A fancy period name for the undergarments of the Era. A proper lady of 1862 would wear more underneath her dress than most modern women wear even on the coldest days. Underpinnings served many purposes. Not only did they help to achieve the look of the period, but they protected the clothing from body oils and odors. With the difficulty of laundering and the non-existence of dry-cleaning, clothing had to be protected more from the human body on the inside than the spills and stains on the outside. Women wore extra layers under their dresses or made their underpinnings out of flannel or wool to help keep them warm in cooler weather. Drawers were worn for modesty under the wide skirts. To be historically correct your underpinnings should be made of 100% cotton. Linen, batiste and flannel were also used. Almost all underpinnings were white, although there are references to colored petticoats.
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