Brock editon of Pride and Prejudice. Notice Mr. Collins is wearing black breeches and stocking. We know he isn’t stylish.

But the issue is the same. Boots?

Or Breeches?

Well, I described Blake, my hero in Desire in His Eyes, wearing buff breeches and white stockings.

But I got him back into boots as soon as I could.

Mariella, the heroine, got him out of them, though.

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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