What's underneath the skirts?
As I promised, I’ll comment on what equestriennes through history might have worn underneath their skirts. Keep in mind it was not until the end of the seventeenth century that special clothes were developed for the purpose of riding. Until that time, women rode in their everyday dresses, presumably in their everyday underwear (or as in the middle ages, probably nothing).
The bottom line is, we really don’t know much about what women equestriennes wore underneaththeir skirts until the typical riding habit as depicted in Victorian magazines was advertised showing custom doeskin riding breeches as part of the get-up---the breeches clearly intended to be worn under all those petticoats and yards and yards of skirts.
In this painting by Claude Deruet (French, 1588-1622) we get a rare glimpse of what ladies did wear under their clothes, at least in the sixteenth century, and when they just happened to be out riding on a hunt. The women, who are probably members of the court of the Duke de Lorraine, are riding aside and one of them has taken a tumble, thus affording us an uncommon look at what she is wearing underneath her skirts---refined little slippers, pretty stockings and be-ribboned garters---hardly a practical for a chase. But the fanciful seventeenth century taste in everything prevails in this painting, right down to the long, white silky manes of the horses, which were specially bred at this time to compliment their rider’s elegant appearance---er---rather in INelegant, in the case of the poor equestrienne who has fallen. What a long, long way we have come!
And lastly, for my exciting news and wonderful surprise from my editor at Kensington, see my new cover for my Sept 2007 book, DARK RIDER at www.kdennis.com! The hero is a hunk, and man, does he have a "horseman hands." ;-) Will post a larger version on the blog later---working hard tonight to get my info and pre-order stuff up on Amazon! For a mini preview, check out the cover in the banner to the left...Kalen posted for me earlier today. Cheers!