Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Brown 1880's Habit



While going through the photo folders on my computer, I found some photos of my 1880's brown side saddle habit that I sold at auction recently, that I took for the International Side Saddle Organization's Aside Magazine a few years ago.

Here is an interior photo of the bodice showing the blue floral cotton sateen lining and all the spring steel bones sewn onto each seam.



The bones would have helped smooth out the ridges created by the corset but there would have still been a corset and fat "overspill" ridge at the top where the bodice bones ended as shown on this 1885 photo taken of this side saddle rider. It was the Victorian equivalent of our modern day VPL (visible pantie line)!



A photo showing how the habit would look when worn aside, note how the skirt is shorter than what was worn in the 1860's and 1870's but still a bit longer than what was worn in the 1890's.



During the late 19th century, habit makers started to experiment with making riding habits safer so that women were not caught up in full skirts which wrapped around the pommels often causing a rider to be dragged. The skirt on this habit, although it is not "apron" in style, has an early safety feature. The skirt has a long slit which extends from the off-side of the right knee and extends down to the hem.



The this slit would enable the wearer to hook her legs around the pommel without the annoyance of excess material bunching up under her legs and seat (thereby creating a more secure seat) and if the rider fell off, there would not be anything to catch onto the pommels causing the rider to be dragged. I tried to show in this photo, how the pommels on my saddle insert neatly into the skirt's slit.

3 comments:

  1. That is just gorgeous! Thanks for posting more pictures of it. I can't get over the tiny waist on it! The details are so interesting. Clothing back then was so well made.

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  2. LOL! To be fair, the young lady that wore this habit, wouldn't have been very large either. She probably would have been corsetted about 2"- 4" below her natural waist measurement which isn't hard to do when tightening a corset nor is it too uncomfortable. It's the cut of the habit that makes the figure look deceptively smaller than what it is (Victorian clothing flattered the figure unlike our clothes of today!). I chose to wear a corset for a year while my back healed from a disc problem as I still had horse stuff to do and even rode astride and side saddle in it too. It was weird but not uncomfortable. In the end, my waist went down from a normal 30" waist (LOL, I was a bit skinnier in 2007) to measuring nearly 24" in a corset.

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