Neck Hole
Key Hole
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An undergarment made of white linen or silk in the form of a shirt for men and a smock or shift for women. It appeared in the fourth CCntUry AD as body linen, rather than the tunic, under the name camisia and replaced the earlier loincloth. It continued to be worn until the end of the nineteenth century and for much of this time was a full garment, gathered into a round or square neckband, where it was embroidered and finished with a frill. Sleeves were long and full and ended in wrist ruffles. The chemise or shirt was visible during many periods of costume - at the neck above the tunic or gown, at the wrists and, sometimes, on the sleeves, as in the fif- teenth and sixteenth-century robe d 1'ita- lienne which had finestrelia gown sleeves in two separate sections for upper arm and forearm. These were fastened together by laces or points and the fullness of the chemise sleeve puffed out between and at the shoulder, where the gown sleeve was fastened in a similar manner to the arm- hole. in the decades when the gown neck- line was very d6colletd, the chemise neck- line was often low also, with its lace or frilled edging seen just above the gown. This was the fashion in the fifteenth cen- tury and again in the later seventeenth and the eighteenth century. With the three- quarter or elbow-length gown sleeves of these years, the chemise sleeve showed below ending in lace ruffles. With the scanty feminine attire of the early 1800s, layers of underwear had been drastically reduced and the chemise was left off or a simpler, sleeveless design was substituted. With the gradual return of normal underwear in the years 1810-12, the chemise was returned to favour with the petticoat.

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2006 March 28