INVITATION TO A FUNERAL
a tale of Restoration intrigue by
From Life and Times of Anthony Wood, antiquary, of Oxford, 1632 -
1695, described by Himself:
"A strange effeminate age when men strive to imitate
women in their apparell, viz. long periwigs, patches in their
faces, painting, short wide breeches like petticoats, muffs, and
their clothes highly scented, bedecked with ribbons of all
colours. And this apparell was not only used by gentlemen and
others of inferior quality, but by souldiers especially those of
the Life Guard to the King, who would have spanners hanging on
one side and a muff on the other, and when dirty weather some of
them would relieve their gards in pattens.
On the other side, women would strive to be like men, viz., when
they rode on horseback or in coaches weare plush caps like
monteros, whether full of ribbons or feathers, long perwigs which
men use to wear, and riding coat of a red colour all bedaubed
with lace which they call vests, and this habit was chiefly used
by the ladies and maids of honour belonging to the Queen, brought
in fashion about anno 1662."
From Tyrannus or The Mode, 1661, by John Evelyn:
It was a fine silken fop which I spied walking tho'other day
through Westminster-Hall, that had as much Ribbon about him as
would have plundered six shops, and set up twenty Country
Pedlers: All his body was dres't like a May-pole, or a Tom-a-
Bedlam's cap. A Fregat newly rigg'd kept not half such a clatter
in a storme, as this Puppets Streamers did when the Wind was in
his Shroud's; the Motion was Wonderful to behold, and the Colours
were Red, Orange, and Blew, of well gum'd Sattin, which argu'd a
happy fancy: But so was our Gallant over charg'd,... whether he
did weare this Garment, or (as a Porter) bear it only, was not
easily to be resolv'd.
From Musick's Monument, 1676, by Thomas Mace
I remember there was a Fashion, not many Years since, for Women
in their Apparel to be so Pent up by the Straitness, and
Stiffness of the Gown-Shoulder-Sleeves, that they could not so
much as Scratch Their Heads, for the Necessary Remove of a Biting
Louse; nor Elevate their Arms scarcely to feed themselves
Handsomely; nor Carve a Dish of Meat at a Table, but their whole
Body must needs Bend towards the Dish.
The ascent of French fashion
Everything new from sedan chairs to dainty silver brushes for
cleaning teeth was French. Even drinking coffee and tea were
customs imported from the French. A contemporary writer noted
how: Perfumed gloves, pocket looking-glasses, elegant boxes,
apricot paste, essences and other small items of love arrived
every week from Paris.
Pepys's diary, 2 March 1669:
"My wife this day put on first her French gown, called a sac..."
The first "BUY BRITISH" campaign
In 1666, Charles tried to start a strictly British fashion of
long, loose fitting vests, but the king of France took to
dressing his servants and footmen in that fashion, so Charles and
his courtiers had to switch back.
8 October 1666: The King hath yesterday in council declared his
resolution of setting a fashion for clothes, which he will never
alter. It will be a vest, I know not well how. But it is to teach
the nobility thrift, and will do good.
15 October 1666: This day the King begins to put on his vest, and
I did see several persons of the House of Lords, and Commons too,
great courtiers, who are in it - being a long cassocke close to
the body, of black cloth and pinked with white silk under it, and
a coat over it, and the left ruffled with black riband like a
pigeon's leg - and upon the whole, I wish the King may keep it,
for it is a very fine and handsome garment.
17 October 1666: ...The Court is all full of vests; only, my Lord
St Albans not pinked, but plain black - and they say the King sys
the pinking upon white makes them look too much like magpies, and
therefore hath bespoke one of plain velvet.
22 November 1666: ...the King of France hath, in defiance to the
King of England, caused all his footmen to be put into vests, and
that the noblemen of France will do the like; which... is the
greatest indignity ever done by one prince to another, and would
incite a stone to be revenged.
(c) 1996, 1997 Molly Brown