Slang term + video of period clothing illustrating term = terrific Word of the Week!
In the 16th and 17th centuries, galligaskins were leggings or loose-fitting breeches worn by sailors. Think puffy, knee-britches. But by the late 18th century, and certainly the Regency era, as tight-fitting breeches had replaced the loose ones, the term galligaskin had come to be derogatory slang for just how tight those new breeches were, and poked delicious fun at how little they left to the imagination.
Mr. Timothy Long is now the Director and Senior Specialist of Couture at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago, Illinois. Formerly, he was the Curator of Fashion and Decorative Arts at the Museum of London, and he posted some fabulous short videos of collection discoveries with typed-up captions explaining the more fascinating aspects of the pieces he profiled. The videos are buried in his twitter feed, and are everything that is lovely and wonderful. Of course I found one of impeccable galligaskins, circa 1810. Make sure to click the link, because my screen shots don’t do the trousers justice.
- Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
- Follow Mr. Long as he lives up to his twitter handle, @Fashion_Curator.