Monday, August 27, 2012

Amazing Historical Accessories: The Chatelaine

Sometimes your research takes you on a bunny trail of serendipity, each new discovery forming a stepping stone in the form of a nugget of interesting information. The internet is built that way, I suppose, leading you from one site to another and sparking your curiosity just enough to go on one more time.

Anyway, all that is to say, I found something else from the 1900's post and subsequent family history discovery.

Remember that brooch with the scissors and all the little doodads hanging from Lucy's waist? Here's another look:

Check out the bottom left.
Turns out, that thing is a chatelaine (French for "mistress of the castle"), a wide broach or clip that pins to the waist with chains hanging from it. On the chains are clips, to which can be attached miniature notebooks, pens, keys, scissors, watches, sewing kits, magnifying glasses, and little cases or pouches to store anything else you might need. So handy!

According to this helpful article, chatelaines were often given as a wedding gift from a groom to his bride.

During the last few decades of the 19th century, dresses often didn't have definitive waistlines, so chatelaines migrated north and were pinned to the bodice.

The chatelaine is such a pretty and practical accessory. I wish they were still around today.



I was going to type something clever, but my cat provided this triumph of literature. Thank you for commenting! Just keep it clean, on-topic, and respectful.