Saturday, 23 June 2007



One of the peculiarities of writing historical fiction is getting into your characters' underwear. One doesn't generally need to go there too often, of course, but one likes to be accurate. I recently came across this piece in the Times "1857 anniversary supplement" which features modern journalists trying on Victorian garb. I particularly like the line "A strange and indecent airiness swirls about my bloomered lower half", although I suspect, from the description of crotchless leg-covering undergarments, the items in question are "drawers", whereas 1850s "bloomers" were Mrs. Bloomer's "rational dress" - ie. a form of female trouser. Further mooching round the web led me to this site, The Ladies Treasury, which I think is the most practical guide I've come across. For the Victorian opinion of ladies in Mrs. Bloomer's trousers (as opposed to drawers, which also had their critics, if I recall correctly), see here ... not a good idea, apparently ...