I may have intimated (a time or two) that I grew up in a climate in which a cotton dress and ankle socks were appropriate attire for a little girl pretty much year-round.  For really cold weather, I had tights, and all my sweaters were acrylic, since my mother’s and grandmother’s childhoods were a horror-show of scratchy wool.

Thus, I was bemused by stories like those of E. Nesbit, in which children wore woollen combinations, long black woollen stockings, wool dresses, and pinafores.  Later, of course, I learned about central heating, or its lack, and why home decor used to feature layers of rugs, velvet curtains pooled on the floor, and other draft-cutting devices.

And here I am, wearing wool tights and a merino pullover under a thermal-knit dress.  All I need is the white pinafore.  If I had a Psammead, every day I’d wish we could both go spend the day in a nice desert.


7 thoughts on “Edwardian layers

  1. As a girl also raised in a cotton-dress climate, I was obsessed with chilblains — knowing what they looked like, how they felt, what the long-term effects were. I was quite the little Wednesday Addams about it.

  2. I grew up in the snowiest place in the U. S., so snow was no mystery, but never saw chilblains, which were something only people in novels suffered. But wool leggings–now you’re talking.

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