So, Fashionable Reader, I have concocted a pictorial guide to possible outfits that a young lady of Prim’s rank might wear during this time period.
The images run with what she would need to put on, in order. Ready? Here we go…
On the bottom half:
|1. 1890 The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
|2. 1890s Stockings The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
|3. 1899 Garters 1899 The Chicago History Museum|
|4. 1895-1905 Oxfords The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
Note that shoes have to go on early? Well before the corset and also the rest of the dress for bending and hemming reasons.
|Combination 1890s The Metropolitan Museum of Ar|
Combinations are a hard one for me, as an author.
Because they were ubiquitous undergarments at the time of the Custard Protocol books. They were the most common form of underwear.
However, the name and the concept is entirely lost to the modern mind set. Most of my readers would have no basis for comparison should I drop the word “combination” into, for example, a shape change or a nookie scene. I must, therefore, use the word in correct context so as to make it clear that is what the character is wearing. Or have it described to a foreign character. And yet, it’s not something that would be described. Sigh. Challenging.
On the upper half:
|Bust Improvers 1890s Whitaker Auction|
Prim wouldn’t need these, but I include them because I think its fun that they exist at all!
|5. Camisol 1895-1905 The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
|6. 1893 The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
|7. Sleeve Supports 1890s The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
And over the top:
|8. 1895 The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
|9. 1894 Evening Dress Charles Fredrick Worth, 1894 The Kyoto Costume Institute|
|10. 1890s The Goldstein Museum of Design|
|11. 1895-1905 The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
|12. Muff and Hat 1890s The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
Alternatively, here’s a look at more sporty options…
|Stockings 1890s The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
|Combinations undergarment, England, 1875 – 1900|
|Corset 1890s Summer Corset The Victoria & Albert Museu|
|Corset Cover 1895-1900 The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
And sportswear on the outside:
|Shirtwaist 1894 The Museum at FIT _ OMG that dress!|
|1890s Under The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
|Travel Suit Jacques Doucet, 1895 The Victoria & Albert Museum|
You don’t have to take the pictures as proof. Here’s some research to back it up…
Gwen Raverat at the end of the century describes the modest dress of a respectable female.
“Women were incredibly modest . . . even with each other. You could see a friend in her petticoat, but nothing below that was considered decent. At school, the sidht of a person in her white frilly drawers caused shrieks of outraged virtue; and I should have thought it impossible to be seen downstairs in my dressing-gown.”
~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. 269)
|americangothgirl-tumblr Catalog Photographs, Front and Back Views of Woman In Corset, c. 1880s. Albumen Prints|
“This is what a young lady wore, with whom I shared a room one night…
- Thick, long-legged woolen combinations.
- Over them, white cotton combinations, with plenty of buttons and frills.
- Very serious, bony, grey stays, with suspenders.
- Black woolen stockings.
- White cotton drawers, with buttons and frills.
- White cotton ‘petticoat-bodice’, with embroidery, buttons and frills.
- Rather short, white flannel, petticoat.
- Long alpaca petticoat, with a flounce round the bottom.
- Pink flannel blouse.
- High, starched, white collar, fastened on with studs.
- Navy blue tie.
- Blue skirt, touching the ground, and fastened tightly to the blouse with a safety-pin behind.
- Leather belt, very tight.
- High button boots.”
~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. 269)
|Undergarments ca. 1900-03 From the FIDM Museum|
1898 Walking Suit, House of Worth, French, Made of silk and lace
For the Boudoir!
How about an alternate more sexy arrangement of underthings layer…
Here’s the first layer:
|Brassiere 1910s The Metropolitan Museum of Art copy|
|Drawers 1900s The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston|
|Garter 1875-1825 The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
|Stocking 1860 Les Arts Décoratifs|
Over that would go the next layer of these items:
|Corset 1900 The Metropolitan Museum of Art copy|
|Corset Cover 1910s Antique Dress|
|Chemisette, Undersleeves, and Handkerchief 1860s The Metropolitan Museum of Art copy|
Over all of this she might wear this:
|Negligee, 1908 From the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague|
|Dressing Gown 1897-1900 The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
OK I know that’s a lot of research but you know how I feel about clothing!
This post originally appeared in two parts over on Retro Rack.
Yours in fluffy dresses,
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