No, thanks
Manners, Customs, Clothing
donate Books CDs HOME updates search contact

Keeping Warm in the Winter

TIA Correspondence Desk

I was wondering if you could tell me how women who do not wear pants can keep their legs warm in the cold winter months?

     Thank you,


TIA responds:

Hello A.T.,

Finding proper winter clothing can be a challenge for counter-revolutionary ladies. One problem is that the material of modern clothing is flimsy and lightweight, most of the time unable to stand the test of chilling temperatures and biting winter winds.


A false dilemna: Fashionable bare legs or pants?

When deciding what to wear in cold weather today, the lady is confronted with two different trends: Either to be fashionable and wear short skirts with bare legs, relying on indoor heating, or to bundle up in thick snow pants and padded plastic coats without any feminine elegance to them.

Surely, the counter-revolutionary lady is wont to consider, there must be a way to be feminine and stay warm at the same time.

Indeed, there is and has been since the Medieval Ages beautiful, modest winter clothing. The brave women of the past always wore skirts – even in the coldest of weather. How, it may be wondered, did they keep warm? The answer is really quite simple: many layers of thick clothing.

Long woolen stockings

Although a proper lady does not wear pants, she also should not have her legs bare, see here. From at least the Middle Ages, women would not go without wool stockings in the winter. By the Victorian times, these stockings were more commonly made of cotton or silk. In very cold weather, multiple pairs of stockings were often worn.

winter clothing modest

Traditional ladies’ winter clothing in European countries

winter clothing modest

The stockings of the past were very long, extending above the knee and secured in place with a garter (a ribbon or strip of woven fabric that was typically tied just below the knee). As they covered most of the legs, sufficient warmth was provided. Although it is difficult to find such long stockings of a nice quality today, there is a growing interest in historical costume that makes it possible to find wool or thick cotton stockings, for instance from Townsends or Long Creek Mercantile.

The Nordic countries are well known for their traditional patterned knit wool socks. These were often colorful to complement their folk costumes and reflected the area in which they lived. Other wool stockings / socks that may be shorter are available at many online stores, as well as stores featuring outdoor clothing. Whatever style may be chosen, wool is the best material for keeping warm.

Other warm undergarments

arctic wear

Arctic wear: warm pants under the skirts & fur capes

We do not consider forms of pant undergarments to be wrong for women to wear, as long as they are not visible under the skirt, as is explained in this article. From at least the Victorian times, in winter women wore woolen undergarments that covered their legs. The Northern countries most assuredly wore similar garments for centuries to protect against the bitter cold.

With this in mind, in cold winter months it would be perfectly acceptable for ladies to wear wool or silk long underwear underneath their long skirts in order to keep warm. These are easily found today in clothing stores such as L.L. Bean and the Vermont Country Store in addition to other online shops such as Etsy.

Wool chemise

For centuries, the initial layer of clothing for women, appearing in various forms, was the chemise. This was a type of dress worn underneath all of the other clothing. Not only did it protect modesty, but it also added warmth to the wearer. In the wintertime, chemises were often made of wool. In the 1600-1700s before bloomers or pantaloons were commonly worn, this chemise would sometimes be tied between the legs in winter to guard against chilly gusts of wind.

As chemises made of wool are very hard to come by today, we recommend wearing the long-sleeved wool or silk tops that are often found accompanying the long underwear mentioned above. Wool sweaters and shawls also will serve the purpose of keeping the arms warm.

Layers of underskirts & the quilted petticoat

Perhaps the best solution to women’s winter clothing of days past was the wearing of multiple layers of petticoats (underskirts). The amount of petticoats a lady wore could vary from 2 to 10 – occasionally even more – depending on how wealthy she was or the degree of freezing temperature. Woolen petticoats were quite common, for even the poorest classes could afford rough wool material to make skirts.

layers winter clothing

Layered petticoats & head coverings keep these ladies quite warm

Today, counter-revolutionary ladies can find wool skirts in thrift stores that would work well for layering underneath their outer winter skirts. A lady may find that she needs to turn to fuller winter skirts in order to accommodate multiple layers underneath, but she will find it most beneficial and pleasing to her womanly nature.

Another form of petticoat became popular in the 18th century, the quilted petticoat. The quilted petticoat could be worn as a base layer or as the outer skirt itself. Similar to a quilted blanket, it consisted of two pieces of material with wool batting in between and stitched together with quilting stitches. This was a common form of undergarment, often made to be visible under a split dress skirt, that was worn at all times of the year. However, it was especially important in the winter.

Counter-revolutionary women in very cold climates may want to consider sewing or purchasing a quilted petticoat for added warmth.

Covering the head with scarves & hats

Most women are aware of the plethora of outerwear options available even today. Although one may think that wearing scarves and hats has little to do with keeping the legs warm, most heat escapes from the head. If the head is covered, the rest of the body is more likely to stay warm.

headcoverings anc apes

Head coverings & capes provide double warmth in hard winters

For this reason, we recommend finding nice quality hats and scarves to retain the body’s heat. If necessary, a scarf or shawl can be wrapped over a hat in order to keep the ears warmer. Ear muffs also provide extra warmth when outdoors on frigid days.

ladylike lovely winter

Ladylike and lovely winter wear of the past

Wool and furs are always the warmest options, and many such accessories, now discarded as old-fashioned, can be found in thrift stores and antique stores today.


In conclusion, we invite counter-revolutionary women to look to models of the past for elegant, feminine winter clothing and in this way set an example that women do not need to be modern to be beautiful or discard skirts to keep warm.

We invite ladies to closely examine the array of pictures of charming winter dress in this article in order to find inspiration for their own winter attire.

winter wear

Above, a Victorian winter; below left row, traditional German dress & girls skating, right row & below, Nordic winter scenes

nordic winters

nordic winter

woolen stockings

A young lady in hand knit woolen stockings


Blason de Charlemagne
Follow us

Posted October 9 , 2023

Related Topics of Interest

Related Works of Interest

A_civility.gif - 33439 Bytes A_courtesy.gif - 29910 Bytes A_family.gif - 22354 Bytes
C_RCRTen_B.gif - 6810 Bytes Button_Donate.gif - 6240 Bytes C_WomenVatII_R.gif - 6356 Bytes