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Braces: Brummell’s secret weapon

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March 3, 2014 by Ville Raivio

“Over his white shirt and perfect neckcloth, Brummell wore a pale or white waistcoat – or ‘vest’ in the parlance of the tailors of the period and in modern American usage. The waistcoat hid a small addition to a gentleman’s wardrobe that is often forgotten in the annals of fashion history and Brummell’s place in it: braces or suspenders. These are absent from the wardrobes of the previous generation… Without them, the severe line along the thighs and lower legs was impossible, as belts were both inimical to the style and unflattering to the majority. Brummell wore breeches or pantaloons in the morning, in soft stocking-woven fabric or often soft leather.

All this pale and white palette was thrown into sharp relief with two items in dark colors. A dark jacket — always deep blue — was cut away at the front to form tails, for ease on horseback but also to increase the apparent length of the wearer’s legs. Black Hessian boots — from Hesse in Gemany — completed the ensemble. These were walking or riding boots with a tassel at the front that served to distinguish them from turn-top riding boots, which briefly had about them the taint of Napolean. The perfection of the cut and sculptural strength of the style were communicated with even greater clarity and strength by the sober palette.”

~ Ian Kelly in Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Dandy (2005)


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Only a beautiful life is worth living.


"If John Bull turns around to look at you, you are not well dressed; but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable".
~ Beau Brummell