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Southern Magic - History Tidbits

Mention of the Unmentionables

By Carla Swafford

Up to the Mid-1600's, strings and ribbons were the fastenings for undergarments, then buttons replaced them.

In Scandinavia nations, a public assembly of every freeman was called the Thing. The Thing met periodically and served as a parliament for making of laws and as a court for judging offenders.

Hooks and eyes were rarely used on undergarments.
Dress improver = Bustle (1880)
A Pair of Bodies = Women's Corsets (1631)
Strossers or Trousers = Men's under-drawers (1625)

During the early Middle Ages, the only known undergarment for women was the (Saxon) smock or (Norman) chemise.

Shirts were originally worn as an undergarment in 1533. At that time, a Sumptuary Law ruled that no one under rank of knight could wear shirts with silk, gold or silver.

In the 1700's, an under petticoat was called a dicky.

Beau Brummell made cleanliness fashionable and a mark of social standing.

During the early 1880's, corsets were frequently worn by the fashionable gentleman.

The chastity belt was often mentioned in early European literature, but in present-day museums, none pre-date the 1500's. The belt was use to prevent wives and their daughters from illicit intercourse. The idea may have been brought back by crusaders.


Taken from Magic Moments - January 2001 Volume 4/Issue 1