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For women in the 18th century, getting dressed was no easy undertaking and involved layers and pieces and parts. From the shift to stays, petticoats and pockets, roll, stockings and garters, gown and stomacher, apron and shoes. And, finally, a cap. A cloak for going out.

A wealthy woman required the help of a dresser to manage it all. Take a look:

A working woman would have needed to dress herself, so there were fewer elements, with the distinct difference that every piece could be managed by the wearer. The laces for the stays could be laced in the front, for example.

Still, it took some doing.

Dressing is simpler these days. Dressing well still calls for some effort, but you already know it helps to start with great, timeless pieces.

We do our best to make it easier on you. 


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  1. Since you’re featuring the 18th century today, at the risk of sounding like a deranged fangirl, have you considered anything somewhat Outlander-themed? Even if you haven’t read any of the books, the series is doing an excellent job with the stories and characters; there’s more than enough adventure and romance to keep your average Peterman customer happy, especially now that Claire and Jamie are in their mid-to-late 40s (ah, middle-aged romance…and no, I’m not being sarcastic; after all, it shouldn’t just be for young people); and hundreds of Etsy stores and thousands of cosplay outfits have already been based on the characters/series–so why not do a few “influenced/inspired by” items? It wouldn’t be that big a leap, considering the love of tweeds, plaids, cozy knits, swirling skirts, and intriguing costume jewelry that we’ve all come to know and love, so how about it? I dare say a large number of Outlandish fans would be very happy, plus Diana Gabaldon (aka Herself) would no doubt mention it on her website…surely the free publicity would be a verra good thing, aye? ­čśë

    (PS: I apologize for not having bought more of your merchandise in the past, but I labor under two burdens: (1) I’m at the very outside of your women’s size range–how deep are the seam allowances on some of the dresses?–and, even more significantly, (2) as part of the “mid-life career change” bit from miserable legal secretary to considerably more cheerful librarian, I both owe significant student loans and am only working part time, with the result being that I am, alas, well and truly brokeass. I’m hoping to get something back when I file my taxes, though, so if you just happen to have lurking, somewhere in the back of the warehouse, one of the Diane Hamilton Irish sweaters in an XXL, ideally half-price, I’d love to take it off your hands…)

  2. Ah…I see you have more of the sweater in–it looked as if you were trying to clear them all out for a while. Pardon my ignorance…

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