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Ladies of Texas - Truitt(10)

by Truitt LoDolce
(Houston, TX)

Recently the George Ranch Historical Park held Texan Market Days where people re-enacted life during the 1800's. One interesting fact that stood out the most was that pioneer ladies of Texas would have to wear 6-10 layers of clothes! If you think that is bad, imagine wearing that many clothes in the stifling heat of the summer.

Looking fashionable and pretty, women would torment themselves just to appear beautiful. There would be so many layers on the lady that it would feel like she was carrying 40 lbs on her shoulders. The women's wardrobe would include undergarments, corsets, petticoats, hoops, dresses, and aprons. No wonder why so many women would faint during the summer.

The reason why women would have to wear so many garments was for modesty purposes. It was immodest for a lady to show her wrists, ankles, or collar bone. Because of this their socks would come up all the way to their thighs and their sleaves would reach pass their wrists. Pretty much no skin showed except their face or fingers.

How did the ladies wear all those clothes in the Texas scorching heat? Well, all of their clothes were made out of cotton. This material lets air in more easily than wool or animal skins do. When standing still, women rocked back and forth; the reason for this motion was to circulate the air under the dress to cool off. These ladies were very inventive. They also utilized fans to aid them against the battle of keeping cool in the summer. Texan pioneer women were remarkable. They were able to stay fashionable, keep their modesty, and wear so many layers (when it would have been easier to wear just two), as well as to help make Texas what it is today.

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