As with virtually all activities and behaviors in the Victorian Era, American society developed a set of etiquette rules governing bicycling. One might suppose this list is about signalling (hand gestures) or riding in pairs for protection. You might be quite surprised to see the lengthy list of do’s and dont’s [sic] offered up in a vintage newspaper article from 1895, and in various magazines of the day.
You’re likely familiar with Victorian-era “bathing costumes”–puffy dresses with pantaloons that still leave much to the imagination, thereby protecting theÂ Victorian sense of propriety and decency. Inside this article, I share images of men’s bathing suits, attitudes (about bathing suits) expressed in United States newspapers of the day, and informative glimpses into a man’s view of a woman’s reasons for bathing in the sea before an audience…or not. A romantic tragedy on Coney Island in 1875 illustrates the dangers of the Victorian’s passion with immersing themselves in the sea.
Throughout the 19th century, ladies undergarments remained quite similar. Drawers (or bloomers), yesteryear’s most related item to today’s panties, ranged from knee- to ankle-length, were constructed of various fabrics, and were held up by a button or drawstring, with an open crotch.
Item listings in vintage catalogs and magazines illustrate the standard items available via mail-order throughout the United States Victorian era.
While on vacation with my family in Long Beach, Washington, I found a clothes wringer on display, proudly proclaiming its use in 1876. The labor-saving machinery intrigued me!
Corsets are synonymous with the Victorian Era and well-dressed ladies. Corsets were worn by women… and men, adolescent girls, and even children. Maternity corsets existed as did nursing corsets. Unbelievable!