All posts tagged: tippet

Terminology: What is a bosom friend?

To go with our 18th century ‘Rate the Dress‘, this week’s terminology post is 18th century.  Our term: bosom friend. A bosom friend isn’t just the 18th century word for your BFF.  It is, literally, a friend for your bosom: a shaped tippet of wool, flannel, or fur, and later a knitted scarf, which kept the chest warm and served as a bust enhancer for less well endowed women. Bosom friends were worn from the late 18th century till the mid 19th.  They were particularly useful with the low necklines and thin muslin dresses at the turn of the century. A 1789 entry in the Norfolk Chronicle explains the garment: The fashionable belles have provided themselves with bosom friends for the winter.  Their province is to protect that delicate region from assault in every kind; and they may be had at all the furriers shops in town. Once muslin became the predominant fabric, bosom friends weren’t just for winter use.  In 1802 Nancy Woodeford, a country parson’s niece from Norfolk, England, wrote of a friend coming …