That everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time is a relatively new myth about equality. Undoubtedly, all men and women have always been created exactly the same, but long were the days when wealth discrepancy was stitched into every seam of our clothing.
Long were the mornings getting ready, too. All those layers of whalebone, muslin and damask pomp and circumstance weren’t exactly prêt-à-porter. Merely regard the plight of the prosperous 18th-century English woman and her long-suffering lady’s maids in the historical reconstruction featured below.
Produced by Lady Lever Art Gallery and National Museums Liverpool, the video is meant to show us modern day donners of sweatpants what a real morning routine looked like, and is authentic down to the last detail — including the grueling slow pace and averted gazes of the whole affair.
Going commando, somewhat ironically, under a simple linen shift, our lady of good taste was then subjected to the infinite-seeming layers of her snazzy polonaise dress. Piled up with stretchy stockings and a rib-crunching corset, attachable pockets, a shape-giving bum roll, rigid panels of pinned-on blue silk, sleeves on sleeves, extra lace for extra ostentation and much more in between, she, finally, finds herself ready to greet the already-waning day.
Though to some this sort of footage is probably akin to watching grass grow or paint dry, it’s truly an informative feast for an eye forever curious about what it took to look so Rococo chic. And it certainly made me wonder how long downstairs fingers were worked to the bone over that curling, cascading hairstyle before this saga began.
Whether this sort of thing is right up your alley or you’d rather have a staring contest with a pot of water set on the boil, maybe just be grateful that these days, a tee and a blazer passes just fine for business casual.