Exerpts on Travel Advice

Today’s exerpts come from Eliza Bisbee Duffey’s The Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Etiquette. (Philadelphia: Porter and Coates, c1877.)

THERE is no time or place where true ladyhood is more plainly indicated than in traveling. A lady’s traveling costume will be exquisitely neat and plain, without superfluous ornament of any kind.  Jewelry, artificial flowers or lace are out of place on either dress or bonnet.


The first consideration in a traveling-dress is comfort; the second, protection from the dust and stains of travel.  In summer, for a short journey, a large linen duster or overdress may be put on over the ordinary dress, and in winter a waterproof cloak may be used in the same way. But a lady making an extensive journey will find it convenient to have a traveling-suit prepared expressly. Linen is still useful in summer, as the dust is so easily shaken from it and it can be readily washed. In winter a waterproof dress and sacque are the most serviceable. There are a variety of materials especially adapted for traveling costumes, of soft neutral tints and smooth surfaces, which do not catch dust. These should be made up plainly and always quite short. The underskirts should always be colored woolen in winter, linen in summer. Nothing displays vulgarity and want of breeding so completely as the white petticoat in traveling. Gloves should be of Lisle thread in summer and cloth in winter, never of kid. Boots thick soled, stout and durable. The hat or bonnet must be plainly trimmed and completely protected by a large veil. Velvet is unfit for a traveling-hat, as it catches and retains the dust. Plain linen collar and cuffs finish the costume. The hair should be put up in the plainest manner possible. Curls or fancy braids are inadmissible. A waterproof and a warm woolen shawl are indispensable in traveling. Also a satchel or handbasket, in which should be kept a change of collars, cuffs, gloves, handkerchiefs, towels and toilet articles. A lunch-basket is sometimes desirable. A traveling-dress should be well supplied with pockets. The Waterproof should have large pockets; so should the sacque. The pocket of the dress should be deep and large. In an underskirt there should be provided a pocket in which to carry all money not needed for immediate use. The latter may be entrusted to the portemonnale in the ordinary pocket, or in the bosom of the dress.


The most sensible directions we have observed for a sea-voyage appeared recently in a well-known paper. They are so good that we take the liberty of transferring them to these pages. Even though the directions may not be complied with to the letter, they will serve as a basis upon which to build the needs and requirements of a voyage across the Atlantic.

It should be borne in mind that it is desirable not to be encumbered with too much baggage at such a time. It is always troublesome to look after and really unneeded, for one is going where all the requirements of civilized life are to be found in abundance, and where one must shop, whether there is any need or not, merely to be in the fashion. Therefore it may be well to create the need, that the shopping may be done with a clear conscience. It is not necessary to supply ones self with many changes of underclothing in traveling; washing is always easily done on the journey at short notice. We not long since heard of a lady who was offered by her husband a trip to Europe if she would get all her personal belongings into a hand-valise. She did so, went and returned, and enjoyed the trip immensely.

The writer above referred to says: “An elastic valise and a hand-satchel, at the side of which is strapped a waterproof,” are enough baggage to start with. “In the valise changes of linen, consisting of two garments, night-gowns and `angel’ drawers. These latter are made of cotton or linen, and consist of a waist cut like a plain corset-cover, but extending all in one piece in front with the drawers, which button on the side. Usually the waists of these drawers are made without sleeves or with only a short cap at the top of the arm, but for
a European trip it is advisable to add sleeves to the waist, so that cuffs-paper cuffs if preferred-can be buttoned to them. Thus, in one garment easily made, easily removed, and as easily washed as a chemise, is comprised drawers, chemise, corset cover and under-sleeves, the whole occupying no more room than any single article of underwear, and saving the trouble attending the care and putting on of many pieces. A gauze flannel vest underneath is perhaps a necessary precaution, and ladies who wear corsets can place them next to this. Over these the single garment mentioned adds all that is required in the way of underwear, except two skirts and small light hair-cloth tournure.

“Of dresses three are required-one  traveling dress of brown de bege, a double calico wrapper and a black or hair-striped silk. The latter is best, because it is light, because it does not take dust, because it does not crush easily and because by judicious making and management it can be arranged into several costumes, which will serve for city sightseeing throughout the journey and be good
after ward to bring home. Then, if there is room, an old black silk or black alpaca skirt may be found useful, and an embroidered linen or batiste polonaise from last summer’s store.

“Add to these a black sash, a couple of belts, an umbrella with chatelaine and requisite attachments, a pair of neat-fitting boots and pair of slippers, some cuffs, small standing collars and a few yards of fraising, a striped or cheddar shawl, a `clouds for eveiiings on deck, some handkerchiefs and gray and brown kid gloves, and, with a few necessary toilet articles, you have an outfit that will take you over the world and can all be comprised in the space indicated, leaving room for a small whisk broom, essential to comfort, and a large palm-leaf fan.
“Stores, such as lemons, a bottle of glycerine, spirits of ammonia and Florida water, which are really all that are required-the first for sickness, the last three for the toilet-should be packed in a small case or box in such a way that the flasks containing the liquid will not come in contact with the fruit. After landing the box will not be wanted, as the lemons will have been used and the flasks can be carried with dressing-combs and the like in the satchel.”

Published in: on February 2, 2013 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: