Friday 21 July 2023

July Fashion Friday

 While everyone is working on getting our Days of Yore camp ready to go an often asked question is how did Victorians dress during the heat of Summer.  Days of Yore is usually very hot indeed so we have to keep it in mind.

Gentlemen were allowed to dispense with coat and waistcoat when working. Although they usually kept those items close to hand in case the boss came by and when travelling back and forth to work. Ladies, however had more constraints due to "propriety" but also simply fashion. To get the correct fashionable silhouette requires many layers so how did they handle the heat?

This fashion business was less of an issue out here in the West of course, but the propriety element was certainly still there. The result was the "Little House on the Prairie" effect. The main anachronism in the TV style is that the mother is not wearing a corset, she almost certainly would have been as there was still a need for support.

The promo pic is also missing the needed bonnets that would have always been worn when outside.

Most photographs of the period show people "dressed up" for business,  travel, and simply being in public, not necessarily for everyday work around the house, yard or fields. So it is tougher to find what people generally wore in the heat of Summer.

However the reenactor community has re-discovered how to handle it and  here are several links to interesting discussions on that very subject.  


Victorian Clothing Through the Seasons

"During the Victorian era many layers of clothing were required to achieve a fashionable silhouette and women wore dresses all year round. These facts have helped to feed misconceptions about Victorian clothing and often overshadow the logical solutions Victorian women used to regulate their body temperature and stay comfortable regardless of the weather."

Lots of photos here.

Victorian Clothing and the Heat of Summer

Our ancestors didn’t know about air conditioning, and wearing only a camisole (aka t-shirt) and men’s trousers (aka pants or shorts) would have been beyond scandalous. They couldn’t even imagine NOT being dressed in a proper chemise, drawers and petticoats then the dress (usually skirt and bodice) on top.

That’s simply how clothing was worn in the 19th century.

PLUS…. and people forget this…. the fabric used was natural – cotton and linen. Thin fabrics that breathe and keep you cool in the heat.

The comments below this post have lots of insight to the practicality of Victorian styles to today's reenactors.

And finally a fun video on the "Old West".

The Victorian Society of Alberta

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