Under the Crinoline Part 1 - Tudor England
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 1 – Tudor England
Let’s start in Tudor England, 1485 – 1603. Fashion dictated what people wore underneath their clothes, and was mostly a support system for the clothes themselves. The heavy extravagant gowns of the upper class required quite a support system, and even the lower classes wore several layers. Here are the most common types of underwear for the time:
-Stockings- Not your stretchy pantyhose of today, stockings were often wool or silk, and held up with garters.
-Chemise or Shift- Made of linen and worn next to the body, this was most often the only garment that was washed on a regular basis.
-Petticoat- This was basically an underskirt, often with ropes, reeds, or even whalebone sewn in to give stiffness and structure to the rest of the garments.
-Roll or Rowle- This was tied around the waist in substitute of a petticoat to make the skirt of the gown extend horizontally. Just imagine a Boppy pillow tied under your dress.
-Kirtle- Worn over the petticoat, the kirtle often had decorated or jeweled hems and showed around the neckline of the gown itself. The forepart of the kirtle worked similarly, and showed through the front split of the gown’s skirt. The kirtle also served for corset-like support, shaping the upper body with whalebones. Separate corsets were not seen until the very end of this time period.
Far from the simple bra and panties we wear today, just imagine how long it would take a woman to get dressed even with the help of a servant. Next time your man complains about waiting on you, just tell him he should be grateful for Victoria's Secret.
Check out our Pinterest board for this blog series: Pinterest - Under the Crinoline
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