Muquets – Men of Good Birth

Under Louis XIII (1601-1643) in France economic progress grew and it became harder to distinguish a person’s rank. The different ranks in society were equally well dressed and everyone aspired to carrying a sword.  A contemporary observed that Parisians no longer seemed able to live without ribbons or laces or, a mirror and that noblemen were now obliged to change clothes and ornaments every day. Men of good birth the ‘muguets’ (lilies of the valley) as they were known, threw themselves completely into the pursuit of elegance. Satin suits, cloaks of silk, beaver hats, scented suede collars known as collars of flowers and, lace trimmed bell bottoms were de rigeur. The ordinary people and minor country gentry, whose daughters married working men, disapproved of all this luxury as elegant men vied with women in inventing new fashions. Over a period of 125 years until 1715 men’s costume gradually became refined, elegant and more modern than ever before, especially when led by a very young and dashing Louis XIV (1638 – 1715)

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