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         Breeches stretched only from the waist down to just below the knee. They would be gathered tight below the knee by the use of a button or a ribbon to be tied. Pantaloons tend to be thought of as a woman's article of clothing, but there was a form of man's pantaloons developed in the 1800s. Men's pantaloons were longer than breeches; instead of ending just below the knee, the pantaloon extended to just below the calf. The overall was developed and worn during the 1770s and provided an alternative to the shorter breeches. The overall, named for covering the leg 'over all,' was tight fitting the entire length of the leg. They eliminated the need for knee-high stockings, which were required to be worn with breeches. Also, the overalls, being tight fitting, were comfortable to fit inside high boots and were therefore worn by cavalry troops. At the waist and over the hips, overalls and breeches were similar. Each were gathered and tightened by buttons at the rear of the waistband and there was a drop-down flap at the front. A strap of material attached to the bottom cuff went under the foot to hold the overalls secure at the bottom.

         It might be noted that the overall developed from the use of sherryvallies with breeches and stockings. Sherryvallies were known as gaiters when men wore them extensively during the First World War. During the American Revolutionary War, they started at mid-thigh and extended down to cover the top of the foot. They would be tightened by laces up the side. The overall was essentially the result of the mating of the breeches and sherryvallies.

         Below are two pictures of Patriot soldiers. The picture on the left shows an infantryman wearing breeches. The sailor on the right is wearing overalls.


Postcards by Alexander R. Catley
John Hinde Curteich Inc., CA

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