Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Early 1900s Lingerie Dress for Hot Summer Days

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Loretta reports:

It’s steamy weather in New England. Nowadays when temperatures soar, we shed layers of clothing. Depending on our age and fashion sense, we wear not only fewer clothes, but skimpier ones: short sleeves or no sleeves, short skirts, short shorts.

This was not the case in times past. An Edwardian lady would faint dead away if someone proposed she go out of her bedroom, let alone go out in public, with her limbs exposed. Same goes for her predecessors.

As Isabella/Susan has shown in dress posts here and here, the solution in the past was lighter weight, airier materials.
For the late Victorian and Edwardian eras and continuing into the 1920s, the solution was the lingerie dress. During a visit to the American Textile History Museum in Lowell Massachusetts for Astrida Schaeffer's talk, Mentioning Unmentionables, I took photos of this fine example of a lingerie dress from the museum's collection.

I’m posting the information card from the museum, but you can find out a great deal more about lingerie dresses from this post at On Pins and Needles, which includes some lovely illustrations.

A few more examples:
1913  here
1915  here

1917  here
The dress, dated 1904-07, is the gift of Michelle Whitlow. It belonged to the estate of her great grandmother, Miriam Olive Hill.

Please click on images to enlarge.


Smith said...

love the dress

Elena Jardiniz said...

These are lovely! And if they're linen rather than cotton (and from the way they drape they might be) they are probably much cooler and more comfortable than any modern clothing.

I have found, now that I belong to the SCA and we strongly encourage dressing in period garb, that even cheap linen is absolutely WONDERFUL fabric. It breathes much better than cotton since the fibers do not swell when wet (which is why a tee shirt really is not that cool, even if it is 100% cotton) and when dry is warmer than cotton fabric of the same weight.

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