Hi, friends. The harshness of the weather may vary depending on your location, but in the southern US, winter has been brutal. Several inches of snow last week gave me a lot of time to read, watch movies, and think (be lazy).
I’m a huge fan of Victorian novels (British, mid to late 1800’s, often bildungsroman). I’ve published a book showing here for Jane Eyre, I’m wrapping up a post about David Copperfield, and I’m currently reading The Portrait of a Lady. [Not to worry if those don’t interest you, as I’ve also read a graphic novel, southern lit, and a dystopian fiction recently. And I’m planning posts unrelated to books.]
When my water was frozen for an entire week earlier this month, and I had to become selective with my toilet flushes, I thought how blessed we are in modern times with our advanced water systems. The heroes and heroines in my favorite books used chamber pots under their beds for toilets, and some poor servant likely emptied it every day. Today, I thought of how I dress in cold weather and pondered how I would’ve dressed as a Victorian lady.
As I researched the dress in the mid to late nineteenth century, I realized that their technique is just like ours today: layering. On a cold day in 2018, I might wear a tank top, a shirt, a sweater, pants, a coat, a scarf, a hat, and gloves. In the 1800’s, even on a normal day, a woman wore a chemise (shapeless garment with drawstring necktie), a corset, an under petticoat (could be multiplied), a hoop skirt, a petticoat, and a dress. Both sexes usually wore hats and gloves in public. Women could layer their under petticoats and add an outer coat during winter.
Modern Ladies vs. Victorian Ladies in Winter
I’m glad I won’t suffer the medical consequences of chronic corset wearing, but being partial to glamour, I slightly envy the luxurious fashions of the past.
Thanks for reading, and stay warm!