As a woman that has worked on a farm, I know the importance of having movement and the women in Outlander are no different. The toil on the farm required one not to be bound by their clothes. Yes, I know there is the corset issue but that was the 1740s solution to breast support. The skirt design of the time period was full enough to allow a woman to ride a horse without clothing restrictions. On the other hand though, the jacket that was commonly worn over the corset could be tight and I am speaking from experience. This snugness was a necessity due to the fact that typically the only closure was a lacing up the front, which made the jacket adjustable to many different sizes along with holding the stomacher in place. While not much could be done about this restrictive nature of the jacket around the corset, the sleeves were another matter.
The solution to this restricting problem was lacing. The working class women of this time period would have lacing running in and out of the sleeves at the armpit level. This allowed the wearer to have freedom of movement but it also was a way of distinguishing between the working class and the upper crust. In the Outlander series, Claire represents both classes. When found, she is clothed with peasant type of clothing, which gives her the freedom of movement to wash clothes and perform her duties as a healer. But when she and Jamie go to France the clothing style changed to fit their new position. While she still performed as a healer and needed unrestricted movement, style became more important than function.
Written by: Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Bio: Mindy McIntosh-Shetter is a blogger, video blogger (vlog), and author. Check out her blog and YouTube channel to learn more about agriculture, plants, history, and ethnobotany.