Fortunately, these Florentine men's clothes do not require a wealth of elaborate accessories. However, the few that exist are, for the most part, very important.
Most vital, from my point of view, is the stockings. I certainly don't want to put my husband in tights - much too uncomfortable and about the least period option available. Ideally he would be wearing over-the-knee gartered stockings, handknit from silk (first choice) or fine wool (second choice). However, I have only found one source for such, Mona Hubbartt of Westwood Traders (e-mail wwtrdr[at]attglobal.net), and although I'm sure they're quite worth it, the $50 for silk (which only comes in natural and so would need to be dyed, and I've certainly heard stories about trying to dye things black) or linen is really just out of my budget right now. Wool is a more affordable $25/pair, but I suspect it's not as fine a wool as I'd want. Plus there's the time factor on a pair of custom stockings. So I think it'll need to wait for now - maybe if David uses this costume a lot, it'll become more viable.
I also considered making them myself. Bias-cut cloth hose are period although of a lesser class by 1560; or, although it's less period than handknit, there's a black wool/silk jersey on sale at the Fashion Fabrics Club for only $8 a yard. However, the time factor comes into play again...I've really got my hands full right now.
Clever costumer Teddy wrote to me suggesting the use of the Winter Silks stirrup longjohns as a substitute for silk stockings. I like this idea, but as I was planning on having David's shoes be rather low-cut in the throat like the ones at right, the stirruppyness (whew! what a word!) wouldn't be hidden.
So for the time being, I've ordered a pair of black cotton over-knee stockings from Jas. Townsend & Sons, who provide 18th-century reenactment gear. Of course cotton isn't period, but at least it's a natural material and they'll be thicker than tights. Also, David will have the option of wearing them over or under his canions. And they're $8 plus shipping.
By the way, you gotta love those garters shown above. Wow! I'm not sure if I'll venture into anything that fancy, but I will need to come up with some sort of garter. Presumably, at minimum, a bias-cut wool or linen band.
Copyright 2004 by David and Jessamyn Reeves-Brown. All rights reserved.