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Women's Clothing 1700's

 

  • Women's clothing was usually made of wool or linen and would be hand sewn.
  • Would not have owned more than about 2-3 outfits.
  • Style dictated that elbows and knees be covered at all times.
  • Clothing did not have attached pockets.
  • No proper lady would be seen out and about without her head covered.
  • Typical attire would involve a shift, stays, bodice, petticoats/skirts, cap, and stockings.

 

 
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Shift
shift
  The shift was a loose fitting undergarment made of linen. The hemline extended well below the knees and the sleeves came below the elbows. It was worn during the day and also at night for sleeping, often for weeks or longer without laundering, especially during the winter. Since underpants did not exist yet, a woman wore absolutely nothing under her shift.
     
Stays
stays
  Stays were an essential part of a woman's clothing. This was a support garment stiffened with whalebone, wood, or reed which would have been tightly laced, creating an erect back, high bust line, and narrow shoulders.
     
Bodice
bodice
  A bodice was worn over the stays. It was usually fastened by lacing up the front and had tabs that extended below the waist to give a peplum effect. Often worn with a "stomacher", a decorative piece of fabric, that a woman would pin to the front of her stays to hide them and make her outfit a little more fancy.
     
Petticoats/Skirts
petticoat
  An "under petticoat" was a skirt like garment worn over the shift and tied around the waist. A woman might have worn three or four depending on the weather, the season, and type of work she was doing. One of them might be quilted. An essential part of a woman's clothing was the skirt, a floor length garment worn with a full length gown. It was not an undergarment, but designed to be seen.
     
Cap
cap
  A woman's cap was both stylish and practical. It allowed the head to be dressed without styling the hair. It also covered possibly dirty hair and kept it away from the fire. The cap was worn both indoors and out. When going outside, she might tie another hat on top of the cap.
     
Shoes & Stockings
shoes
  A common woman would have one or two pairs of shoes that were hand sewn by "cordwainers" or shoemakers. There were no rights or lefts. Stockings came up over the knees and were held up by garters made of ribbon, knitted, or leather strips. Stockings were usually hand knitted of wool or linen.
     

 

         
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