Saturday, July 1, 2017

Underpinnings for a Victorian Lady

Building from the inner clothing to achieve the Victorian Silhouette

Undergarments were known as underpinnings.  The definition of underpinnings is a system of support  Underpinnings are the foundation of a house.  In other words, "to build in layers to get the ideal support".

Your silhouette is important to create the general shape or outline of your dress and structure as a refined society lady. Every exquisite gown should have a beautiful set of underpinnings to complete the silhouette of high society. Descriptions of drawers, chemise, petticoat, corset, corset cover, and bustle are enclosed to help you build your foundation.


Let's build your look

An undergarment that is usually crotch-less and made of bright white cotton adorned with lace.

Chemise can come in different lengths. The short version to the waist is the most common. Also was worn to the knee or even to the ground (and would have included the Petticoat). Chemise is worn under the corset to help from pitching of the skin and to keep the corset clean from skin residue.

A slip or underskirt that is often full and trimmed with ruffles and lace (also known as pettiskirt). Usually cotton but also made in wool, flannel and other period fabrics. The proper fit on a petticoat is 2 inches above the length of your skirt as to not show. These can close with a button as well as string tied.

The corset is a close-fitting undergarment. It is stiffened with whalebone or metal. It is often capable of being tightened by lacing in the back. Worn by women to show a shape and support of the body. A tiny waist was the utmost in Victorian Fashion!

Corset cover:
It is worn to shield from body oil, perspiration and to prevent the boning of the corset from showing through the clothing. Corsets were an expensive garment to have and corset covers were worn to protect them.

It is a type of frame used to expand the fullness and to support the drapery at the back of the women's dress. First known use was 1786. There are many varieties of a bustle including pads similar to a small pillow, collapsible metal frames, a boned frame-work, etc.

Stockings must always be worn and high up to the knee not to show any part of the skin. Keep the colors soft and if possible coordinate color with your dress or wear neutrals.

 This will complete your Silhouette as a refined, high-society Victorian lady. As a side note, when dressing, put your shoes, stockings and even your hat on before your corset. It’s hard to bend and stretch with a corset on!

Submitted by Margarita Rose