One of the most important fashion trendsetters during the seventeenth century was the cavalier, or military horseman. Along with his confident swagger, his costume came to mark a certain male style during the century. Noblemen who may never have fought in battle adopted and exaggerated the cavalier's clothes. These cavaliers wore elaborate outfits with large plumed, or feathered, hats and fancy jackets and breeches, or pants. Essential to a cavalier's outfit were large, floppy-topped, high-heeled leather boots. The boots' tops were shaped like a funnel and could reach twenty inches in diameter. The wide tops of their boots could be pulled up over the knee or, more commonly, folded down to mid-calf to display many ruffles of lace-edged linen hose. Commonly boots were dark leather, but some men wore light-colored boots for formal occasions. At the heels of their boots, men wore clinking metal spurs, even at dances. These boot styles were widely copied by men during the century.


Batterberry, Michael, and Ariane Batterberry. Fashion: The Mirror of History. New York: Greenwich House, 1977.

Lawlor, Laurie. Where Will This Shoe Take You? A Walk Through the History of Footwear. New York: Walker and Company, 1996.

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