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Sunday, 2 June 2013


Until the early 19th century, breeches, which extended to just below the knee, were the standard garment for gentlemen.

In 17th century Geneva, John Calvin forbid the wearing of slashed breeches. 

The man's fly was introduced into the breeches in the days of King Charles I.

In 1670, breeches with built-in pockets came into fashion and men dispensed with their handbags. But they did continue to carry a little netted "purse" for money inside the pocket.

Edward Gibbon suffered from a malady now believed to be hydrocele, according to the Merck Manual. This condition caused his testicles to swell with fluid to extraordinary proportions. This chronic inflammation caused Gibbon great physical discomfort in a time when men wore close-fitting breeches.

Beau Brummell promoted tailored trousers, which were to replace breeches-and-hose combinations. Breeches were replaced by long, wide trousers by 1815.

The fashion for longer trousers was not welcomed by all. Trinity College Cambridge said that any student wearing them would be regarded as absent, while the clergy of Sheffield were warned that any preacher who wore trousers would not be allowed to occupy a pulpit.

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