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Quick summary:

  1. How was the small sword (or dress sword) fastened to the body?
  2. What are the different ways of wearing it?

Looking at many drawings from this period, a good bunch of them depicts men with small swords. But it is hard to notice how the sword was connected to their body. There usually is no belt (let alone a duty belt). See for example here or here. Next, probably two connections are needed to make the blade have a nice 45° angle.

IF a belt was used under the waistcoat, why was it worn under and not over the waistcoat? People in those times surely could create nice belts with nice buckles to give a great overall picture.

Most notably from the first picture: The sword is really more on the back than on the side. So this seems to be more ceremonial, because it would have taken much too long to take the sword. On the other drawing we see it more on the side. So how did people decide where to put it?
I assume, that for the side option, the longer part of the blade was somewhere in the frills of the justaucorps. While for the back option, it goes through the cut in the back?

Have people in those times used different angles for the sword? Like more downward, so that one could navigate easier in larger crowds?

Update

The way of wearing the sword surely evolved over time and possibly changed within or before/after the 18th century. Answers are allowed and even encouraged to put things into their appropiate context and include such info.

One comment suggests, that this question is a red herring and there are way too many ways of wearing the small sword.
First: I thihk, there were rules on this. At those times, there were many rules for etiquette like things (like how to lift your tricorne). There were also rules on when not to wear the small sword, etc. So I doubt that there were no rules on how to wear it.
Second: Assuming there were a lot of variants (I can imagine that things changed over time), then a good answer could reference some more common forms and give some evidence on not so common ones or the like.

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the sword is not worn in those pictures, so the belt isn't worn either :) –  jwenting May 7 '13 at 5:55
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"very carefully" was the first thought that crept into my head :) –  coleopterist Jun 8 '13 at 7:06
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I believe they were meant to be hidden under the ribs of the opponent. –  Darek Wędrychowski Jul 8 '13 at 13:22
    
I think this question is a red herring: We have no proof that there was any particular way of wearing such a sword: there may have been many customs, depending on time and place, and simple questions of practicality, convenience and social context that meant that it was worn in many different ways at different times. Consider today's backback or a womans's purse - sometimes on the back, sometimes the shoulder, sometimes held on the arm, etc. –  user2590 Sep 17 '13 at 19:55
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@Vector First: I thihk, there were rules on this. At those times, there were many rules for etiquette like things (like how to lift your tricorne). There were also rules on when not to wear the small sword, etc. So I doubt that there were no rules on how to wear it. Second: Assuming you're right and there were a lot of variants (I can imagine that things changed), then a good answer could reference some more common forms and give some evidence on not so common ones or the like. I even asked for variants. And I highly doubt, that there are no sources on this. Just I am unable to find them. –  Elrond Sep 21 '13 at 12:17

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted
+25

Normally a sword is worn from a sash or belt worn across the shoulder, known as a baldric. The scabbard is attached to the belt by a contraption of strings and leather known as a frog. In some cases scabbards were made with eyes. In this case, only a cord is needed to hang it from the belt, or it can be hung directly on a shoulder strap. In some cases, especially with military uniforms, the frog was converted into a just a loop that was an integral part of the belt. An example of this is the typical British "Redcoat"'s baldric, which was white:

british baldricbelt 1740s

This baldric (on the left) is a modern reproduction of the type of baldric used by British soldiers during the War of the American Revolution (1770s). The frog is just a loop at the bottom. Swords can be hung off a waist belt, but that is less common. An example is shown in the belt on the right which is a reproduction of a type of sword belt used in the 1740s.

In some cases, no sword, but a bayonet would be held in the frog. Here is an example:

bayonet

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You are mostly referencing military things. That's fine. I was mostly interested in civil use. I admit not saying so explicitly in my question (only implicitly by not talking about military and showing civil examples). I think, a small sword/dress sword was seldom used in military? That said, multiple issues have been raised in comments and in the main question. For example this was suggested: "Ribbons sewn into the coat were used for hanging swords in the first half of the 17th century." Could you try to address most of them as well? –  Elrond Apr 13 at 15:50
    
@Elrond The basic type of belts for wearing a sword are the same for any kind of use, military or civilian. While it is possible to hang an eyed scabbard from a ribbon (see my comment on cords in the answer), that would be quite a dandy thing to do, and would not be usual. –  Tyler Durden Apr 13 at 16:13
    
Thanks. Do you know, why the baldric was worn (invisible) under the waist coat in many cases (like in my example pictures)? Could you also comment on the "red herring"? –  Elrond Apr 14 at 11:34
    
For a portrait like that the subject would use a sword belt, more like my second photograph. These are sometimes called "girdles". The problem with a girdle is that it tends to fall down. I don't see the question as being ambiguous or unanswerable. –  Tyler Durden Apr 14 at 15:20
    
(My bad, didn't get to a machine, so that was only an auto-awarded bounty :-( ) –  Elrond Apr 19 at 19:54

There was a sling worn either under or over the jacket, with the scabbard of the sword attached to the low end. swords have been worn like that for millenia. Why would they change that in the last years of the use of swords? besides, it looks classy.

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This answer could be improved with references. –  DVK May 10 '13 at 19:38
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This answer is likely incorrect or incomplete. Ribbons sewn into the coat were used for hanging swords in the first half of the 17th century. I'm trying to run down if it was still the fashion during the heyday of the smallsword (1670-1770 or so) –  RI Swamp Yankee Jun 11 '13 at 13:43
    
@RI Swamp Yankee: Do you mean the waist coat or the justaucorps? Do you have any quick sources (as in: I want to get an idea, how this might look like) on this? Maybe you could put those parts in a "slightly off topic answer" or we change the question to include "How did this evolve from previous techniques?". –  Elrond Jun 15 '13 at 21:17

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