Thursday, January 26, 2012

Patch It Up

X marks the spot...
And in France in the 1600s so did hearts, diamonds, circles and clubs.

Little back patches made from taffeta or thin leather were all the rage and more than mere blemish coverups.  An engaged woman wore a patch on her left cheek, switching it to her right after marriage.  A patch near a woman's lip was a "come-hither" signal.  A Whig lady wore a patch to the left, a Tory to the right.  While a gal who voted for political coalition wore patches on both cheeks.  

As a whimsical touch, noble ladies patched their noses and even their chins.  

Sexy sirens carried a small patch box with them wherever they went so they could replace any patches that fell off during a hot waltz around the palace ballroom.

 Patch Box circa 1745

By no means solely a prerogative of highbrow ladies, patches were seen on the jowls of dandies as well.  It is recorded that one amorous marquis arrived at a ball wearing 16 patches on his face - including one in the shape of a tree with two lovebirds kissing.

 Hugh Grant as seen in Restoration

Not only did they wear their hearts on their face, as it were, but ladies and gents sometimes wore family albums - profile patches of family and friends were also a popular fad.


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