As the medieval style of long tunics and skirted garments gave way to shorter, more fitted doublets, breeches became more necessary out of modesty—the “tights” or hose of the period commonly being in two separate “leg” pieces! Until the mid seventeenth century, when the knitted stocking industry developed, hose were made of woolen fabric cut on the bias to allow for some stretch—actual stretchy fabrics and elastic were to come centuries later.  And what would we do now, without them?!

For the fashion-minded, breeches were worn knee length or shorter, to allow for the exhibition of the “finely-turned calf,” which was covered only by hose (stockings, tall socks, or tights). With dancing, and riding, and tennis being the favourite sporting activities of King Henry VIII, he was very proud of his own calves.  A well-developed leg came to be considered among the most important aspects of a man’s physique.  Tall boots were worn only when the leg needed protection, such as when riding or traveling, and shoes were the fashionable footwear.

Later in the period, under the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the fashion in breeches became so short, a man might have to struggle to keep his shirt tail from showing out of the bottom of the legs!

Breeches were made of a durable fabric, commonly wool or silk, often decorated with panes and slashings, and for the wealthy man, were often made to match his doublet.


The breeches offered here, are one size fits most, unless otherwise stated.  The waist is controlled by a simple drawstring.  The leg openings are also operated with drawstrings, and are normally designed to be worn closed just below the knee

Specific photos of items currently for sale to follow.