Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Sharp Dressed Man Revealed : Online Sutlers & Made to Order Clothing

This month's edition covers putting together a Gentleman's starter ensemble.


So, I know that everyone wants the perfect ‘look.’ Whether that be the
perfect ‘Beau Brummel’ or the perfect ‘Captain Wentworth’ or the
perfect ‘Colonel Brandon.’ But we must be realistic in how we approach
a new and expensive hobby.


When I started fencing I did not go out and buy a $200 mask and the
best blade on a custom hilt. I bought a good mask and a blade that was
good enough to get me on the field. Now, many years later I have the
best mask I have found and many custom hilted weapons with top end

When I started shooting black powder I shopped around for a rifle that
would be fun and safe, but was not going to break the bank. Now I have
ordered my first semi-custom rifle and am getting into some more
expensive accessories.

If we were all lottery winners, then we could go straight to “Empire
Costume” and spend thousands of Euros and look perfect. I do not think
I am speaking to that crowd.

So, we have to come up with an affordable way to look the part, but do
it in reasonable comfort and without breaking the bank.

There are many sutlers out there, but the one I have had the most
success with is Jas. Townsend and Son. Now, keep in mind that there
are many other sutlers out there as well as people that may be willing
to do custom work for affordable prices. This is meant as one example
of using an available sutler to get dressed for events.

The basic ‘Beau Brummel’ look requires a dark coat, dark or cream
(depending on time of day) waistcoat, breeches or trousers, white
shirt, white cravat, black boots and a top hat.

So, first the coat, Townsend does not (yet) offer a Regency Tailcoat,
but they do have two nice ones from a bit earlier. I prefer the linen
coat for this look because it does have a stand up collar.

Linen coat ($240):

Next the waist coat. Townsend has a nice one that, unfortunately, lacks pockets.

Waistcoat ($90):

Breeches or Trousers? I personally prefer breeches for most outfits,
but I know many Gentlemen may feel silly in them. So, trousers are a
perfectly good alternative. I am only including references for the
linen examples, but there are also cotton canvas and wool. Keep in
mind that if you go with breeches you will also need stockings and
possible stocking garters.

Breeches ($95):
Trousers ($95):

Fancy Stockings ($9.50):
Plain Stockings ($10):
Garters ($7.50):
The shirt is easy ($35):

As is the cravat ($15):

I would not do boots, riding boots start at $200.

Shoes are easier ($95):
And they need buckles ($40):
Other shoes:
Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs 1813
Alternately, some modern shoes that buckle closed may be acceptable.

I would not bother with the less used accessories like a top hat,
walking stick, period eyewear, pocket watches until later.

So, once you have your one outfit then you can start upgrading and/or
adding detail bits. Some of which are listed above and are available
from a variety of sutlers.

-       Colonel de Valois

References and Resources:

1)      Empire Costume:
2)      Jas. Townsend and Son:
3)      Cobb Creek:
4)      Smiling Fox Forge:
5)      Corps Sutler:
6)      All images courtesy of  Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs

No comments:

Post a Comment