Now then. What is a stomacher? Anyone? Anyone? You? You? In days of
old… when knights were bold… and ladies didn’t wear undies…
Did you know that? What was that all about? Don’t tell me jewelry
didn’t have its perks.
So. Shall we step by step this? The stomacher is a panel that fills
the front opening of a woman’s gown. It may be a boned part of a
corset. It may be a decorative item that lies over the front of the
bodice and is held into place by lacing. Or it may be a piece of
jewelry used to ornament the front middle section of an open gown.
This last item is what one would get for the woman who has
They were in and out of fashion in the 17th and 18th century
throughout Europe and North America. During this time gowns were
designed to specifically reveal the stomacher which covered the front
from neckline to waist.
And now… a perk for thems what especially likes perks … though I
tend to suspect most women would not consider this a perk. There was
a brief period during the court of Louis XVI when the neckline and
the stomacher began below the breasts which were covered by a
transparent ruffle of fabric called a Fichu. In order to enhance a
woman’s charms… the nipples would be rouged and then often pierced
and decorated with pearls and other Hence the saying…
“Hey Marie. What’s hangin’?” For some reason totally beyond any
rational human being’s comprehension… this fashion did not take
off. Go figure.
Though this is about a bejeweled stomacher… it would appear that
women’s clothing of the day bordered on torture. Boned stays on
corsets were used to ascertain women maintained the correct
posture-du-jour… ensuring they would be not able to bend their
bodies… and large hoops in the underclothes guaranteed that these
same women could not sit while attending royal functions because–for
them–sitting in front of royalty was not de-rigueur.
And then… before we return to the stunning bejeweled stomacher I
have to show you… let us segue south… to underwear… or the lack
thereof. In France–I believe this was sometime in the late 1600’s…
a piece of clothing was worn called a shift… or a chemise… or a
smock. It had a low neckline. It had elbow-length sleeves. And it was
mandated for reasons too arcane for me to delve into… that no
underwear was to be worn while wearing the aforementioned smock. How
Which brings us full circle to our stomacher… supposedly having
belonged to Queen Maria Victoria of Portugal. It is of Spanish or
Portuguese origin… created sometime during the mid 18th century. It
is considered that this time–at the beginning of this century --was
when the history of jewels became primarily the history of precious
stones. One look at the stomacher… made of diamonds and rubies…
and one can easily understand the reasoning behind this theory.
And now… ladies and gentlemen… may I present… at a location
many of you know… a stomacher extraordinaire.
For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at http://www.tyler-adam.com where you
will scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that
says Current Tidbits. Click it… and you will see represented on our
pages… a stomacher of the highest caliber… as stomachers go.
And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.