A handful of female undergarments exist in costume collections, and written history records the use of "bloomers" in the 16th C.. Although it is still unclear whether medieval women wore "underpants" of any sort under their gowns, we understand that many modern reenactors are uncomfortable with the idea of going "commando", and wear bike shorts or similar garments. Although shorts of any style will address modesty issues, they pose practical difficulties under a long skirt or hoops.
Patterned after the 16th C. Italian ladies' underwear which are part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's costume collection (inset photo), our "ladies' braies" are split waist to waist through the crotch. The opening falls together while standing providing full coverage, and the mid-thigh length leg prevents chafing. The split crotch design allows the wearer to use the privy while wearing the braies, eliminating the need to lower and raise undergarments under bulky period gown skirts. This design removes the danger of undergarments falling into the dirt (or worse!) on a filthy privy floor and the legs remain covered, preventing the wearer from ever contacting the privy seat.
Like the museum originals, our Ladies Braies are made of white shirtweight linen legs afixed to a narrow waistband. The flat waistband is trim at the waist and we have replaced the button closure of the original with a tie which allows for a custom fit.
Here's a link to our Sizing Information.
This product was added to our catalog on Friday 17 October, 2008.