Nicole Kipar
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Male Indoor Garments


Indoor garments gained more and more importance after the first half of the 17th century. The Justaucorps were very heavy, and very impractical indoors, and although there had already been banyans (dressing gowns) in the early 17th century, they became now compulsory. These dressing/indoor gowns were quite splendid and by no means comparable with modern dressing gowns, instead made from brocades, velvets and silks, and highly respectable wear. The most sought for fabric for those banyans, were printed or painted cottons from India, but since there was such a craze for these fabrics there was a decree that cotton was forbidden to be imported into England. Nevertheless, of course as with any law regarding garments, there was smuggling. The same happened with French lace, by the way, and thus many items of beauty were destroyed back then when the smuggled wares were confiscated and burnt by the customs. 

Furthermore, since the massive periwigs had become fashionable, men wore their hair shaved underneath those wigs, and naturally they took off the heavy wigs when indoors at home, so that the bald head had to be covered. The indoors cap had already been in use earlier in the century, and often beautifully embroidered, and it was to remain in extensive use throughout the 17th and also the 18th century. 

The high heeled outdoor shoes were also exchanged for more comfortable, low heeled mules, often covered with fabric and embroidered. 

It is very important to bear in mind that the above described items of indoors at ease and at home clothing were by no means equivalents in use to the modern negligées, but were very respectable clothing with the shirt and the breeches, often also the waistcoat worn underneath. The dressing gown or banyan was very comfortable with its elegant masses of fabric, protection against the cold or draughts, as well as the embroidered or otherwise decorated cap, these items were worn when visitors inside one's home were met, and they were in essence house-garments.

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