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Ten Must-Have of the Fashionable Regency Gentleman


Collette Cameron

  All images are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons     Resources:

All images are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons 



Today’s metrosexual’s (dandies, beaus, or gallants in the 1800s) are no more meticulous about their grooming and appearance than the gentlemen of the Regency era, with one major exception: bathing.

Who hasn’t heard of Beau Brummel or Lord Byron, two men wholly devoted to presenting a flawless appearance?


 Though the Corinthians, peers, and top sawyers of the period might dote excessively on their carefully contrived messy hairstyle, say the unruly Brutus for instance, and a clean-shaven face was the norm (except for long sideburns) washing one’s hair and bathing on a regular basis wasn’t the typical for many.


 Heck why bathe when you could douse yourself in cologne?

 I’m wrinkling my nose at the thought. Shudder.  

The heroes in my books aren’t quite that obsessed with their appearance and they bathe regularly. I insist upon it! I’ll not have them stinking up the pages of my books!

But I digress.

The well put together Regency gent’s attire generally included ten must-haves:  

Beaver hat –  What we call a top-hat today. Made from felted beaver fir, the hat was tall with a flat top and narrow, turn-up brim. (Poor beavers. The beaver populations in the Pacific Northwest were nearly decimated because of this fashion.)


Cutaway or tailcoat - A fitted coat, either double or single-breasted, often made of wool, high in back of the neck with M-shaped tails. Made of many colors, dark color was preferred for evening attire.  (Kind of a pain to flipping them out of the way each time you wanted to sit down, I’d imagine.)

 Waistcoat - Often solid of color, though patterns were popular as well, a waistcoat covered the front of the trousers, was usually single-breasted, and had a stand-up collar. Paisley as we know it today did not come into fashion until 1888. (Found that out when I tried to put a paisley waistcoat on one of my heroes and a sharp critique partner caught it.)

 Cravat or neckcloth - The predecessor of today’s tie, the cravat was a long strip of linen that wrapped around a gentleman’s neck several times and was elaborately tied.  It was often starched so stiff, a gentleman had trouble turning his head.  Almost always white, on rare occasions they might be black. (I did that in one of my books. Also used one for a make-shift bandage.)

Shirt – A simple linen or cotton garment with a high collar and slit at the front. Often, it was the only undergarment worn, though long drawers, sort of like today’s long-johns were worn by some men too. (Explains why there were no panty lines with those tight pantaloons!)

 Gloves - No gentleman would consider leaving home without a donning his gloves. Remember, touching of skin was taboo. (Gotta wonder how almost half of Regency brides ended up expecting before their wedding day.)

 Breeches, trousers or pantaloons - The popularity of breeches had begun to fade during the Regency Era except for evening wear. Trousers had become popular and form-fitting pantaloons were worn with boots. Buckskins were popular for more outdoorsy activities such as riding, stalking (hunting) or fishing.


A quick aside here. Inexpressible were leggings worn so tight, not a whole lot was left to the imagination. (Picture me with a shocked expression!)

Stockings – Worn calf-high, stockings were most often made of silk or cotton.  

Footwear: Wellingtons or Hessians for daytime use and black shoes for formal wear: High boots, custom made of course, were permissible for nearly everything except formal events. Shoes no longer bore heels and slip on shoes, rather like ballet slippers actually, became all the rage.


Extras: Cane, pocket watch, watch fob, quizzing glasses, stick pin, rings, wallet.  


I gave one of my heroes a cane with a hidden short sword. It came in handy when two miscreants tried to rob him!

It strikes me as funny that men could wear pantaloons so tight a flea couldn’t scurry up a hairy leg, but it was absolutely unthinkable for a woman to see a man in his shirtsleeves. Rather like a guy trotting around shirtless today.

There you have it—the well-dressed Regency gentleman, top to toe!

Do you find well-groomed men attractive, or can they go over the top sometimes?

Triumph and Treasure

Book one of Highland Heather Romancing the Scot

A disillusioned Scottish gentlewoman.

Angelina Ellsworth once believed in love—before she discovered her husband of mere hours was a slave-trader and already married. To avoid the scandal and disgrace, she escapes to her aunt and uncle’s, the Duke and Duchess of Waterford. When Angelina learns she is with child, she vows she’ll never trust a man again.


A privileged English lord.

Flynn, Earl of Luxmoore, led an enchanted life until his father committed suicide after losing 

everything to Waterford in a wager. Stripped of all but his title, Flynn is thrust into the role of marquis as well as provider for his disabled sister and invalid mother. Unable to pay his father’s astronomical gambling loss, Flynn must choose between social or financial ruin.

When the duke suggests he’ll forgive the debt if Flynn marries his niece, Flynn accepts the duke’s proposal. Reluctant to wed a stranger, but willing to do anything to protect her babe and escape the clutches of the madman who still pursues her, Angelina agrees to the union.

Available now on AMAZON

Award winning, multi-published historical romance author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master's in Teaching.  A Pacific Northwest Native, Collette’s been most of her life, has three amazing adult children, and five dachshunds. Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, the beach, trivia, birds, shabby chic, and Cadbury Chocolate. You'll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels.

Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, or too many flowers.

She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list. 

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