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The Crazy Complicated World of Victorian Etiquette

Sitting Up Straight

Chairs for Victorian men and women each had very different designs. Men’s chairs were comfortable, throne-like, and had arms for relaxing upon. Women’s chair were high-backed and often had no arms, encouraging her to always sit up straight, as was considered proper for a lady. Even at the end of a long day by the fire with her husband and family, she was expected to sit up straight and this was partially because of her bustle and corset.

This way of thinking still dictates what we call certain kinds of chairs- an armchair is often called a club chair, the type of which would be found at a men’s club. Comparable ladies clubs were nonexistent at the time. Even today, most of us can’t imagine a “man cave” without some type of armchair!

Click “Next Page” to see more of the complex social rules of the Victorian era!

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