Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for Bloomers

Point of fact:  Bloomers were not worn during the Elizabethan era.  What did they wear?  Well, they wore a heck of a lot of clothing, but no underpants of any kind.  Honestly, it makes sense.  If you have multiple layers of skirting held out by hoops, it's hard enough to use the necessary without adding the additional step of dropping your drawers.  My historical costuming is accurate in my novels (with the exception of me saying 'hoops' rather than 'farthingale' -- it has to be accessible to non-Tudorophiles).

I do wear bloomers when I'm in Elizabethan garb.  This is mainly for my own comfort and modesty, but also for hygiene purposes.  It gets dusty in Southern California and walking along in hoops can cause a miniature dust-devil under your skirts.

I found the below clip based on one of the searches I found in my blogspot Stats page that lead the unwitting searcher to me.  What he wanted was:

Thanks for coming by.  Please check out the other participants at the A-Z blogfest.


Francine Howarth said...


Actually, Elizabeth I wore men's breeches below her skirts when riding horses in winter, and wore them when she went to review her troops prior to imminent invasion of Spanish Armada. It's a chilly old place is England!

By the 1640s (English Civil War), aristocratic women were wearing breeches similar to those worn during the time of the American Civil War. Both mimic trousers worn by men at the time of the English Civil War. I have an article about ladies underwear through the centuries on my blog:

The poor, however, were unable to afford the luxury of bloomers/breeches/pantaloons etc. ;)


Erin Kane Spock said...

Men's breeches, as worn by QE, are not/were not bloomers. Did that practice potentially lead to bloomers? Perhaps.
1640 is not the Elizabethan era, so is not proof against my comment.
I look forward to reading your article.

baygirl32 said...

better hang on to those big old bloomers! hilarious

Sommer Leigh said...

Great post! My best friend is just finishing her masters degree in costume design. She'd like this post, so I'm going to send her over :-)

Unknown said...

very cool post and very interesting lol keep it up!


alexia said...

Never been fond of going commando myself, but I can see how it would make sense with all those layers!

Raquel Byrnes said...

LOL! Commando ^ That was funny, Alexia.

Sounds like you've got a bit of a intellectual kerfluffle brewing with the whole bloomers/not bloomers thing.

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