Women’s Panties In The 19th Century

Not to be confused with corsets.

Panties, or more correctly called “drawers”, “pantalettes”, or “bloomers” by the mid 19th century woman, were much like they are today and not attached to their corsets.

The idea of wearing frilly drawers (or frilly anything ) out of the public eye was so impractical to the American woman of the 1840s that while she did indulge in wearing a beautiful satin corset from time to time, her drawers were solid color and almost always made of cotton.

Calling them “knickers”.

A book written by Washington Irving in 1809, under the pen name Diedrick Knickerbocker, was very popular and featured illustrations of short pants that soon became known by the last name he was using – knickerbockers.

Women in the 1820s began wearing knickerbockers themselves, shortening the name to knickers, underneath the hooped-cage crinolines which made their skirts big, wide and very open. To keep their dignity, ladies had little choice than to steal the idea of the knickerbockers. And their knickers worked very well.

What my ladies wear.  

Both Margaret and her mother, Connie, refused to wear corsets. They were not fashionable in their Mexican village, and since both women had tiny waistlines, there was simply no need.

However, they did have their drawers, or knickers which becomes the new term used during the timeframe of the story, specially made of fine satin, lace and even very soft wool.

In addition to refusing to wear corsets, Margaret and Connie also shunned the hooped-cage crinolines, mentioned above, and in so doing avoided the enormous “puddle” of muslin or satin when they sat down.

Staying with history and straying from history.

CounterClockwise is fiction. And so I can do many things my own way and in the ways that I believe my characters would prefer to do as well.

Period settings are accurate, of course. Just as I can’t have cars driving by – not even a DeLorean with Doc Brown at the wheel – whatever fashion my ladies wear must be styles they would have thought about at the time and that their dressmakers could create for them.

Fashion history notables such as Elizabeth Miller (who designed the first actual trousers worn by women) and Amelia Bloomer (who made those trousers famous by favoring them herself) come into the story to give it fun and flavor.

“There’s nothing a man loves more than a pretty woman wearing pretty panties – and nothing else.” Find out which one of my ladies says that to a lucky guy in this series!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. cheryl says:

    Geezus you always bring in something smart and cool. LOVE you and your work!!!


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