How Did Edwardian Ladies Deal With Heat? – THE EXPERIMENT

How Did Edwardian Ladies Deal With Heat? – THE EXPERIMENT

(snaps) Hi, it’s your meme mom! Today we are time traveling to… 1900. 1907 I think, to be exact? Because that’s when my dress is supposed to be… “set”. The idea for this video came about when we were suffering a heatwave in Poland, and, you know, you could barely leave your house, and it made me think, like, if I feel so uncomfortable wearing, like, a blouse and shorts, what the hell were Edwardian ladies doing at a time like that? And it also occurred to me last year when I was in Spain… during the summer, and I was thinking about how Spanish ladies and ladies living in really hot countries were still following the fashion that was “hot” in the colder countries. So, like, they all had to wear all the layers and fashionable fabrics. The point is: people back then also suffered hot days and summers, and they went through them somehow, and today I’m going to find out how. So basically, what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna… wear all the layers that would have been worn on a summer day in 1907, and we’ll see if I survive! So the way the ladies back then dealt with heat was basically using linen clothing. Linen apparently is really good for a summer. I didn’t turn my iron off… So I’ve never actually worn a full linen dress, and I’ve been told by some reenactor friends that linen is really cool. Like, as in actually cool. Like it gives you this shield layer that shields you from from the heat. If you know Zach from Pinsent Tailoring – and you surely do because he went viral like two weeks ago – He is always talking about how linen is perfect for really hot weather. So today I’m gonna give it a go! The… the only difference between me and Zach is that I’m gonna have to wear a corset, (laughing) so! I remember seeing those “summer corsets” when I was first sort of interested in Edwardian fashion, and yes, it did have a little bit of a cheat technique for it- for like hot and summer months So basically they had summer corsets which were really lightweight and usually featured, instead of like two layers of cotton material or whatever and the silk outer layer, they featured a really thin mesh layer between the boning. So this is basically a way to still be wearing a corset but not making it like an armor. So my corset- My corset, my sort of cheap corset, is… it’s literally just boning. (laughs) I had a look at some inspiration photos of actual original summer courses from the time, and none of them looks like that. Oh, I didn’t finish that. The only corset that sort of looks similar was an 1890s corset, but it featured some horizontal tapes as well. So this is my waist band, and apart from the waistband it also featured tapes here and here and et cetera, so… This one is sort of like a cheat version because I’ve never seen a corset exactly like that, but I’m assuming they must have existed, like, someone must have come up with this. And actually they give you a pretty good silhouette, which is also nice. (Claps) So a wider frame for you guys. This is a chemise, which is, uh… not historically accurate. Why? Because it serves… as a multi era [laughs] chemise. Because I used to make a lot of costumes from different eras, and I didn’t have time to make a different chemise for each costume, I made this, which is sort of like a multi era, uh, chemise. Like it would also work for 1880s and probably 1890s as well. So that’s why it’s not a starkly accurate. The Edwardian chemise would probably be less full here. It would probably just feature two tiny straps. The other garment that I’m already wearing are drawers. That looks like some Edwardian porn, dammit. These are sort of the base of the Edwardian wardrobe. You would put [on] the drawers and the chemise and the stockings. This was sort of the under layer. So all of these are made of cotton, including this cotton stocking. So we’ll see how this all works as sort of the base layer when it comes to high temperatures. So now I’m gonna have to wear a corset, and I’m not gonna do it on camera because you guys are pervs. Like, you can still see all the under layers, and it’s kind of awkward. Okay, that’s the corset. To be completely honest, I am really happy with the shape it gives. It does not give you this Edwardian S-bend silhouette. It actually cinches your waist pretty well. The thing is, I- I didn’t use any pattern for it because I didn’t have any, so I just measured my under bust, waist, and hips and kind of went from there, and it’s- it turned out really well! I forgot to put my shoes on before the corset. And these are closed with those tiny annoying buttons. So the shoes I’m wearing are actually boots. They’re American Duchess boots. Even though they don’t seem to right footwear for hot weather, I think they would still probably be worn. Because whenever I look at photographs and there are some shoes peeking through, for example when someone’s sitting down and the skirts kind of go up, the ladies are usually wearing boots, even though it’s summer. And, you know, if- if Edwardian ladies wore them in hot weather, that means I can do it, too. The reason this area looks like a hot mess is because I wanted to give it, like, a boudoir feel. So I left my duvet and I was like, “oh, it’s gonna it look like someone just left their bed and are getting dressed” but instead it just looks like hot mess. It’s- it’s on purpose, damn it! Now another garment that I’m gonna wear which is not very heat-friendly – but it is Edwardian-silhouette-friendly – is a fake booty! So it basically looks like this. It- it is put on your butt, and it’s supposed to make your butt and your hips look wider than they actually are. Not only because you’re supposed to be, like, thicc, but also because it gives a nice contrast between… the hips and your waist. So it’s gonna make me look curvier, if you know what I mean. Now, I’m gonna wear it a little bit below the waist. Here’s what it looks like. Probably can’t see anything. Alrighty, now it is time for the petticoat. It is quite stiff, but it’s not starched. I’m not sure if it’s gonna be enough. It’s probably not enough. Daaamn! Look at my hips, girl! Am I thicc? Okey doke, now time for the corset cover. I forgot to iron it, oh no! So my corset cover is another item of Edwardian clothing that I chose to make when I was a beginner, and I didn’t really have time to make another one – a new one and a better one – so… It’s not too bad, like, silhouette-wise. It’s just annoying because it doesn’t have shoulder straps. I just didn’t think of making shoulder straps. I was like, “I don’t need them!” Corset covers started out as a garment that was supposed to hide the edge of the corset so it doesn’t poke through the bodice, but in Edwardian times it was mostly about adding this extra, like, floofiness at the bust to make the bust look slightly bigger are a different shape. So that was mostly its purpose, apart from covering the corset. The fluff is here, the fake booty is here, what else do we need? We need to put the dress on! So… no one is home to help me, so this is gonna be fun because it closes with hooks and eyes. Got one! Yee! (Hiccup) Got ’em! How am I gonna- Oh, there’s one here. Get in loser, we’re going shopping! Okay, I think I mostly got it. So the last thing I’m gonna wear is the skirt that I sat on for the whole time. (laughs) So this was actually supposed to be like a one-piece dress, but in the middle of it I was like, “Well, if I make separates of it, I’m gonna be able to use both the skirt and the blouse in different outfits.” The whole thing is on… The only problem is I already feel hot. [muttering] Oh, this is gonna be fun. The hat! So I’m more or less ready. I did not put any sunscreen on to be more historically accurate. I only used rouge and um… po- powder? to be more historically accurate, and now the only thing left is to take some stuff with me that might help me, which is a parasol and a fan. I did not take gloves because I’ve noticed in a lot of photographs women did not wear gloves, so that’s making things simpler for me. So I’m not gonna wear them. And… we’ll see! W- uh- We’ll see. ♪ old-timey fanfare ♪ [groans] Perfect vlogging conditions! Whoa, whoa-oh-oh-oh Am I hot? Yes. Yes, I’m hot, but you know what? I don’t care because this white dress works so nicely with the green and the flowers that it’s worth it. For real though, I mean if I was wearing a polyester blouse now, I’d probably be experiencing the same amount of discomfort that I am. And also, coincidentally, I forgot- I completely forgot to use a deodorant this morning, so… I quite like the parasol idea. It’s working, like it just gives you this instant shade and I don’t really know why we’re not using parasols like in our everyday lives because honestly it just, like, it just gives you shade and not the bad kind of shade. (laughs) Um, I’m about to try to sit down and see how that works? ♪ old-timey instrumental music ♪ [music fading under dialogue] So this went better than expected! Sitting down in the shadow that is created by your own parasol is not too bad, so I’m going to have to go and check how this dress works when I’m moving around and doing stuff and, uh, working out in a way because I’ll be collecting flowers for a wreath and I will be walking up and down a hill. Uh, for now the worst bit of my outfit is underneath the corset. It’s not the- it’s not even the corset. It’s what’s happening underneath the corset, where the cotton chemise – it’s kind of like scrunched and I feel like it’s really sticky. It’s really, really sticky. So without giving you any unnecessary details, it’s not… very nice. So I’m gonna go and pick some flowers now! When the Sun finally comes out back again… ♪ old-timey instrumental music ♪ [music fades under dialogue] So the sound is probably gonna be awful. Framing is a bit off, but to sum up how it’s been going… Damn it! How- how does Amelia Ford do it? To sum up how it’s been going so far- Yeah, now you’re out! I’m actually gonna get my parasol out. Try that, Amelia! Damn it, it won’t stay open! What I’ve noticed so far: A, it’s ok when I’m in the shadow. It’s almost perfect But then, that’s the case with every hot day, isn’t it? Um, B? The skirts are… actually really breathable, and the fact that I’m wearing cotton stockings does not make things worse, which is surprising. Like even my boots do not really make my feet warmer than they would actually be if I was wearing sandals, let’s say. The worst bit, for me, is the bodice because that’s where most of the layers are sort of accumulated, so I not only get all the petticoats and stuff hanging around my waist… Is that a fly? but I also have the bum pad, which surprisingly is not super hot. The worst bit for me is where the corset cover is. So that’s where you get the chemise, the corset, and the corset cover, and then a blouse but that’s also sort of where my underarms are, and I guess that’s why it makes it so uncomfortable. Overall, it- it’s not tragic. I keep thinking about this “not great, not terrible” quote from Chernobyl series because it- that’s what it is. I’m not saying it’s an atomic explosion, but I’m saying it’s, uh… deal-able. You can deal with it. Obviously, I would be more comfortable wearing something less layered and probably shorter. Yay for summer corsets! And now for the last thing to do is I’m gonna run up the hill to see how it all works when you actually exercise and do something physically difficult [laughs] I’m not- I’m not a sporty person, so I would probably sweat a lot doing that in my normal clothes. ♪ old-timey instrumental music ♪ [off-screen clattering] Am I sweating my ass off? No. And I do remember a couple of times when I was wearing an Edwardian gown in a hot weather before, and every time that was something that was not a natural fiber, that was polyester or… I think I use a set of curtains once, so definitely nothing natural and I think that is what makes the huge difference: that nothing on my body is… plastic. And that’s something that I don’t really understand when it comes to modern clothing – why do we make polyester dresses that are made for summer? Because honestly, it’s kind of like wearing a garbage bag. So yeah, this definitely helps, the fact that it’s natural. Corset did not prevent me from running… Ah, I’m gonna get tan, damn! Summing up, I spent a couple of hours in this, and I still don’t feel… terrible. I don’t feel great, but I don’t feel terrible. So I’m gonna go and change now. Now, next episode is gonna be how did… Elizabethan people deal with heat when they were all wearing wool.

100 Replies to “How Did Edwardian Ladies Deal With Heat? – THE EXPERIMENT”

  1. also shout out to Prior Attire and her video on Victorians dealing with the heat! make sure to check it out!

  2. what is next? how those Southern Women in America kept their whites so whiter than white, and why did their bedsheets keep getting holes in them?

  3. Wouldn't it have been statistically cooler on average in 1907? You know, global warming? Lmao but also! Did AC not exist then? So people would be used to the heat.. but this was still neat nonetheless. Not trying to poke! Just some thoughts I had 😊😊 I love your videos ❤️

  4. It’s pretty late to write a comment for a video published month ago… But I decided to check the weather for 1907. Shortly: it was cool, especially during the Summer months. Might be that the fashion reacted on that?
    Weather Notes:-
    31st March – 23°C.
    24th June – A Tropical Storm formed in the Atlantic and became the strongest storm of the 'Hurricane' season.
    27th/28th August – Minimum temperature of 1°C at Barnet (Greater London), one of the lowest August temperatures ever recorded within Greater London.
    16th October – The City of Lincoln was flooded when 90mm of rain fell.

  5. I remember in school reading a bunch of poems about how the fashionable English were not at all coping when they first came to Australia back in the day. They were really not having fun and had to bathe several times a day.

  6. Being a 'northener' heat is my worst enemy! You can warm yourself up easily by adding layers etc but cooling down for me is so hard, can't exactly take your skin off 😭🔥🌡️ fab video!!

  7. Are you a white supremacist? I was enjoying the whole vid until you flashed that White Power Pepe the Frog thing at the very end.

  8. Bro I go to my local renaissance fair every year (different period ik but still lots of layers) and there were various court ladies who worked there (who weren't out in the heat all day, they came out ever so often for shows and just greeting people) and I always wondered if they ever had problems. Also there were the queens guard who wore pretty warm clothing too.
    There were two frequent visitors who didnt work there that generally came in big ball gowns complete with corsets and on top of that BIRD HELMETS (like fur suits but it wasn't a whole suit because of the clothing) and they never talked.
    I always wondered because I'm dying of heat in just a T-shirt and shorts
    And I sweat so much

  9. This video is incredibly fascinating. You have to get your mind into the place where you can see it, but this is exactly like seeing a video from the 1910s.

  10. I enjoyed that! Have you seen an Australian film called "Picnic at Hanging Rock"? You get a great sense of the heat and landscape as the girls move through it in costume.

  11. I've always wondered how all the southern ladies survives the heat and humidity in the south. Not even a window fan at night. 100 degrees in the day and high humidity yuck

  12. I often think about this issue and I'm sure I'd spend my summers excusing myself for being "indisposed" then praying my doctor to prescribe long cold baths. Hopefully I wouldn't have to work otherwise my life would simply be a nightmare. Then I think that my Edwardian self wouldn't know better and just deal with it LOL

  13. I am from India, and i often wonder how the british colonisers survived Indian Summers…
    Also, it is pretty normal for women here to carry umberellas against the sun in the summer

  14. "Try that, Amelia!" Are you by chance addressing Amelia Peabody Emerson, the famous Egyptologist and detective?

  15. O my, nowadays I wonder how burqa poor slaves are feeling or those with hidjabs with winter jackets and they wear them in hot summer! Poor victims 🙁

  16. The Edwardian look may have been warm, but wasn't it lovely? So feminine and elegant! My daughter lives in Tokyo where it is terribly hot and humid in the summer time. She uses a parasol or an umbrella to keep the sun off and that is pretty common there.

  17. This is timely because today in Kansas we have a heat wave with a heat index of 41°c (105°f). If anyone is wondering why we Americans are so OBSESSED with air conditioning…this is IT!!!

  18. From what I remember, Linen takes alot from sweat, it's cool .. but also extremely easy to wrinkle.
    And yes, nice experiment but I don't think the ladies from 1907 had global warming :/
    Also, you look gorgeous in the dress. Reminds me of one of those old expressionism paintings.

  19. Corsets and Menopause. must have been delightful! Then again, a relief. I enjoyed your living painting, you are delightful.

  20. Lots of swooning, I imagine. Something I think we should bring back. You know, if there's a problem, just swoon–wherever you are, the bank, the dr. the landlord. Esp good for bad news or anything you don't want to hear/talk about.

  21. Polyester is cheaper than cotton to manufacture. I can't wear synthetic fibers, so it's very hard to find a summer dress these days outside of the thrift store. Also, they had summer-weight wool, which wicked sweat and was not as hot as one would think.

  22. Well polyester is bad, but nothing is worse than spandex in the summer. Personally, I cannot wear anything that has spandex in it in the summer. And, I mind the heat no matter what I'm wearing, so I probably would have died from heat exhaustion if I lived back then. But it was a very interesting video thank you very much

  23. So this is the first time I have watched your channel, and the title of this video caught my eye, because I was JUST thinking of this last week, when I was on holiday, and in 30° weather, wearing only a Tshirt and shorts, I was so hot I thought I would pass out….and I thought, "Back in the 1800s, women lived in this place, and they wore WAYYYY more clothes…how did they not drop dead of heat stroke???"

  24. Can we make a full turn in era clothing styles? Like 1920’s make a come back in 2020? Lol how great would that be? 😀

  25. I didn't know using a parasol for shade was uncommon or at least not common anymore over there. It's very common from where I am and it's gotten to the point where I literally do not leave the house without bringing one!

  26. You look so stunning throughout this video. Like a pastoral painting. Reminiscent of Anne of Avonlea. 🙂 Lovely and informative, thank you.

  27. hey girl, having done a bit of historical reanctement myself, i think you would have felt worlds better if you had had a linen chemise. Cotton is super absorbant and traps moisture against the skin whereas good quality linen has long fibers and wicks it away from the sking so that when you move or air moves around you it evaporates cooling you. In the summer you gotta go 100 percent linen. Also not sure if it is important but i could see the bumpad through the dress when you were on the hill at at a distance… hope that helps 🙂

  28. I did some Civil War enacting and I searched (not too successfully) for very fine weight cotton to make the underpinnings out of. You will need to find fabric that is supper thin and flexible, not crunchy like modern fabrics. Vintage handkerchiefs should give you a good sense of what you need.

  29. We always ask the question – "how did they deal with this heat in all that clothing?!" Air Conditioning didn't exist back then so I don't think they knew any different. They just dealt with it since that's all they knew. Natural fibers are the best though – all year round 🙂

  30. I carried one last year! but I got a tan this summer and gave up 🙁 I still bring it to out door events but not to work any more

  31. I don't care about what other people do in Western countries, I absolutely use parasols. In Asia (or on Amazon), you can find some really cute ones made just for sun. When I travel, I just bring my umbrella and use that as a parasol. It saves slathering sunscreen on the body (I still do the face for extra protection) so you don't add to the sweaty sticky mess. In the more southern climates having shade, even if it doesn't really feel cool, is psychologically comforting. And again in southern climates, where the heavens come down without any warning, you are constantly ready for the sudden downpour.

  32. Wow, well, this is the first time I see your channel. I liked this waaay too much. First you are super funny and in the real, quirky, natural, spontaneous way that is not often found anymore. Two, the garments are so cool and the moment in the video at 9:08 you are walking down the grassy hill and you seriously look like an old painting. It is just beautiful, and it looked SO NATURAL, as if I was somehow looking into another time, I just loved those few seconds. So great video, and great vlogger. I'm gonna be watching your channel now!

  33. I wear a full linen Irish tunic called a léine croch and I tell you it's quite comfortable. Granted, they didn't (have to) wear trousers with them, in the summer. The breeze between the knees is pretty sweet. Also, 14:24 😐

  34. Good job. The clothes just look fun. I wear shorts that allow my knees to breathe. I had cape or long shorts to knees and just letting g air behind my knees let’s me deal with heat more comfortable.

    You just were Running up that long hill like a champ!

    I spent a weekend at a cabin which hasn’t changed since the place was made. It was great tasks used up the day . Eating with a fire and I guess we had a fridge however it really relaxes me and made me feel I could live like that. Hardly any needs, easy small space and just picking berries, cleaning up, cooking the meal reading.

  35. Was already going to Subscribe for your INCREDIBLE knowledge of historically accurate fashion…

    “This looks like some Edwardian Porn! DAMMIT! “

    Then you go and bless us with an experiment of functionality…

    Hun you’ve got me! I smashed that subscribe button SO HARD my screen protector splintered!

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