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Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger


One of the things the Victorian era saw, Fashionable Reader, was an exploration of that liminal space through casual around the house wear.

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Wrapper 1855  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Here we have the wrapper that was only meant to be seen by family.

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Dressing Gown  early 1870s The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Dressing Gown  1875  The Kyoto Costume Institute

 Dressing gowns, banyans and wrappers are often quilted all or in part.

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Wrapper early 1860s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

One of the signs of a wrapper is that the waist is designed to be loose or tied tight. Often they split up the front, like a carriage dress or a robe so they can be pulled over a nightgown or underpinnings, like a dressing down but slightly more tailored. Still NOT designed to be worn over a corset.


Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Peignoir 1860-1865  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Peignoir  1880s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 Peignoir seems to be a catch all term.

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Morning Dress  1860  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Morning dresses were initially gowns for the breakfast table that did not require a corset.They're characterize by a looser top lots of details in the neck and sleeves.

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Morning Dress  1872-1873  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

One of the things we see evolving (and limits being tested) after the 1950s through the 1900s is the idea of what was not meant to be seen (undergarments and nightgowns) to what was initially only meant to be seen by family or lovers (wrappers & peignoirs) to receiving casual around house guests at breakfast (morning dresses) to I'm comfortable at home and I want to show my wealth with yet another space & occasion specific outfit (the tea gown).

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Tea Gown  late 1870s  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Tea gowns were an evolution of the morning gown.

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Tea Gown  1875  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Tea Gown  1875-1880  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
1Harpers Bazar New York Sat June 13 1891 Dressing Gowns Nightshirts

This evolution is coupled with the rise of the middle class, the sexual revolution (including contraception and woman's suffrage) and various other factors.

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Bed Jacket  1885  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Dressing Jacket  1885-1890  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 We see a culmination in this towards the turn of the century in the popularity of (and wide-scale use of the word) negligées and lingerie sets, which specifically implies an article of clothing that is sexual in its nature for it is meant to be seen by a lover.

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Negligée  1880  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This kind of clothing, prior to the first sexual revolution, would not have been acceptable for a fashion house to make, let alone a fashionable lady to purchase.

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Negligée Callot Soeurs, 1898-1900s The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail CarrigerRelaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Lingerie Set  1880s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

There was also head wear that was designed to be worn exclusively around the house, but that's a whole other story...

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
House Cap 1900  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Primrose!

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Boudoir Cap 1895 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
nightgown 1894  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail Carriger
Dressing Gown  1897-1899  The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can shop my recommendations via the following lists:
Steampunk, Retro Jewelry, Makeup, Retro Clothes, Lifestyle


Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I get a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)



The third book in my Custard Protocol series is out now!  This book is set in the mid 1890s and I have concocted a pictorial guide to a possible outfit that a young lady of Prim's rank might wear during this time period.

The images run with what she would need to put on, in order. Ready? Here we go...

On the bottom half:


Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
1. 1890  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
2. 1890s Stockings The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
3. 1899 Garters  1899  The Chicago History Museum

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
4. 1895-1905 Oxfords   The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 Note that shoes have to go on early? Well before the corset and also the rest of the dress for bending and hemming reasons.


Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
Combination  1890s  The Metropolitan Museum of Ar

Combinations are a hard one for me, as an author. Because they were totally UBIQUITOUS undergarments at the time of the Custard Protocol books. They were the most common form of underwear. However, the name and the concept is entirely lost to the modern mind set. Most of my readers would have no basis for comparison should I drop the word "combination" into, for example, a shape change or a nookie scene. I must, therefore, use the word in correct context so as to make it clear that is what the character is wearing. Or have it described to another foriegn character. And yet, it's not something that would be described. So I have to have said foreigner describe it and everyone else get embarrassed. Oh! I like that. Forget I said anything, OK?

On the upper half:


Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
Bust Improvers  1890s  Whitaker Auction

Prim wouldn't need these, but I include them because I think its so fun that they exist at all!

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
5. Camisol  1895-1905  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
6. 1893  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
7. Sleeve Supports  1890s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

And over the top:

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
8. 1895  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
9. 1894 Evening Dress  Charles Fredrick Worth, 1894  The Kyoto Costume Institute

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
10. 1890s  The Goldstein Museum of Design

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
11. 1895-1905  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
12. Muff and Hat  1890s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Alternatively, here's a look at more sporty options...


Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
Stockings  1890s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
Combinations undergarment, England, 1875 - 1900

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
Corset 1890s Summer Corset   The Victoria & Albert Museu

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
Corset Cover  1895-1900  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

And sportswear on the outside:


Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
Gym Suit  1895-1899  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
Cycling Ensemble  1895  The Kyoto Costume Institute

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
Shirtwaist 1894 The Museum at FIT _ OMG that dress!

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
1890s Under The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
Travel Suit  Jacques Doucet, 1895  The Victoria & Albert Museum

You don't have to take the pictures as proof. Here's some research to back it up...

Gwen Raverat at the end of the century describes the modest dress of a respectable female.

"Women were incredibly modest . . .  even with each other. You could see a friend in her petticoat, but nothing below that was considered decent. At school, the sidht of a person in her white frilly drawers caused shrieks of outraged virtue; and I should have thought it impossible to be seen downstairs in my dressing-gown."

~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. 269)

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
americangothgirl-tumblr Catalog Photographs, Front and Back Views of Woman In Corset, c. 1880s. Albumen Prints

"This is what a young lady wore, with whom I shared a room one night...

  1. Thick, long-legged woolen combinations.
  2. Over them, white cotton combinations, with plenty of buttons and frills.
  3. Very serious, bony, grey stays, with suspenders.
  4. Black woolen stockings.
  5. White cotton drawers, with buttons and frills.
  6. White cotton 'petticoat-bodice', with embroidery, buttons and frills.
  7. Rather short, white flannel, petticoat.
  8. Long alpaca petticoat, with a flounce round the bottom.
  9. Pink flannel blouse.
  10. High, starched, white collar, fastened on with studs.
  11. Navy blue tie.
  12. Blue skirt, touching the ground, and fastened tightly to the blouse with a safety-pin behind.
  13. Leather belt, very tight.
  14. High button boots."
  ~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. 269)

Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
Undergarments ca. 1900-03  From the FIDM Museum


Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)Competence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)
 1898 Walking Suit, House of Worth, French, Made of silk and lace


Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can shop my recommendations via the following lists:
Steampunk, Retro Jewelry, Makeup, Retro Clothes, Lifestyle


Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I get a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

The Evolution of the Stocking: History of Victorian Undergarments Series from Gail Carriger


My dear fashionable reader, just some fun today on the evolution of the lowly stocking...

The Evolution of the Stocking: History of Victorian Undergarments Series from Gail Carriger


“Stockings, originally designed for practical purposes, soon transformed into a fashionable accessory with the invention of the knitting frame in 1589 and then the circular-knitting machine in 1816. This technology allowed for a tighter weave and a better fit. Also, it was much easier to produce stockings, making them more affordable and readily available to a larger public. Plain white stockings were in mode for quite some time, until the mid to late-1800s when hemlines rose, and the ankle was revealed. This change in fashion called for colorful and fanciful motifs to decorate the lower leg, a visually appealing effect.


~ From A Brief History of Stockings

The Evolution of the Stocking: History of Victorian Undergarments Series from Gail Carriger
 Stockings  1788-1793  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

"The flirtatious and vibrant colors of this pair of stockings increases their value, making them an accessory of interest. The two colors used, enhanced by the two-color embroidery pattern creates an elaborate sensibility. The period from 1890-1899 was known as the “Naughty Nineties” and this pair of stockings is a testament to the frivolous fun women had with their dress.”


~ From A Brief History of Stockings

For Preshea in Poison or Protect...



The Evolution of the Stocking: History of Victorian Undergarments Series from Gail Carriger
1860 Stockings  1860s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

"In buying stockings, whether silk or cotton, you will find it cheapest in the end, to get those of the best English manufacture, particularly those of fine quality. For winter, and to wear with boots, English stockings of unbleached cotton are very comfortable, feeling warmer than those that are perfectly white. It is to be lamented that all black stockings (even of silk) are painful and injurious to the feet, the copperas dye being poisonous."

~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (1864)


For Ivy in the Parasol Protectorate Series...

The Evolution of the Stocking: History of Victorian Undergarments Series from Gail Carriger
 Stockings  1870  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Alexia in the Parasol Protectorate Series...

The Evolution of the Stocking: History of Victorian Undergarments Series from Gail Carriger
 Stockings  1873  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Imogene in Romancing the Inventor...


The Evolution of the Stocking: History of Victorian Undergarments Series from Gail Carriger
 Stockings  1880-1899  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Primrose in the Custard Protocol Series...


The Evolution of the Stocking: History of Victorian Undergarments Series from Gail Carriger
Stockings  1890s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Evolution of the Stocking: History of Victorian Undergarments Series from Gail Carriger
Garters 1899 The Chicago History Museum

For Gail...


The Evolution of the Stocking: History of Victorian Undergarments Series from Gail Carriger
Stockings  1910-1917  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Evolution of the Stocking: History of Victorian Undergarments Series from Gail Carriger
 Garter  Lucile, 1914  The Victoria & Albert Museum

From the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue:

LOUSE LADDER. A stitch fallen in a stocking. (AKA a run)

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.
Relaxing Victorians: Casual Wear From Unseen to Seen to Seen by Only a Few ~ Wrappers & Peignoirs & Dressing Gowns to Morning Dresses & Tea Gowns to Lingerie from Gail CarrigerCompetence DVD Extras: Dressing Primrose From the Foundation Up (Gail Carriger's Research Behind the Custard Protocol Series)Dressing Primrose for the Boudoir for Competence (Research Behind Gail Carriger's Custard Protocol Series)The Evolution of the Stocking: History of Victorian Undergarments Series from Gail CarrigerDressing Sophronia from the Corset Up (Finishing School Series) with Gail CarrigerOld Corsets and a New Rack with Gail Carriger ~ Steampunk, Modification, Breast ReductionThe Evolution of the Slip (Petticoat, Undershirt, Underskirt, Chemise, Shift)Gail Carriger's New Acquisitions ~ Eshakti Meets The Updated RackThen & Now ~ Flowered TankDressing Prudence From the Foundation Up, Custard Protocol Special Extras with Gail Carriger

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