And you thought your morning was exhausting! Check out this short video by The National Museums Liverpool and you’ll be shocked at just how many layers and accessories an 18th-century lady needed to don to make herself presentable.
Starting with her basic linen shift, she might require the assistance of a maid servant to fasten the stays (also known as the corset), then the petticoats, stockings, garters, padded bum rolls and kerchiefs before finally finishing with a fine silk gown. (There were even secret, removable pockets!)
The only thing missing: underwear. According to the gallery’s website, English Women didn’t start to wearing undies until the early years of the 19th century: “During the 18th century, drawers were considered unhygienic and too masculine for women because men wore them under their knee breeches. It took a long time for them to become accepted in England, with some women only adopting them as late as the 1830s.”
Read “Getting dressed in the 18th century” and check out the painting that inspired the video, Mrs Paine and her Daughters by Sir Joshua Reynolds, in the 18th Century Room at the Lady Lever Art Gallery. You can find out more about this video and see the behind-the-scenes photographs here.