This got me thinking about Victorian winter wear and how those that lived here back then survived such harshness without indoor heating, puffy parkas and coffee shops.
First off, they wore a lot more layers then we do now. In fact with all the layers of undergarments, and petticoats plus a wool dress overtop, a women could be wearing over 30 pounds of clothing! Still to survive harsh weather, good outdoor clothing would be needed. There were a few different options for a lady, though I suspect the first two were more suited to less harsh climates.
Capes could be anywhere from hip length to just above the hem line. They were sleeveless, and the same length all around. Some were hooded or had slits in the sides so a lady could use her arms if needed (I'm not sure why one would want to be without the use of their arms, but maybe Victorian ladies were not as industrious?). They could be made of lightweight fabric for warmer weather, or made out of heavy wool or fur for the cold.
I'm not entirely sure what the clear difference between a cloak and a cape is, but apparently cloaks were shorter at the front to allow use of ones arms, and to show off the front of your fashionable dress.
This obviously is the more sensible choice for extreme winters, and for being able to use ones limbs. Victorian coats tended to be close fitting at top, and wider at the bottom to hug the dress line, and were usually just slightly above the hem in length.
Another common cold weather item was the shawl. Useful for layering and for sitting warming by the fire, but not terribly practical by themselves in January. They were a handy item for cooler summer nights and a stylish accessory.
This was the most impractical but fashionable of winter items. A fur muff was a symbol of status and elegance. While it does look cozy, it again makes the assumption that a lady did not need use of her hands. I can see why these went out of style for practical reasons. They look great, but it's hard to hold your morning coffee while wearing one.
I hope spring is in full force in your parts, but for now I will have to wait a little longer, as this was the scene when it snowed again earlier this week.
What Victorian winter fashions are you fond of?
Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone