Gilded Age New York The Gilded Gentleman Women's History

What did Mrs. Astor Wear (Under There)? The Story of Gilded Age Undergarments

Fashion historian and author, Dr. Elizabeth L. Block returns to The Gilded Gentleman podcast for a truly “undercover” investigation.

This time, Liz joins Carl to take a look at the world of corsets, bustles, straps and stockings all of which comprised the undergarment engineering to make the glorious gowns by Worth and other designers appear as glamorous as they did. 

In addition to architecture and food, it is fashion of the Gilded Age that always elicits comments and sighs at the very beauty and craftsmanship of the great gowns that swept by on ballroom floors. 

New York Public Library

But the stunning and costly gowns, whether for a ball or for wear during the day, required a complex combination of undergarments to not only make the wearer feel comfortable but to give the outer clothing its required shape.

In this fascinating episode, Dr. Elizabeth Block joins Carl for a discussion that includes insight into not only what garments were required, but also just how they were made and how they were worn. 

You may be surprised at just how comfortable and wearable some undergarments actually were. Liz and Carl’s discussion also includes a look at such curious accessories as the “lobster bustle” and even a corset for men. 


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