Accessories and Getting Dressed

Accessories and Getting Dressed

Fashion Plate, c. 1840
(Courtesy of the Bertarelli Collection, Milan)

While the rational dress consisted of multiple garments, a dress or tunic and trousers, that was not all a female dress reformer wore, of course! Undergarments were as important in the nineteenth century as they are today, even though their construction has been modified greatly over time. Similarly, accessories, such as headwear, jewelry, and shoes, were significant and allowed a woman to express her own tastes in the nineteenth century just as they do today. This page offers a few guidelines for appropriate undergarments as well as suggestions for possible accessories to wear with a rational dress. Please feel free to contact me at if you have any other ideas, questions, or comments. Enjoy!

  • Undergarments:

  • Shoes:

    The image on the left shows the shoes of a woman wearing a rational dress, and the image on the right shows a pair of reproduction mid-nineteenth century ladies shoes.

  • Accessories:

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    Copyright 2002 by Britta Arendt