"Breeches, leggins and boots" Top 5 Page for this destination Williamsburg Local Custom Tip by matcrazy1

Williamsburg Local Customs: 60 reviews and 75 photos

by matcrazy1

The coachman of the governor's carriage was worn in breeches, leggins and boots for his work as you can see on my picture.

Breeches were seen in many forms and lengths since late 16th century until the early 19th century. They were worn by all levels of society but those of the lower class were usually made of durable linens instead of aristocratic and expensive soft silk or cotton, wool or leather.

Breeches of 18th century were cut just beneath a knee, tight and revealed the shape of the leg. The breeches of the governor's coachman and generally the upper class gentelman were made of silk and had button-side, decorative fastening on both legs.

Leggins were seen below the breeches. They fully covered the lower leg from a few centimeters/inches above the knee extending to cover the top of the foot and were made of stout woolen or linen cloth or of leather. Leggins and shorter (from mid-shin to foot) spatterdashes were worn mainly for outdoor activities by the laboring men, sporting gentlemen and the military. Otherwise the gentelmen wore stockings or hose. The leggins of the coachman were supported by a garter tied up below his knee and fixed to the leg of his boot.

Leather boots of many sorts but usually black were worn for sporting, riding and working by upper class gentelmen in the 18th century. These ones of the governor's coachman had high (above-knee) legs which were turned down below a knee. Thus the brown color of the internal layer of the boots was seen.

Hmm... currently we say "tough as old boots" which means very strong and not easily weakened. The expression originates since times of fast industralisation era of late 19th century when boots were worn as protective footwear by workers.

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  • Updated Dec 18, 2004
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