While working on the Work In Progress(WIP) the other day, I had a scene where the heroine needed to take the pants off the injured and unconscious hero. This is when they first meet. My fingers stalled. How were men's pants fastened in 1900? Were they the same as the early books I'd written?
I went to my research books and pulled out an 1897 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalogue which is a replica, and The Writers Guide to Everyday Life in the Wild West by Candy Moulton.
Thumbing through the Sears pages I made a decision of the type of pants my hero would wear. There were several choices from the tailor made pants for $.75 made of wool and cotton blend to the $5 pair of pants made of imported French and German worsted in a variety of striped patterns. There were also overalls (jeans) made from different weights of blue denim. These were anywhere from $.38 to $2.38 for a pair of white painters' overall.
|vintage pants on Ebay|
But I still didn't know how the pants were fastened. I learned from The Writers Guide to Everyday Life in the Wild West that men rarely wore a belt. The pants were so high waisted the top button was above the hips. Once it was buttoned, the pants didn't fall off. If a man didn't have a waist thinner than his hips, he could use suspenders to keep his pants up. Men's pants had a fly front just as today, only there were buttons instead of a zipper. The buttons were hid under the fly.
And so my heroine has to remove the unconscious hero's trousers so the doctor can inspect him for injuries.
Here is an unedited excerpt on the de-pantsing of the hero by the heroine from Claiming a Heart the third book in the Halsey Homecoming trilogy.
She stood by the cot staring at the last piece of clothing she had to remove. Wool trousers. Drawing in a deep breath, she steeled herself for the task. The red flannels he wore would cover his lower body, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to touch him so intimately. After all, she’d have to slide the britches over his hips and down.
“Lookin’ at him ain’t gettin’ the job done.” She leaned down and unbuttoned the waist button. Working the other buttons under the flap loose required her fingers to touch a part of a man’s body she shouldn’t be touching.
She held her breath and worked the buttons loose as quickly as her stiff fingers would go. A whoosh of air relaxed her lungs when the buttons were all free of the holes. Sliding her hands inside the pants and down his hips, she worked the garment down and eventually off his legs.
Sweat beaded her brow when she stood at the end of the cot holding his trousers.