The Georgian Era is defined as the years when King George I, II, III and IV were ruling the throne of England. It started in 1714 when King George I was crowned as the king and ended with the death of King George IV in 1830. The period marks a transition in almost all the aspects of life of the people of England during the time, making it highly important.
The Georgian Era was a time of rapid change. The country experienced many social and political changes during these years which affected the culture of the people. these changes were reflected on the fashion of those times and the ways in which men used to dress speaks volumes about the growth that the English society was experiencing during the Georgian Era.
Components of Public Dressing of the Gentlemen
Dressing appropriately was a necessity for a man belonging to the upper social class. Their clothes played an important role in conveying their social status. As a result, it was mandatory for men to make sure that they are dressed appropriately at all times, especially while making a public appearance.
The dressing of the upper class men was highly elaborate and needed to be done in a very particular manner. It would start with the underclothes that includes stocking, garters and a pair of loose shorts to be worn as an underwear. Over this, the basic garments used to be put on.
It includes a shirt, a waistcoat, a tailcoat or a jacket. Underneath that, pants were worn. The style of the basic clothes that a gentleman would choose depended on the time of the day and the occasion for which the outfit is being worn.
Once the basic dressing was done, an overcoat would be worn as an outerwear. The overcoat not only protected the person from cold but also from the dirt on the streets. Shoes and boots were the only types of shoes that the men used to wear during the Georgian times, after the fashion of wearing heels had worn out. Usually, gentlemen also used many accessories like cravats, wallets and hats to complete their look.
Fashion was radically changing during the Georgian times and the industrial revolution that the country was experiencing had a major part to play in this. By the 18th century, it had become easy to produce garments from wool, silk and cotton at large scale in factories.
As a result, most clothes that the upper class gentlemen used to wear on a daily basis were developed from these materials. Sometimes, muslin would also put to use. However, by this time, embroidery and similar decorations on the clothes had gone out of fashion.
Components of Private Dressing for a Gentleman
Even though it was a highly private matter, the men of the upper classes were expected to be dressed in a very specific way even when they are in their house, including the bedchambers. The most common clothes to be worn to bed were a nightshirt. It was a loose shirt that was knee- length and had buttons on the neck.
Out of the bed, men usually used to wear a dressing gown over it. It was also known as a banyan during those times and was a floor length gown that could be wrapped over the nightshirt. Finally, a nightcap would complete the bedchamber dress. The nightcap was a silk hat that had a tassel at the end. The most common material that were used to make nightclothes was silk. Besides that, satin and velvet were also used extensively and, in some cases, cotton was also preferred.
Military Uniform during the Georgian Era
Much like the clothing of the elite classes, the uniform of the navy and armed forces of the country also attracted a lot of status for gentlemen during the Georgian Era. The most special and unique feature of their uniform was the red overcoats, for which men serving the military were often referred to as readcoats.
The shape of the hem of the overcoat had many varieties and people used to wear each of them depending on their ranks. Besides, the amount of gold that was used to decorate the coat was also according to the ranks that people served. Apart from the red overcoats, the men used to wear a white shirt underneath it along with a grey trousers. A pair of braces, a hat and a pair of shoes completed the uniform. Just like the coats, the hats were also shaped depending on the rank that the particular soldier was serving.
Men who were serving the army usually had a separate overcoat to wear while they were on duty and a different one that they would wear to informal public gatherings. Their uniform was also made from cotton and wool. As the other fashion changed, there were many gradual changes that were made to the uniform as well.