Many people assume that fashion is just about looking good, and while that’s certainly one reason why women love to dress up, it’s actually much more than that. It’s mood-boosting, it helps them feel empowered, and it also contributes to their sense of self-worth.
In the 18th century, a woman would wear at least two and often as many as five petticoats (what we now call skirts). These were made of linen, wool, silk or cotton. Underneath the petticoats, they would wear a shift. This was a nightgown and slip all in one, and it could be worn for weeks at a time without washing. Women also wore stays which were a frame of whalebone or steel wire that shaped the woman’s back and gave it the appearance of an hourglass shape.
After the petticoats, women would wear a gown and then a hat to finish the look. It was practical for women to wear a cap as it covered dirty, possibly lice-infested hair and helped keep it out of the fire. They didn’t bathe frequently so the cap was an important part of their hygiene routine.
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