Our 5th Episode of Fashion History with American Duchess is now live! This week Abby & Lauren sit down and talk about how to beat the summer heat while wearing historic clothing. A couple months ago we took a quick survey from our Facebook followers for their questions and suggestions on costuming/reenacting in the summer months, and from there we’ve created this episode.
Here are the highlights:
- Abby does some improvisation singing, much to Lauren’s surprise.
- Linen is your bestest best best best friend for the summer.
- Cotton is ok, but not as good as linen.
- Wool is better than silk for the summer. Especially if you are wearing a lightweight worsted wool that is also light in color.
- Silk can really be uncomfortable to wear in high heat because of how insulating it is.
- Wear light colors to help reflect the light of the sun off of your body…wearing dark colors will absorb the heat.
- As weird as it may seem for us modern folks, cover up! By exposing your skin directly to the sun, it’s like exposing yourself to a heat source (podcast includes a lovely and graphic analogy by Abby that involves cooking chickens.) When you cover up, it can actually keep you cooler & it prevents sunburns!
|Summer Dresses, 1782, British Museum, J,5.139 (Even though you can see their bums, they still have cloaks & long sleeves on! 😉 )|
- Wear less layers – Abby and Lauren chat about Philip Vickers Fithian & his commentary on Virginian women’s dress during the summer of 1774. We also chatted about how wearing a quilted petticoat without an under-petticoat is actually pretty comfortable in the intense summer Virginian heat.
|Excerpt from Philip Vickers Fithian, July 1774, Google Books|
- We also answer some questions regarding whether or not unlined gowns existed (there is at least one in the Met Museum from the 18th century. We also know that sleeves could be unlined (like Abby’s 1820s silk dress).
|Unlined gown made from cotton mull, c. 1785, Met Museum, 17.107.6a, b|
- We also discuss the idea of not going inside to A/C & back out into the heat a lot – to help get the body to regulate & adjust to the temperature.
- Also things like staying hydrated, being in the shade, and not doing much physically to help prevent heat exhaustion, etc.*