Bloomers are an essential part of lolita fashion, and in my opinion, have their place in every princess’s wardrobe. Lolita, taking inspiration from Victorian-era fashion, also assumes the Victorian women’s use of bloomers.
♥ A Brief History of Bloomers ♥
Before bloomers became popular, women did not generally wear any form of undergarments. The habit of wearing drawers or bloomers under skirts was not formed until the nineteenth century. In the 1800’s, Elizabeth Smith Miller invented a garment that resembles our modern-day bloomers- with some adjustment. They had no crotch seam, to make it easier for women to relieve themselves.
Although we wear bloomers solely to cover our more intimate undergarments (by today’s standard), women back then wore so many overgarments (three petticoats and a gown) that there was no chance of a woman’s private parts being revealed, therefore a crotch seam was just unnecessary.
Although these drawers had been worn for over a hundred years, the name “bloomers” was only coined after Amelia Bloomer, a feminist from the 1800’s, designed the first “bloomer suit”, which consisted of ankle-length bloomers with an overdress meant to be worn when bicycling.
The term “bloomers” now refers to all forms and lengths of drawers worn by women (whether or not a crotch seam is present), and may also refer to the shorts worn by infants and toddlers to cover their diapers.
♥ Importance of Bloomers ♥
Although the general consensus is that bloomers are a staple item in a lolita’s wardrobe, this idea is not unanimous, and there are some girls who choose not to purchase, make, or wear bloomers. I do not wish to convert anyone to the wearing or use of bloomers, but I would like to make an argument for their practicality. I personally wear bloomers both in and out of lolita, so although all of these tips are meant specifically for lolita, many of them apply to just skirts and dresses in general as well.
♥ 1. ♥ Bloomers add an extra amount of modesty to an outfit. Many girls like lolita, especially classic and gothic girls, specifically for its modesty. Longer bloomers, such as knee-length styles, are fantastic for covering your legs. This is also helpful if you are self-conscious about your thighs.
♥ 2. ♥ Bloomers protect your underwear from being seen. Even if you aren’t particularly drawn to modesty, many girls don’t like accidentally flashing their undergarments to people. This is particularly important with shorter skirts. Even if you believe you are being careful, there are elements that are out of your control, such as stairs and wind- not to mention petticoats, which make the wind catch your skirt easily. Sweet lolitas, in my opinion, should always be wearing bloomers, as the combination of shorter skirts with fluffier petticoats means that your undergarments will almost definitely be visible at some point during the day.
♥ 3. ♥ They are comfortable. Bloomers can be made out of nearly any material (beyond delicate and sheer things such as chiffon, lace, or organza) and can therefore be made into incredibly soft materials like cotton or muslin. Beyond this, they can be made anywhere from knee- to thigh-length, to suit your preference.
♥ 4. ♥ They can add warmth, a necessity in cold weather. People often tell me that I am “crazy” for wearing skirts in the winter, but what they don’t realize is that I am being kept warm underneath my skirts by flannel or fleece bloomers. On the other hand, they can be made in very breathable materials such as muslin, for warm weather.
♥ 5. ♥ They are easy to make. If you don’t sew, bloomers can be a wonderful introduction into the hobby, because they are simple to make, don’t require much measuring, and are usually invisible to the passersby, so any sewing mistakes you make won’t matter much. Here’s a free sewing pattern for a pair of short bloomers in multiple sizes. I love this pattern, and it is my go-to pattern for sewing. This pattern is also pretty customizable- for instance, you can add lace to the hem, or decorative ribbons. You can also choose to elasticize the legs instead of using ribbon. These also make a wonderful base for embroidery.
♥ 6. ♥ They are inexpensive. Besides just making them yourself, which costs an average of $5 – $15 (depending on the materials you use and what you already have), they are inexpensive. There are many sellers on the EGL Community Sales and on Etsy who sell good quality, handmade bloomers for reasonable prices. Also, many brands (Metamorphose in particular) release bloomers in their annual lucky packs, which are then sold new for extremely inexpensive prices. I’ve seen brand lucky pack bloomers sell for only $25 shipped on more than one occasion.
In summation, I believe that bloomers are a necessary part of any princess, and particularly any lolita’s wardrobe. Beyond having that wonderful feeling of history to them, they are extremely practical for many reasons.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Princess Tip, and I hope you all have a lovely week! If your area is starting to get colder, like mine is, stay warm! ♥