What Lizzie Borden Wore

This video will give you a good idea of how Lizzie got dressed every morning. We know a great deal about her clothing right down to her black tie Oxford shoes. This video shows the lady in a combination undergarment which turned the chemise and drawers into something like a “onesie” that babies wear today. There were still women who preferred their crotchless knickers and long chemise with corset over it and then a corset cover on top of that. The little “bum pad” was not meant to be a bustle- by 1892, the second bustle period which was ridiculous to the point of a small dog being able to perch on one’s backside was long gone. This bum pad was to smooth out and support the line and back weight of a demi train or heavy fabric. Actually this young lady in the video does not put on a corset cover which is why you see a ridge of the corset top under her blouse. Picture Lizzie doing this every day in summer! In winter there were even more warm knitted garments to put on.

In the Legend of Lizzie Borden, Elizabeth committed the murders in the nude. Considering all the clothing shown in this video which a lady of 1892 would have worn, it is hard for us today to imagine oneself having the flexibility of movement to have carried out a crime in such an outfit. One saving grace was the wide-bottomed skirt, sometimes called a “morning glory” as it had anywhere from 3 to 7 gores allowing for a wide, roomy expanse at the bottom of the skirt for walking and running and movement in general. The dress Lizzie would burn in the stove was actually a blouse (basque or waist) and a skirt made of the same fabric, giving it the appearance of a dress. The famous blue bengaline which Lizzie handed over to the police as the dress she wore on the day of the murders was actually a Navy blue blouse and silk Bengaline skirt. These she handed over with a petticoat, black stockings and tie Oxford shoes. She said she had washed the stockings. There are many interesting facts to consider when examining all of the textiles in this case. If only a skirt and blouse needs to be removed and replaced with a different skirt and blouse, it can be done in about two minutes.


  • kate lavender

    I love these daily pieces of digestible Lizzie bitz. I recently recorded the autopsy reports from Professor Wood, Dr. Dolan, Dr. Draper, and Dr. Cheever into podcasts for Season 2 of Lizzie Borden Audio. I can also tell you, that in my opinion, Lizzie was not naked during the murder or there would not have been such a big deal over the Bedford Cord dress and let’s not forget the blood drop found on the outside of her white undergarment. That was a cute video.

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