Buried at the end of this article on the recent discovery of the oldest bra in the world is a little fun fact about panties: only men and prostitutes wore them during the Middle Ages. [via]
bras, lingerie, panties
Why prostitutes? I want to know more!
is really interesting@n
I love that one of the experts thinks the bra "may have been handmade." Well no shit guy, it was the 15th century.
So you just ventilated your business all the time?
@Pocket Witch And I'm guessing without tampons/pads, ventilating their business meant a lot of menstrual blood on clothes and furniture. Yikes.
@Pocket Witch I think they had pantaloons or things like that.
Also they had rags they wore for menstruation, but they weren't necessarily worn in panties as we understand them.
@olivebee Is it true or not that petticoats were first worn for this purpose? It seems like it might not be true, but I'm also totally willing to believe it.
Also! Wikipedia insists on calling that garment "pantalettes", and here's what they say about it. Really only in the early 19th century did they come about.
@keristars Boo, I got your awesome comment in my email but it isn't showing up here. (I think you have too many links).
I knew they were split; I have a modern pair that a friend made me for the Renaissance festival and I keep wishing they were more historically accurate because then they would be easier to pee in (it is very hard to hike up your skirt and pull down your undergarments, especially when constrained by a corset/bodice!).
@olivebee - @keristars mentioned that some women don't bleed much, and if you consider a slightly later average age of menarche, plus more time spent pregnant and/or nursing, that's a lot of time not menstruating. Still messy though.
I sure as hell do. DOWN WITH UNDERWEAR! And especially the word "panties."
@olivebee This is why they need to keep the sanitary belt references in Are You There God, It's Me Margaret. The ladies who suffered through that shiz deserve to be remembered!
I've been curious about vintage undergarments recently (I like to know if my pr0N is historically accurate). My favorite discovery is that apparently when they started advertising undies with a crotch to average ladies they branded them as "step-in" clothing. I think before that the concern was that anything between a lady's legs, even just chonies, was considered untoward.
Oh, damn, I didn't even think it'd get hidden because the links didn't translate to actual links! And there were only 2! (and then yesterday super busy, so.) Maybe The Hairpin has a hate-on for the amazing Old Rags Tumblr.
Here it is again, with fake links:
Actually, no! Pantaloons as you're probably thinking of them weren't worn until the late 18th century at the earliest - and they were basically loose leg coverings, all open in the middle. This is for various reasons, but it was a way of keeping the fabric around the legs without a full-on thick petticoat (take a look at Regency vs Marie Antionette fashions).
Prior to that, yeah, you went around with a breeze.
Petticoats are just skirts. You guys should look at http://oldrags.tumblr.com/ for the fashions. This is a petticoat + robe: OLDRAGS/post/34191008409/court-dress-and-petticoat-robe-a-la-francaise - note how the petticoat is the same fabric as the robe (the upper part of the dress). You could layer lots and lots of petticoats for warmth and thickness, and they didn't always match the upper dress so well - in this case, it's a formal dress, so it does.
But anyway, "petticoat" basically means "skirt" and pantaloons weren't worn until fairly recently, and the idea of them being closed up - well, that didn't happen for another hundred years or so. (Just think of how much work it would be to pull them down with the weight of all those clothes! Much easier to just open the split in the middle and squat.)
I am kinda curious what happened with menstruation, but I know that in the Victorian era, ladies basically swaddled themselves with rags and sat very still whenever possible, thanks to BBC/PBS's the 1900 House, so I imagine it might not've been very different earlier. Plus some ladies don't bleed so much, and it depends on your nutrition, too.
Fun story - When I am at the Gentleman Friend's house and getting dressed, I almost always yell "underpants" when I am getting them out of the drawer, in a voice reminiscent of a triumphant 6-year-old. I have no idea why I started doing this, but I keep doing it because he finds it hilarious (and so do I). I will now justify this behavior on the grounds that underpants are a symbol of power.
@Blushingflwr You are perfect, never change.
@pennylaner I'm glad that link led to exactly where I thought it would!
My sister saw what I was reading and asked "if it's an over the shoulder boulder holder, do guys wear an under the butt nut hut?" Good question.
@Pyxis Pyxis Sis, get in here.
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