National Army Museum

Cromwell’s ‘Gay Attire’

Puritan souls may hide a cavalier approach to clothes, according to Patrick Little as he explores fashion at the court of Oliver Cromwell.

Oliver Cromwell by Robert Walker, tentatively dated to 1650, in the surprisingly 'gay attire' of 'petticoat breaches', lacy boot-hose and a plumed hat.
Oliver Cromwell by Robert Walker, tentatively dated to 1650, in the surprisingly 'gay attire' of 'petticoat breaches', lacy boot-hose and a plumed hat.

Charles I was a Cavalier King and therefore had a small pointed beard, long flowing curls, a large, flat, flowing hat, and gay attire. The Roundheads, on the other hand, were clean-shaven and wore tall, conical hats, white ties, and sombre garments. Under these circumstances a Civil War was inevitable.'

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