As with all 18th century womens’ dress,
the chemise was the garment worn next to the skin It was made from linen, was washable and was changed as frequently as possible
The stockings came over the knee, and had embroidery at the ankle known as ‘clocks’.
The stockings were held in place by ribbon garters, either above the knee or, more usually,
below – especially when active. No under drawers were worn.
The rigid boned stays created the silhouette of the period. They were reinforced at the centre
front with a removable wooden ‘busk’, which was often carved with entwined lovers’ initials
and dates. The stays raised the bosom, gave the illusion
of a narrow waist, and provided a smooth line for the garments worn over it.
They laced up at the back with a single lace. When travelling, supporting items – such as
hip-pads, bum-rolls, hooped petticoats or panniers – were minimised, or not worn at
all. A washable white linen under-petticoat completed
the under-linens. Pockets were an important means of carrying
small personal items. They tied about the waist close to the body and out of sight,
and were accessed through openings in the petticoats. A Marseilles cloth petticoat provided warmth and support for the outer petticoat. Marseilles
cloth was a new machine-woven textile which mimicked hand-quilting. It was warm and perfect
for travelling in a chilly carriage. The habit-shirt, resembled the gentleman’s
shirt, but was shorter and tied about the waist with tapes.
There were several slightly different styles, some where completely open at the front, and
other went on over the head. The cuffs were fastened with Dorset thread buttons.
The silk outer-petticoat was lined with linen and closed at the back with tapes. It had
slits at the sides to access the pockets, and was made from the same fabric as the jacket.
The habit-shirt was often closed at the throat with a ribbon.
The fore-sleeves of the travelling jacket were separate, and were put on first.
Once on the arm, they were quite secure, though they could be pinned or buttoned to the upper
sleeve. The travelling, or German habit was an elegant,
out-of-doors garment. It was a hip-length jacket which buttoned
up to the neck. It had long, two-part sleeves with a flounce at the elbow and had a hood.
It often, but not always had a sack-back with box pleats. It could either have a false-front
or a separate waistcoat. The hooded travelling habit had been popular in Germany and other
European countries from the mid-century, and it was popularised in England by the marriage
of Princess Augusta to the Duke of Brunswick in 1764. Princess Augusta’s ‘going away’ dress
was a scarlet silk travelling outfit of the German fashion, which became known as the