Becoming a Living Historian, as we say in the south, is bigger than a bread basket. The end result looks so easy. Put on a hoop skirt and dress–you’re done. Well, not so fast. When I learned about all of the underpinnings, I couldn’t believe how much 19th Century women endured.
As you know, clothing was hand washed in the 19th Century. Therefore, the underpinnings were worn to prevent the soiling of one’s Victorian dress. After all, washing underclothes on a weekly basis was easier than washing a dress made of equal to or greater than 15 yards of fabric. Remember, the 19th Century lady changed outfits several times a day. Thank goodness for the modern convenience of electronic washers and dryers.
I found this video which will give you a greater appreciation for the lengths in which women living historians and reenactors go through to preserve the realism of 19th Century fashion.