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Broadwayboy1994
04-18-2019, 07:43 AM
Hey everyone!

So, I'm writing a romance novel set in 1895 England and I was wondering what the underwear situation was if there was one. None of my Google have turned up any results that really answered my questions.

Thank you!

waylander
04-18-2019, 11:06 AM
Long Johns https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_underwear

Alessandra Kelley
04-18-2019, 12:06 PM
http://chicostume.org/handouts/VictorianUnderwear.pdf

As is typical, this page focuses almost entirely on female fashion. But there is a nice illo of a man’s union suit at the beginning.

Alessandra Kelley
04-18-2019, 12:13 PM
Also, by 1895 it was no longer considered so, but originally shirts were underwear! All those Regency gentlemen walking around in their shirtsleeves in modern media were doing the equivalent of hanging around the house in boxer shorts.

angeliz2k
04-18-2019, 04:19 PM
Yep, combinations or union suit. And as Alessandra Kelly alludes to, people generally wore more layers and were much less casual about getting dressed. They *got dressed* before they went out. I just saw a photo yesterday of some young college men hanging out in a dorm room circa 1900, and they were in full suits with the typical high, stuff collars of the era, even though they were piled pellmell together on a bed, laughing and goofing off. Just something to think about.

benbenberi
04-18-2019, 06:15 PM
The Sears Catalog for 1897 is viewable here (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31158001963940). Underwear on p. 237. It's American, not English, but I imagine it's still relevant. Besides underwear there's a ton of interesting tidbits in there about how people dressed and all sorts of artifacts of daily life -- worth a thorough browse!

I think there are also pdfs of the 1895 Montgomery Ward catalog (Sears's great competitor) floating around the net, if you go looking for it.

Al X.
04-18-2019, 06:49 PM
The Sears Catalog for 1897 is viewable here (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31158001963940). Underwear on p. 237. It's American, not English, but I imagine it's still relevant. Besides underwear there's a ton of interesting tidbits in there about how people dressed and all sorts of artifacts of daily life -- worth a thorough browse!

I think there are also pdfs of the 1895 Montgomery Ward catalog (Sears's great competitor) floating around the net, if you go looking for it.

Pretty interesting find. Funny how they group bedpans in with the kitchen ware. Love the prices though.

talktidy
04-18-2019, 10:22 PM
I have read a little Regency romance where a gentleman's shirt tails served the purpose of covering up his nether regions.

snafu1056
04-20-2019, 12:56 PM
Merino long johns were pretty popular in the US at that time. Not sure about England.

Netz
04-20-2019, 06:46 PM
Is it just me or does anyone else want to add the word 'model' at the end every time they see this thread pop up in the 'New Posts' section? I think I'd read the heck out of the misadventures of a YA 19th Century Male Underwear Model. :greenie

Marissa D
04-20-2019, 07:14 PM
I have read a little Regency romance where a gentleman's shirt tails served the purpose of covering up his nether regions.

Yup. That's why their shirts were made so long.

Meandering slightly off topic... There's a great bit in Queen Victoria's diaries when she's about 20 (the year is 1839) and Albert is visiting England so that she can decide if he's really husband material or not, and she writes about seeing him in some military uniform or other and notes that he was not wearing drawers under his tight-fitting trousers. I think she proposed to him a day later. :e2brows:

Back on topic--there's a whole book on the subject, The History of Underclothes, by C. Willett and Phillis Cunnington. For the era you're talking about, it mentions both silk and lambswool undershirts (or "vests") and lambswool underdrawers.