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.