Thursday, November 19, 2009
Men's Hosiery and the codpiece
Men’s hosiery has evolved through the ages, dictated by what was worn above. Originally, hose were worn for warmth, under robes and floor-length tunics, but as tunics became shorter, hose became longer. In the Middle Ages hose, sometimes colorful, were held up by bands or fastened to the drawers (braies).
As doublets came into fashion, hose gradually changed from two separate pieces to one piece (like pantyhose). When the length of doublets became so short as to defy modesty, a codpiece was worn, sometimes padded and covered in velvet and luxury fabrics (although there are also metal ones in museums).
During the Renaissance, the hose became shorter, with breeches (like pantaloons) above, again made of rich fabrics in vibrant colors. The length of men’s hosiery also followed the fashion in various countries (witness the kilts that are worn today by some of the professional golfers). Eventually, trousers took the place of breeches and men’s hosiery became what it is today.