Proper ladies never wear underwear?
To wear or not to wear, that is the question. Or in my case, when writing The Duke Wins a Bride, I had to decide did Annabel wear or not wear drawers under her skirts?
You guessed it, this week I will be discussing another rabbit hole of Regency research to uncover the truth about ladies and their private dressing rituals.
This issue took an unexpected amount of time to research. I purchased The History of Underclothes to squint at reproduced images, scoured through blogs and articles and Regency prints to determine the answer. It took me several days of intense reading to answer this particular question.
Drawers for women could be bought in the time period of the story. They were essentially a modified men's garment that tied at the waist and split in the middle. However, they were not popular amongst the upper classes because of the association with men.
Princess Charlotte caused a stir by wearing them (the edges of the ankle length drawers could be seen peeking out) but most ladies of quality eschewed them. Another young lady who tried them was rather unimpressed.
"They are the ugliest things I ever saw: I will never put them on again. I dragged my dress in the dirt for fear someone would spy them. My finest dimity [textile] pair with real Swiss lace is quite useless to me for I lost one leg and did not deem it proper to pick it up, and so walked off leaving it in the street behind me, and the lace had cost six shillings a yard..."
It goes without saying that there were disadvantages to choosing to forego wearing knickers. Who better to depict the pitfalls of ladies' undergarments, or lack thereof, than Thomas Rowlandson in this raunchy illustration?
So from a historical point of view, Annabel could have worn underwear. Or, on the other hand, she may have had no access to purchase them living in a small town.
The matter was in my hands to decide. If you have not yet read her story, you can learn the secret of her dressing habits in my fast-paced tale of secrets and passion, The Duke Wins a Bride.
On that note, I am excited to announce The Duke Wins a Bride Audiobook is now available on all major audiobook apps. Eight hours of listening pleasure from my favorite narrator, Claire Glover. If you like entertaining, fast-paced, and well-narrated stories by a talented performer, you will love Claire's character voices. She truly brings the story to life!