Monday, March 9, 2009

They are NOT Bloomers!

What do you call the 19th Century ladies' undergarment covering the legs?


This week I was sent a sale newsletter from a historical clothing company (whom I love and would purchase from if not for the fact that I can make it all myself). I checked out their beautiful site and noticed they called the particular undergarment "bloomers".

This really super bugs me! THEY ARE CALLED DRAWERS - NOT BLOOMERS.
Bloomers are an outer garment.

History lesson: 1851 - Amelia Bloomer was a woman's suffragette and a bit of a rebel. She decided to wear men's trousers with a shortened skirt when seen on her friends, Libby Miller and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. But announced in Amelia's own newspaper, the outfit was penned the Bloomer Costume.

She wore the trousers to be seen. Those intimate leggings worn under skirts are NOT meant to be seen. They are underwear.

Now, the name, bloomers, have been attached to leggings worn by little girls in the later part of the century. And it's definitely used for other undergarments (seen or unseen) in the 20th Century. Also, in my research, pantalettes (mini-pants) were for girls only under their short dresses.

Let's not even get into "pantaloons". MEN wore them in the late Regency thru 1840s when pants stopped having foot straps attached, the legs became wider at the ankle, and they were called trousers.

So, please - if you are making proper ladies' undergarments in the 19th Century, PLEASE call them drawers.
My ears will be much appreciated.

Thank you. :-)


Amber said...

I much agree! This also gets on my nerves.

Shay said...

I'm also picky; but I'm not running a business. They may have decided to go with a term that is familiar to a wider demographic?

Jennifer said...

Yes, I'd say that is a good idea as to why the company used "bloomers." People nowadays are more familiar with that term and what it stands for. And they are selling to a wider audience, not just to those of us dressing in period clothing.

Still annoying to me though when it's applied to the historical undergarment.

Sandi said...

I think we all have things that seriously annoy us. My particular bugbear is mob caps...a cap that developed from the fontange of the late 17th century, and was worn throughout the 18th century.

What annoys me about that, I hear you ask! The fact that children are growing up thinking that Victorian children wore them with their pinafores! Teachers, and museums, should know better!

I have trawled through many old photographs of Victorian schoolrooms and there is not one mobcap in evidence!!

Many apologies for having a rant on your blog. Sorry.