Under the Crinoline Part 2 - Colonial America
Underwear. We take it for granted. It’s a normal part of our everyday lives, and quite often peeks out as part of our wardrobe. In photography, we often pay tribute to time periods long gone, when women were finally able to show off their garters and their femininity. But how did we get the undergarments we know and love? It all had to start somewhere, right? Grab your flux capacitor for a journey back in time, to explore the history of underwear with our blog series, Under the Crinoline.
Part 2 – Colonial America
For the second part of Under the Crinoline, we travel to colonial America, from 1607 to 1776. People from all over Europe were coming to America, many of them to escape religious persecution and heavy-handed governments. A lady was nevertheless appropriately dressed.
-Shift – Pretty much the same as what we described for Tudor England, this was made of plain cotton or linen and worn next to the body. Typically, women didn’t wear any sort of underdrawers.
-Stays – The predecessor of the corset, the stays were not for uplifting and accentuating the bust so much as support and posture. Even children wore them to develop their posture. Colonists were aware that lacing their stays too tight could cause injury, and often criticized those who did so for fashion.
-Pocket – Women in colonial America did not carry around Coach purses or tuck their money in the back of their Levi’s. The pocket was tied on after the stays, and could be accessed through a hole in the skirt of the gown. The very first fanny pack!
-Hoops – Tied on over the corset and shift, these provided shape to the skirt, but didn’t push it as far out horizontally as those of Tudor England.
-Petticoats – Often there were two layers of petticoats. The first was for warmth and volume, and the second for fashion since it was visible underneath the gown.
-Gown – While we are mostly concentrating on underwear, we can’t help but share this fascinating fact: Gowns were fastened with straight pins! The two halves of the gown were pinned together in the front, with the sharp ends buried in the layers of clothing. It provided a neat and tidy closure, and allowed for clothes to be more adjustable.
A far cry from running to Walmart in your yoga pants!
Check out our Pinterest board for this blog series: Pinterest - Under the Crinoline Part 2 - Colonial America
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