Tuesday, 3 March 2009

fashion tips for bluestockings

Olive Hawthorne, played by Damaris Hayman
  1. Never wear anything that actually is in fashion;
  2. Tweed is good (but not twinsets, and certainly not pearls);
  3. Waistcoats are good - somewhere to store gadgetry. Remember to leave the bottom button undone (out of respect to George III, who left his undone to accommodate his girth);
  4. Gadgetry is good; always remember to carry your Swiss Army Knife and your pocket watch;
  5. Handbags - large, practical and roomy; capable of holding several books and doubling as a weapon in extremis (as demonstrated by the redoubtable Olive Hawthorne, who hit a would-be assailant over the head with her reticule - which happened to contain her crystal ball);
  6. Trousers (often referred to as bloomers) are just the thing for ladies of a practical disposition;
  7. Hatpins - never go out without one;
  8. Frills and flounces are out.


  1. Rational Dress Society 1881. As written in the Society’s Gazette:

    “The Rational Dress Society protests against the introduction of any fashion in dress that either deforms the figure, impedes the movements of the body, or in any way tends to injure the health. It protests against the wearing of tightly-fitting corsets; of high-heeled shoes; of heavily-weighted skirts, as rendering healthy exercise almost impossible; and of all tie down cloaks or other garments impeding on the movements of the arms. It protests against crinolines or crinolettes of any kind as ugly and deforming….[It] requires all to be dressed healthily, comfortably, and beautifully, to seek what conduces to health, comfort and beauty in our dress as a duty to ourselves and each other.”

  2. By criminy! That ought to be in the Bluestocking Articles of Association.