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 18th Century undergarments 
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Duc/Duchesse
Duc/Duchesse
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:27 am
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Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Post 18th Century undergarments
To All,
Does anyone know if a European lady of the latter half of the 18th century would have worn a slip or pantaloons under her dress? Perhaps they would have worn something else that I am not familiar with? If you have any info on this subject, I would be very grateful if you would share it with us.

Sincerely,
Ray

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"...little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her...I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult."
Edmund Burke, (1790)


Sat Sep 13, 2008 5:19 am
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Duc/Duchesse
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:14 pm
Posts: 179
Post Re: 18th Century undergarments
An lady in the later half of the 18th century would have worn a shift, stockings, stays, panniers (or whatever the dress support at the time was). Here is an image of complete underwear from 1778. There was nothing that covered the crotch in the way that our underwear today or drawers of the 19th century did.

During the 1790s, underwear underwent a major change to deal with the changing shape of fashion. Stays were abandoned. Some daring ladies went au naturel, others wore a thin linen bodice that was quite equivalent to a modern bra. Most women still wore a shift under their dresses, but some of the scandalous ladies of the Directoire did not. Stockings were still in, but the same scandalous ladies wore flesh-colored tights. There was still a bit of padding and support at the back during the mid 1790s to achieve the rounded shape of the round gown, but by 1800 that had disappeared to form the smooth empire silhouette.


Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:08 am
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Duc/Duchesse
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:27 am
Posts: 175
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Post Re: 18th Century undergarments
Dear dreamoutloud,
Thank you so much for the information and the link to that much needed picture! What exactly was a 'stay'? In my story so far, I just said that she had on a corset and a slip. Could this combination of terms be comparable to the picture? I am also worried about modern readers being able to relate to the terminology unless I am able to explain/describe it properly. Thank you SO much for helping! :)

Gratefully,
Ray

_________________
"...little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her...I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult."
Edmund Burke, (1790)


Sun Sep 14, 2008 3:48 am
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Duc/Duchesse
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:14 pm
Posts: 179
Post Re: 18th Century undergarments
Stays (always in plural) was the 18th century word for corset. You can say corset, though that is more 19th century terminology. It refers more specifically and conjures the image of the victorian hourglass corset, whereas (as you can see) 18th century stays were more.... ice cream cone shaped.


Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:20 am
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