From the Inside Out

Women wore approximately 7 layers of clothing every day.

The first layer is drawers or pantalettes.  These were usually made of cotton and served as a modesty item.   During the period they were basically two legs attached to a waistband so the crotch area is open from front to back.

The second layer is your chemise.  The chemise is worn next to the body and  protects your corset and other garments from your body oils and perspiration and from your corset pinching you.

The third layer is your foundation garment.  Whether you choose a corset or working stays this layer was important for the period look.  It also helped to support your back and carry the weight of your other clothing.

The fourth layer is a corset cover or camisole as the more modern term.  This was meant to protect your corset from your other clothing and the other layers from rubbing on your corset.

The fifth layer is your under petticoat or modesty slip.  This served several purposes.  When worn under a hoop it provided a layer of modesty if the hoop was to flip and reveal more than the wearer wished.  When made with quilting or flannel these provided additional warmth.

The sixth layer is your skirt support. Whether a hoop, cage or corded petticoat this layer is what gives you the bell or dome look in the lower half.

The seventh layer is the over petticoats.  These served to smooth the line of the skirt and hide the “bones” of your hoop.  Anywhere u to 5 petticoats may be worn depending on the circumstances.

Over all this your bodice and skirt was worn.