Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Getting Personal: Drawers or Not?

George Costanza from Seinfeld modeling his boxers

Today we're going to get personal. No, not boxers or tighty-whiteies - rather drawers or go commando?

From what we can tell, New England men wore drawers. They were listed in both tailor's account books we've looked at, and they were advertised in period newspapers, mentioned in runaway ads, and frequently show up in ads for stolen property. Made of linen, cotton, linsey, dimity, wool flannel, ticking, and leather, you can understand why they would be a very practical garment.

Boston Gazette 1769

Boston Newsletter 1769

CT Courant 1781

Massachusetts Spy 1772

Drawers are something that could be laundered easily, thereby protecting your breeches from sweat and body oils.  By serving as a defacto lining, they would protect the inside of your breeches from normal wear and tear.  And very important to us, as New Englanders, they would help you keep warm!

Like shirts and shifts, not very many survive, but there are a few examples in museum collections.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Colonial Williamsburg

So maybe it's time to start thinking about adding this item of under wear to your kit.

As part of our Hive workshop programming for 2013, Henry Cooke will be offering a class on making drawers on Saturday, January 19th.  Stay tuned for more information! In the meantime, you can reserve a spot at hiveworkshops@gmail.com

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