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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Real Men Wear Lace

Can you imagine a modern-day hero wearing lace? It conjures images of Liberace and cross-dressers. But until the twentieth century, lace was a sign of wealth. And wealth meant money. Freedom. Power. Security. Lace was not feminine or foppish. Let’s face, it, until very recent times, women had few choices; marriage or abject poverty. And for a woman who couldn’t go get a job to take care of herself, finding a husband who could care for her – and her future children – in comfort, was vital. If a man wore lace, it announced his wealth, which was attractive to women, and to the fathers of maidens looking for a husband. A wealthy man could afford to feed, house, and clothe his wife in comfort. He owned vast lands, had tenants, and in later times he also had investments. Today we call those guys filthy rich.

Unlike today, no one trimmed their undergarments in lace because it would not be seen, which was pointless because lace was a way of announcing status and money. In the late Georgian era, shirts were trimmed in lace because the cuffs peeked out from under the coat sleeves. But before that, and then in the latter part of the Regency era, lace on shirt sleeves disappeared when they stopped showing underneath the coats.

Men’s coats were also ornate, trimmed in lace and made out of brocade and often with gold threads creating intricate designs. The buttons were another sign of wealth. Even shoe buckles revealed money; only the poor used shoe laces.

So if you wonder through a time gate and find yourself centuries in the past, run for the nearest lace-trimmed man and hope he feeds you!


Joyce Moore said...

Donna: Loved your post, and it came at the right time. I sorta flounder after the holidays, not quite ready for the routine. Sooo, you've given me a marvelous idea. Off to the spa...

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