BREACHES AND PANTELETTES
- it's usage, or not, in old Portugal -
Just this week I came across a published article, which pdf I was then given by a person who is interested in the studying the ethonology of garments (MAP) and which spoke about underwear in Portugal, more so breaches and pantelettes. It was published in the following site, which is linked to the Silgueiros Museum in Viseu: www.assops.pt
I will translate this article (issue nr. 19, I believe, unfortunatly don't have the author's name),although I'm sad that it hasn't any time-period as reference; it speak about the subject through time in a very generalist fashion. I hope you'll enjoy it nevertheless.
«A piece of perdition
Underpants, as for men or for women, are a piece of garment of currant use today. But it hasn't been always like that. For centuries nobody wore them.
In Portugal, not even many years ago, this was a totally despicable piece of garment, by rich and poor. The first, because they followed Church rules and old traditions; the second, because, being poor, why would they add the expense of acquiring a new piece of garment to which they would add no value? Who hasn't seen throughout Portugal, specially inland, women urinating standing up, most naturally? And this was only possible because they didn't wore any underpants. The use of this piece was even forbidden by the Church, which with all it's might has always put on Society, because it was, what they called, a piece of perdition. And all because who wore them first where the Parisian prostitutes at the end of the 18th century. Being so, an honourable and dignified woman, mother and part of the family, onto whom the biggest consideration was placed, could not have close to her body a piece of garment that reminded deeply questionable behaviours. That’s why there was no use or value to it, nobody wore them. However, during Winter, and because of the cold, some ladies of higher social posts were “allowed” to wear them. But as to answer positively to habits and costumes, they were open, to enable any physiological needs, standing or sitting down on a chamber pot, as the fidalgas peniqueiras (Portuguese expression to describe common ladies who had a noble title and used chamber pots) did.»
Museu de Silgueiros- Centro de Documentação etnográfica
Image taken from the article mentioned above. Piece of garment belonging to the Silgueiros Museum in Viseu, Portugal.
Image taken from the internet (don't know the author).