Another interesting fact in the 1790’s was the Macaronies, a group of guys who were known to design and wear tight clothing.
A person under the category ‘Fop’ can be seen as an ancestor to the macaroni. A fop being a man who takes great care of he’s outer appearance, however is shallow in substance; often known to make a fool of themselves and you could describe them as slow and a little dumb. I presume they were the equivalent of todays ‘blond moments’. Everything about a fop was for show, the way they spoke, acted and dressed, they were known to be effeminate, which then described a male with feminine characteristics who liked females, however during the 18th century effeminacy was connected with homosexuality.
Originally Macaroni’s were young wealthy men who would travel across Europe, they acquired continental habits mostly from France and Italy. France and Italy, like today, were famous for their fashion, however mixing fashion and with masculinity was almost a threat to the identity of the British man. Macaronis bought with them a new look, the most noticeable being big wigs, patterns on their tighter-than-usual waist coat and dotted stockings, not forgetting the higher than usual shoes. They also mixed some French and Italian into their English, giving them an unusual pronunciation.
Why are the Macaroni’s interesting to know about?
They crossed the boarders of status, we are familiar with the great public up-raw which occurs when a fundamental rule in society has been bent (e.g. fight for women’s equality and the beginning of single parent families), the macaronis began the questioning of sexuality, back then homosexual acts were forbidden. This group also faded the thick line which separated differences in gender within society, in the 18th century, men were seen as superior to women, with both sexes carrying different roles and contributions to society, and both genders sticking to the status quo.
The macaronies wore male clothes in what would be regarded as a feminine manner, in other words added style to male clothing. Just think a decade ago from today skinny jeans would have been a disgrace for a man to wear, however now, in 2013, it has become a huge fashion fad, whereby male skinny jeans are available and widely accepted, in fact, some women would regard the style as attractive.
Macaronie’s brought controversy and some light humour to a very serious Britain. Often macaronies were interesting in the media (print media and theatre’s) who knows, perhaps this is one of the many milestones which has made London one of the top high fashion cities worldwide.