Chemise set

In the late 19th century, feminist ideas changed women’s fashion, both outerwear and underwear. Rigid bodices and full skirts were abandoned in favour of shorter, narrower dresses. Underwear evolved, too, from loose chemises and pantaloons to “combination” undergarments that reduced bulkiness and better suited the streamlined women’s fashion of the 20th century.


Collection Connections 

  • Chemise set

    Chemise set

    Europe: Western Europe, France

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  • Chemise set

    Chemise set

    Europe, Western Europe, France

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  • Chemise

    Chemise

    Europe: Northern Europe, Scandinavia, Denmark

    View More 

What does this chemise set communicate about 19th century France?

responded: Jun 29, 2012

Posted by Charlotte H

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As simple and delicate as this chemise appears, if one were to observe the object further, it displays volumes of insight into 19th century France, concerning the production procces, purpose, material used and the how it changed along with society. A chemise's function is to protect the exterior clothing from sweat and natural body oils from ruinning the fabrics. Variations of chemise apparel have been throughtout time and worn up until the the 1900's when inventions such as the bra in 1913 (derived from the french word 'brassiere') and the thong in 1974 took over. The invention of the "Spinning Jenny" machine by James Hargreaves in 1764 and the "Cotton Engine" (commonly reffered to as 'Cotton Gin') in 1793 by Eli Whitney during the industrial revolution, allowed factories to mass produce underwear and hosiery. The wide avaliablity of such apparel changed the social norm of individuals making thier own chemises at home to purchasing them in the stores. Throught history one can see the drastic changes in fashion, especially woman's fashion. In 1910, designers were changing the undergarment style as they changed the style of dresses. Woman's fashion in this time became more relaxed and felixible as opposed to the previous corest dresses. It was the beginning of woman's fashion to evolve into a simple and less extravegant style. This particular chemise has been designed with pants, as opposed to the typical dress shape that became popular in Europe in the middle ages. It was a style that took decades to become popular and accepted amoung all classes of French society. It is simple and thankless job that underwear has, yet it played a vital role in everyday lives as it has evolved with socity and culture to fit our every needs. The two imagies attached further display the design and style of a chemise. One image is of a chemise in a dress shape design, while the other photo displays what a chemise is made up of and a small part of it's production process.

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