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squarepicMyths about Victorian clothing can be pervasive. Here, Lisha sets us straight on 9 common misgivings about Victorian dress.

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YES!
Absolutely fantastic. There's a myth circulating around the interwebs now that thousands of women died when their skirts (worn over enormous hoopskirts) brushed against a stove or fireplace and caught on fire. The photo used to illustrate this nonsense is the same spoof photo you've used here! When I did 1860s reenacting, I was often stopped in summer and asked how I could stand the heat, and I told gals in tank tops and shorts that I was much cooler than they were, as I was in natural fiber clothing with no sun striking my skin and a breeze blowing up my hoopskirt! I think most people get their "information" from movies and silly books. Well written and enjoyable piece. Thank you!
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I'm so glad you enjoyed the article! I think part of the problem is the uninitiated looking at these things through a modern lens. Today, fashion has become so casual that any fancy dress is a cocktail or evening gown, worn for special occasions only. So when someone looks at an elaborate Victorian dress, that's the only thing they know to compare it to. And since we don't have rules like, "no bosom or elbows before dinnertime," they don't realize that a Victorian evening gown looked vastly different from a day dress. The same thing happens when they see a white silk dress with a bit of lace--it must be a wedding gown, right? . . . Wrong!

People make assumptions based on what they know, but unfortunately, those assumptions don't hold up when you take Victorian practices into consideration. And you're right, movies and novels don't always get the details right, so they're spreading misconceptions. (And I'll get off my soapbox now, LOL!)

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jenniechancey
[quote name="Lisha_Vidler"People make assumptions based on what they know, but unfortunately, those assumptions don't hold up when you take Victorian practices into consideration. And you're right, movies and novels don't always get the details right, so they're spreading misconceptions. (And I'll get off my soapbox now, LOL!)

Bingo! When I talk about historical fashion, I often point out that you have to put on another pair of "glasses" and try to see things from the perspective of the time period (which really only comes through a lot of reading of period accounts, letters, diaries, etc.)--NOT from watching modern movies, which often have a negative take on fashions of the time OR a Disney-esque approach that makes the costuming into a spoof of history. :-P

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