In reference to male fashion, pantaloons are close-fitting tights or leggings that were introduced during the 1790s. They were often called “inexpressibles” as they were quite revealing, leaving very little to the imagination. They ended just below the calf, where button fastenings or straps kept them in place. In the latter years of the Regency, they reached the ankles. Pantaloons had a waist band, with a back vent and a front “fall”. They were generally made of knitted fabric to achieve the close fit. Pantaloons were typically worn with boots.

The image shows a detail of a “Incroyable: chapeau à la Robinson” from Incroyables et Merveilleuses, 1815. The gentleman is wearing very tight pantaloons and Hessian boots.


A corruption of “Nanking.” A yellowish brown sturdy cotton fabric used for men’s work breeches or children’s play clothes.


A fine, twilled, closely-woven wool often used for breeches.


A style of man’s riding boot that is calf-length in the back and curves up in front to a point just below the knee, from which point hangs a tassel. Generally made of black leather, they sometimes had a narrow border at the top in a different color, eg white-topped Hessians. Certain dandies sometimes wore gold-tasseled Hessians. Beau Brummel is said to have kept his black Hessians gleaming by using a special boot polish made of champagne.

The image shows a detail of a “Costume Parisien” print from Journal des Dames et des Modes, May 25, 1809, where the gentleman is wearing knitted pantaloons with Hessian boots.


A man’s overcoat, typically with multiple capes at the shoulder, reaching at least the knees and sometimes long enough to almost touch the ground. The capes could hang long, as in the image shown here, or shorter, just below the shoulders. The number of capes could range from two to as many as ten, and were removable. The greatcoat was typically made of wool, and was most often worn for driving, or for walking in inclement weather.

The image shown is a detail of a “Costume Parisien” print from the French magazine Journal des Dames et des Modes, March 31, 1811. The extra long sleeves are a French affectation.

frock coat

A single-breasted tail-coat with full shoulders, tight sleeves, and fitted body. Gained popularity during the late Regency.


A flap to the front of breeches, pantaloons, and trousers that buttoned up to the waistband, at the hips.


Material of a different color that shows when the cuffs and collar are folded over. In the military, different colored facings implied different regiments.


A large square of lawn, muslin, or silk — often starched — folded into a long, narrow tie, worn around the neck with the ends tied in a bow or knot in the front.


Worn for both evening wear and day wear. For riding, sport or country attire, they might be made of leather or buckskin, and were more or less the equivalent of a pair of jeans. For evening, or for formal servants’ livery, they might be made of satin. The front of the breeches opened with a flap called a “fall” that buttoned at the hips. Breeches fastened at the knee, or just below the knee, with either buttons, ties, or buckles. During the Regency, breeches were generally high-waisted and full at the hips. (Ladies would be unlikely to ogle a gentleman’s bottom while he wore breeches. They were not tight-fitting enough to be interesting.) By the late Regency, pantaloons had almost completely replaced breeches for day wear when boots were worn. Breeches continued to be worn for very formal evening occasions until the 1820s when trousers replaced breeches for full dress. Breeches also continued to be a requirement of gentlemen’s court dress throughout the 19th century.

The image is a detail of a “Costume Parisien” print from the French magazine Journal de Dames et des Modes, August 18, 1803, showing striped breeches.