Thursday, 27 October 2011

More On 18th Century Belt Pouches.

Many historians and costume experts will tell you that the belt pouch went out of fashion in the 17th century and was no longer being used in the 18th century. My arguement has always been that items from earlier periods were indeed worn and used because of practicallity and not fashion. A waistcoat per se may not survive 50 years of hard wear, but the style will. If a person on a frontier wants to wear a long 17th century waistcoat in the 18th century, then he/she can do so.
Below is a sketch from 1760. You will note that he is wearing two belt pouches. One large one in front, and a smaller one on his left side.

By Paul Sandby 1760ad.


Jenny said...

Hunh- curious.

Given he's a meat-parts seller and also carrying what looks like a butcher knife and sharpening rod, I wonder if it's related to his trade?

(Also, that basket must gotten *ripe* on a hot day. Ugh)

Regarding out of date clothes -
I would expect it wasn't common, could quite possibly draw stares, but I'm sure it happened at times - the Boston historical society has kept the "last tricorner hat" worn by one of it's Revolutionary era residents into... I think gosh into the 1820's. On the other hand, that gave him some notoriety in town.

I see where the event manager types are coming from - if we're all deviating from the norm, the norm isn't presented. Thankfully we're not all working in museums. :)

Le Loup said...

Hi Jenny. I have no doubt that his trade has something to do with his preference of belt bags, but the point is they were used and worn if there was a reason to do so.
The long weskits of the late 17th century were still being worn by fashionable people in the 1730s. Where fashion was not a consideration there may have been a good many people wearing out of fashion clothing as the norm. I have seen a 17th century weskit in a mid to late 18th century sketch, and a short weskit in a 17th century painting. The latter could have been perhaps a short French weskit, or a chap wearing a weskit that was too small for him. Either way, I think it would be the norm to see a variety of fashion and clothing types on the frontiers.
I think it is a mistake to assume that just because you are in 1750, that everything you use and wear belongs to 1740. That would not be common or normal.

Karl said...

I find it interesting at a practical level, there is this whole concept that people stop wearing certain clothing simply because fashion says it is no longer "in"... how many people today wear clothing and the like that is "out of date" as defined by fashion?

Those who live outside of civilized society will use and wear whatever is available. And use items of equipment as needed... one of my main arguments with "Stitch Counters" is that they insist I provide evidence that an item was used... my counter is for them to prove it wasn't... not every member of society will be wearing the latest fashion of clothing and those from a poorer part of society will more likely be wearing clothing and equipment considered "out of date" by the more wealthy parts of that society.

While I do appreciate that in living history there is a need to standardise clothing and equipment to a set period, the reality is that humans will use what is available to them and what meets a particular need at the time.

An example: The Butt/Fanny pack... this item went out of fashion nearly 20 years ago, it is not in common useage today, yet it still exists within our society and is used to fulfill a need by some factions of society, like wise the multi-pocket vest... it is out of general fashion and has been for nearly 40 years, yet is still used and worn by some members of our modern society to fulfill a particular need yet are deplored by the "fashionable" people in our socity who write for magazines and the like...

Fashion has nothing to do with whether an item was or wasn't used...

Le Loup said...

Totally agree Karl. It is human nature, and if you can't find what you want or need then you make it.

Luke MacGillie said...

I recently posted on a message board that I didnt use a belt pouch, since I have anywhere from 5 to 10 pockets in my clothing (2 in breeches, plus watch pocket, 2 in waistcoat, 2 in jacket and 3 in hunting shirt.)

But if you fill up the pockets of your period clothing with modern wallet,switchblade, 1911, 2 spare mags, flashlight, cell phone, car keys, cigaretts and lighter, I can see why you might need a belt pouch for your period wallet, strike a light, pipe and tobac, pocketwatch, folding knife ect

Le Loup said...

Hi luke. Well I only have two pockets, & they are in my weskit. My belt pouch carries my fire-bag, fishing tackle & compass. I like to keep these items on me all the time & easy to get at.

Sadie Jay-Edwards said...

Le Loup, please correct me if I am wrong, but it was my understanding that the term weskit was a civil war era bastardization of the term waistcoat. Do you also have documentation that the term was applied to the great examples of waistcoats of the 1700's that you mentioned?

Keith H. Burgess said...

Thank you Sadie, very much appreciated. Why I did not research that myself I have no idea, & I feel like a right nong for not doing it. It seems you are correct, at least a quick search brings up nothing for the 18th century. I shall not mention the person from whom I got this info, my own fault for not double checking. Again, very much appreciated Sadie.
Regards, Keith.