The Colonial Obsession With Men’s Calves

Well, this is interesting.

It’s no secret that throughout history, as fashions come and go, so too have preferences for certain body types and body parts. From the alarming codpieces of the middle ages to the height-enhancing top hats of the 19th century, menswear has often been tailored to feature the fetishes of the day.

But now, according to Atlas Obscura, we learn that men in colonial times may have been obsessed with — of all things — their calves. It may seem a bit odd until you consider the evidence. Breaches cut just below the knee to reveal stocking-covered calves were very much in style at the time. Additionally, when a men of good breeding bowed before a woman, they always extended their toe, pointed outward, in an ironic display of manliness. And, apparently, a surprising number of men actually took to padding the back of their stockings in order to create a more impressive bulge of the calf.

It’s a curious piece of historical trivia, but it does remind us just how competitive men can be, and how long the dubious practice of padding has been around. If only our founding forefathers knew that just a few hundred years later they could have just gotten implants.

The Colonial Obsession With Men’s Calves
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