In the third of our posts documenting the first Underpinnings Twitter conference, we are sharing the presentation of Lucie Whitmore, entitled Boudoir Caps & Zeppelin Nighties: How fashionable women dressed for air raids in the First World War.

During the First World War, technological improvements in aerial warfare allowed conflict to move from the fighting front to the home front, in the form of air raids. Civilians had to flee their beds in the case of a raid, and thus women were encouraged not only to dress practically but also to look presentable when greeting their neighbours. Using contemporary magazines and newspaper reports, this paper explores the links between warfare and the way women dressed for bed; as boudoir caps experienced a revival and, for the first time, pyjamas became a popular and acceptable choice for women.

Lucie Whitmore is a final year PhD student at the University of Glasgow, her research explores the relationship between war and women’s fashion in Britain between 1914 and 1918. She worked for three years as costume intern at the Museum of Edinburgh, where she co-curated a new permanent costume display. She is the co-founder of ‘War Through Other Stuff’, a society dedicated to exploring the non-military history of war. She recently published an article on mourning dress in Women’s History Review, and is currently co-editing two special themed issues of the British Journal for Military History.

We will share each of the conference presentations via its own blog post over the coming weeks. If you’re on Twitter, you can join the discussion via the Underpinnings Museum’s account and the conference hashtag #UPMTC

The header image for this post is of a yellow silk, lace & ribbonwork bow appliqué boudoir cap (c. 1910s, Great Britain) from the Underpinnings Museum collections. Photo by Tigz Rice