Monday, September 15, 2014

Male On Monday - The Regency Man

This Monday at The Pink Heart Society, Harlequin Historical author, Georgie Lee, talks to us about the attraction of the Regency-era hero. Then, as is often still the case today, clothes helped maketh the man. 

One hundred and seventy-four years after his death, women all over the world can still be thankful for the effect Beau Brummell had on fashion. Don't believe me? Well, if I said he was the man credited with introducing and establishing the modern man's suit worn with a necktie, would that help?

Granted, it's not the same now as it was in Brummell's time, but his influence is still evident in the office, board room and at social events. 

The Regency era is when men’s attire really got it together. Gone were the gaudy silks and frills of the Georgian age. Instead, it was all about perfectly tailored, bespoke garments (Gucci and Armani, anyone?). The Brummell look was based on dark coats, full length trousers, immaculate shirt linen and an elaborately knotted cravat.

And the fashion conscious Regency man wore it well.

Long boots were standard (demonstrating the influence of riding apparel), they carried their gloves when they weren't wearing them, and the Regency saw the first appearance of the top hat. Many men also carried a cane when out walking, a habit which formed when they were no longer permitted to walk around with swords.

The era of high wigs and flowing, curly locks was over, too. Instead, the Regency ushered in an age of close cropped hair with a sexy, rumpled effect, influenced by statues of legendary Roman figures like Titus and Brutus.

But did you know, historically speaking, the Regency period only lasted nine years? Why, then, are we so drawn to Regency men two centuries later?

Jane Austen certainly helped. Ever since Mr. Darcy appeared in all of his dripping wet glory from that famous lake, Austen adaptations have guaranteed audiences for both TV and Movie screens. There's also the fact romanticism was well established by the Regency period. You wanted poetry, you had Wordsworth, Byron and Shelley. You wanted art, there was Constable and Turner. If there had been an iTunes, you would most likely have been downloading Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. 

It was a time when romance was celebrated.

Maybe part of the attraction is we feel we could do with a little more of that, these days...

While we no longer live in a world filled with etiquette and elegance, balls and duels, debutantes and rakes, the draw of a brooding, heart-throb hero remains. Dress him up and it increases the need to have our heroine dress him down. In more ways than one!

The potential for a heroine to slowly undo the hero's cravat is one of the many reasons I love writing Regency-set historical romance. It’s hard to pass up a gentleman in a well tailored suit, especially when he is in possession of a big manor house. 

Are you a fan of the Regency period? Which heroic qualities from the world of Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley and Captain Wentworth do you think are still important today? Do you have a favorite actor who played a Regency role? Let us know in the comments!

Georgie's latest Regency romance, The Courtesan's Book of Secrets, is out on October 1st:

To save his family legacy, Rafe Densmore must seize a courtesan's infamous register. No one can ever know how his father betrayed his country! One person stands in Rafe's way - the beautiful Cornelia, Comtesse de Vane.

In the card rooms of Paris, Rafe and Cornelia made an unbeatable... intimate team. Until, convinced of Rafe's desertion, desperate Cornelia married an elderly comte. Now, returning to London and impoverished widow,  she'll do anything to possess the register.

Even if that means becoming Rafe's partner once again...

To find out more about Georgie's books, you can visit her website and follow her on Facebook or Twitter.


  1. Although my favourite Austen is Persuasion, my favourite #RegencyHero has got to be Jonny Lee Miller as Knightley. Mainly because not only was he utterly delicious, but he also managed to capture the humour in Knightley that makes him Austen's most likeable hero.

  2. Persuasion is my favourite Austen and I don't think I've seen a better Captain Wentworth than Rupert Penry Jones. I don't know what his eyes are asking but the answer is 'yes' every time.

  3. It's hard to pick a favorite actor in a Jane Austen role but some of the ones I love are Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth and Matthew MacFadyen as Mr. Darcy. I do love Rupert Penry Jones. I haven't seen the version with Jonny Lee Miller yet, I will have to check it out.

    1. Oh you have to!! In my opinion, it's one of the best Austen adaptations around. :)

  4. I love the Hinds/Root Persuasion movie. I think Hinds was a great Wentworth. I wasn't a big fan of the 2007 version myself, especially how they handled the final letter scene which is such an important moment in the story.

  5. Matthew Macfadyen is the best Darcy in my opinion. I'll take either Ciaran Hinds or Rupert Penry Jones as Captain Wentworth. I LOVED Mark Strong as Mr Knightley - but how did I miss the gorgeous Johnny Lee Miller? Off to find that one...