Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Hangman's Muff

I was recently over at author Catherine Delors blog where she posted this beautiful Fragonard painting L'hiver (Winter). Most people would focus on the poor child who is obviously getting the snot beat out of her by old man winter, but empathy went right out the window for me. I just wanted her muff. I had one similar as a child and I want it back.

You might think of muffs as a very feminine fashion, but in the early 1700s men wore muffs just as much as women. They were usually cloth muffs decorated with tons and tons of ribbons until one savvy Parisian furrier came up with an ingenious plan to give his business a boost. He gave one of those inferior cloth muffs to the local hangman. In the 18th century, no one was allowed to wear what the hangman wore so by wearing his new gift, he made cloth muffs go the way of parachute pants. Undeterred, fashionistas flocked to their furriers to get nice, warm, fur muffs.

Flash forward over 200 years later to a little girl wearing her white muff to church every Sunday. I really miss that muff. Will someone please bring back the muff?

7 comments:

Dee said...

I'm pretty sure I had a white fluffy muff as a child, too. I must have worn it to church on Easter, since that was about the only day I stayed clean.

Na said...

I had one too! I wore it to church; on other days treated it like one of my stuffed toys (and probably in church too). Were you teased? My two older brothers mocked any attempt I made to imitate a lady.

Oh Dee, wasn't it hard to stay clean on Easter Sunday? How I hated that elastic band on my straw hat digging into my chin. I was frequently scolded for wriggling and fussing.

Amy (njgirl0976) said...

My mom has a beautiful brown muff in her hope chest that dates back to the early 1900s. When I was little, I used to sit on her bed and hold the muff like a little dog and say things in an imperious voice like "Bring me my juice!"
My sister and I are growling at each other already about who gets the muff when Mom bites it.

Susan Holloway Scott said...

You weren't the only one who remembers a long-ago white fur muff. We also talked about them, and muffs in general, last month. More pix, too!

http://tinyurl.com/yehqq5s

I'd never seen the Boucher painting on Catherine's post, either. I particularly liked how neatly the girl fell, so as to best display the bow on the front of her muff.

Bearded Lady said...

See it's not just me....there is something about muffs. They do make you feel very regal.

Catherine Delors said...

Thanks for the link, Carlyn! and another muff for you:

http://blog.catherinedelors.com/2009/11/19/marieantoinette-and-sleighs.aspx

sueanne said...

I had a soft white muff (probably rabbit:()as a child. I loved it! And my white gloves and Easter bonnet. I loved those days. I still love to wear hats!