+
upworthy
Education

Think it takes too long to get dressed? Be glad you weren't alive in 1857.

How did they go to the bathroom?

woman getting dressed, grooming, getting ready for work

Getting ready now takes far less time than it once did.

If you ever find yourself lamenting how long it takes to make yourself look presentable these days, be glad you weren’t alive in 1857. A woman who goes by @sewn.by.ellen describes herself on Instagram as a “fashion historian and historian costumer” recently posted a video captioned “Getting dressed in 1857,” and suffice it to say, the process was much lengthier and more complicated than whatever you have going on these days.

The Swedish content Swedish content creator begins the video wearing “chemise and drawers,” which she describes as the layers that would be closest to her body and washed most frequently.

Next is the corset, which @sewn.by.ellen says “creates the correct shape for the time and also supports the bust and makes my posture so much better.”


If you’re already feeling sweaty, hang in there, we’re just getting started!

​Next comes the “steel crinoline” which is perhaps the most unusual-looking piece of this outfit, given that it looks like a cage more than a garment.

But evidently, the steel crinoline was an improvement for ladies of the day who were used to creating the exaggerated shape afforded by the crinoline with a multitude of petticoats.

“The skirts in the 1850s were large and supported by several petticoats, sometimes up to 7 at once, so when the cage crinoline was introduced in 1856, it was a big relief for women. It’s made out of a connecting series of steel hoops and as you can see, it’s very light and foldable,” she explains.

Then she puts on a petticoat, just one, which fits over the cage crinoline, and then sleeves (the sleeves of the dress are their own separate garments because why not) and then the skirt of the dress and then the bodice followed by a bonnet.

By the end, there is very little flesh showing—pretty much just her face—and she cuts a gigantic, one assumes very fashionable for the time, figure.

The video went viral, having been viewed 5.3 million times. Commenters had a lot of questions, many of them having to do with how to handle the call of nature. “How in the world did they go to the bathroom?” asked suematkins2

“All I can think is by the time I got that all in [sic], I’d need to pee and I feel that would be quite a challenge, but it’s a beautiful outfit. I love the old fashion style!” said shannon_mcbroom.

Other commenters couldn’t help but wonder about how hot the getup might be.

“I’m grateful to live in more casual times. It looks kind of hot and restricting,” wrote cynthiaparbury. “I can’t wrap my head about [sic] women in that day having hot flashes w/ all those layers!” said duggbar

“What about the summer - so many layers of clothes” wrote danielline.philipine.

And then there were those who commented on how long the whole getting dressed process must have taken. “I would be late for work every day,” theghostofmisswillmott said. (Some commenters replied that women likely weren’t heading off to work in these days.)

“Makes you appreciate how easy we have it today in terms of easy-to-wear clothes. I don’t like taking longer than two minutes to get dressed,” said myladyscribbler.

“By the time she finishes she has to put on her nightgown,” said shivashab. “I am from 1850, and I am still getting dressed for work,” quipped sinneahartmusic.

The historically accurate dress was made by hand by the creator who has degrees in fashion studies and museum studies and who says she sews both as a hobby and for work. The video and its popularity serve as a fascinating reminder that having to pull it together to look presentable for your Zoom call when all you want to do is sit around in your pajamas, you know, hypothetically, is really not all that bad.

All GIFs and images via Exposure Labs.


Photographer James Balog and his crew were hanging out near a glacier when their camera captured something extraordinary.

They were in Greenland, gathering footage from the time-lapse they'd positioned all around the Arctic Circle for the last several years.

Keep ReadingShow less

Megan Montgomery and Jason McIntosh on their wedding day

If you were to look at Megan Montgomery's Instagram account, you'd see a beautiful, smiling woman in the prime of her life, her youth and fitness the envy of women the world over. You'd even see some photos of her with her husband (#datenight), with comments saying things like "Aww, gorgeous couple!"

But beneath her picture-perfect feed was the story of a woman in an abusive relationship with her husband—one that would start with his arrest shortly after they got married, and end 10 months later with him shooting her to death in a parking lot.

In a Facebook post, one of the people who was out with Megan the night of her murder detailed how her estranged husband had come to their table, put his hand on her neck and shoulder, and escorted her out of the building.

Keep ReadingShow less
popular

Scientists tested 3 popular bottled water brands for nanoplastics using new tech, and yikes

The results were alarming—an average of 240,000 nanoplastics per 1 liter bottle—but what does it mean for our health?

Suzy Hazelwood/Canva

Columbia University researchers tested bottled water for nanoplastics and found hundreds of thousands of them.

Evian, Fiji, Voss, SmartWater, Aquafina, Dasani—it's impressive how many brands we have for something humans have been consuming for millennia. Despite years of studies showing that bottled water is no safer to drink than tap water, Americans are more consuming more bottled water than ever, to the tune of billions of dollars in bottled water sales.

People cite convenience and taste in addition to perceived safety for reasons they prefer bottle to tap, but the fear factor surrounding tap water is still a driving force. It doesn't help when emergencies like floods cause tap water contamination or when investigations reveal issues with lead pipes in some communities, but municipal water supplies are tested regularly, and in the vast majority of the U.S., you can safely grab a glass of water from a tap.

And now, a new study on nanoplastics found in three popular bottled water brands is throwing more data into the bottled vs. tap water choice.

Researchers from Columbia University used a new laser-guided technology to detect nanoplastics that had previously evaded detection due to their miniscule size. The new technology can detect, count and analyze and chemical structure of nanoparticles, and they found seven different major types of plastic: polyamide, polypropylene, polyethylene, polymethyl methacrylate, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate.

In contrast to a 2018 study that found around 300 plastic particles in an average liter of bottled water, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January of 2024 found 240,000 nanoplastic particles per liter bottle on average between the three brands studied. (The name of the brands were not indicated in the study.)

As opposed to microplastics, nanoplastics are too small to be seen by microscope. Their size is exactly why experts are concerned about them, as they are small enough to invade human cells and potentially disrupt cellular processes.

“Micro and nanoplastics have been found in the human placenta at this point. They’ve been found in human lung tissues. They’ve been found in human feces; they’ve been found in human blood,” study coauthor Phoebe Stapleton, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers University’s Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy told CNN Health,

We know that nanoplastics are making their way into our bodies. We just don't have enough research yet on what that means for our health, and we still have more questions than answers. How many nanoplastics does it take to do damage and/or cause disease? What kinds of damage or disease might they cause? Is whatever effect they might have cumulative? We simply don't have answers to these questions yet.

That's not to say there's no cause for concern. We do know that certain levels of microplastic exposure have been shown to adversely affect the viability of cells. Nanoplastics are even smaller—does that mean they are more likely to cause cellular damage? Science is still working that out.

According to Dr. Sara Benedé of the Spanish National Research Council’s Institute of Food Science Research, it's not just the plastics themselves that might cause damage, but what they may bring along with them. “[Microparticles and nanoparticles] have the ability to bind all kinds of compounds when they come into contact with fluids, thus acting as carriers of all kinds of substances including environmental pollutants, toxins, antibiotics, or microorganisms,” Dr. Benedé told Medical News Today.

Where is this plastic in water coming from? This study focused on bottled water, which is almost always packaged in plastic. The filters used to filter the water before bottling are also frequently made from plastic.

Is it possible that some of these nanoplastics were already present in the water from their original sources? Again, research is always evolving on this front, but microplastics have been detected in lakes, streams and other freshwater sources, so it's not a big stretch to imagine that nanoplastics may be making their way into freshwater ecosystems as well. However, microplastics are found at much higher levels in bottled water than tap water, so it's also not a stretch to assume that most of the nanoplastics are likely coming from the bottling process and packaging rather than from freshwater sources.

The reality is, though, we simply don't know yet.

“Based on other studies we expected most of the microplastics in bottled water would come from leakage of the plastic bottle itself, which is typically made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic,” lead author Naixin Qian, a doctoral student in chemistry at Columbia University, told CNN Health. “However, we found there’s actually many diverse types of plastics in a bottle of water, and that different plastic types have different size distributions. The PET particles were larger, while others were down to 200 nanometers, which is much, much smaller.”

We need to drink water, and we need to drink safe water. At this point, we have plenty of environmental reasons for avoiding bottled water unless absolutely necessary and opting for tap water instead. Even if there's still more research to be done, the presence of hundreds of thousands of nanoplastics in bottled water might just be another reason to make the switch.

Education

Unearthed BBC interview features two Victorian-era women discussing being teens in the 1800s

Frances 'Effy' Jones, one of the first women to be trained to use a typewriter and to take up cycling as a hobby, recalls life as a young working woman in London.

Two Victorian women discuss being teens in the 1800s.

There remains some mystery around what life was like in the 1800s, especially for teens. Most people alive today were not around in the Victorian era when the technologies now deemed old-fashioned were a novelty. In this rediscovered 1970s clip from the BBC, two elderly women reminisce about what it was like being teenagers during a time when the horse and buggy was still the fastest way to get around.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

4-year-old's emotional intelligence is off the charts and people are giving kudos to his mom

The bedtime conversation between Aldie and his mom is incredible to witness.

Aldie knows how to articulate his emotions better than most adults.

Sometimes they even stand out from grownups. Take young Aldie, for example, whose ability to articulate his feelings exceeds many adults. When you find out he's barely 4 years old, hearing him calmly talk about his emotions and good choices is all the more remarkable.

Aldie's mom, Jonisa Padernos, tells Upworthy that she's felt he was "really special" since he started talking in full sentences at 20 months. "Believe it or not, he had no major tantrums in his toddler years because he was always able to express [himself] with his words," she says.

Keep ReadingShow less

We get to see the world through Mr. Kitters' eyes.

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a cat? To watch the world from less than a foot off the ground, seeing and hearing things humans completely miss, staring out the window for hours while contemplating one of your nine lives?

Well, thanks to one person, we need wonder no more—at least about what-they're-seeing part.

The TikTok channel Mr. Kitters the Cat (@mr.kitters.the.cat) gives us a cat's-eye view of the world with a camera attached to Mr. Kitters' collar. And the result is an utterly delightful POV experience that takes us through the daily adventuring of the frisky feline as he wanders the yard.

Keep ReadingShow less