I… CAN explain…
Why I hear the name of this item from fashion history and, instead, this voice / song swells in my mind palace…
Please know that I am working to keep my tendency to digress at a minimum, but also working to keep my tendency to “K.D. Lang free associate” to a minimum as well.
We’ll see how it goes.
I love a chatelaine. I love that something of beauty was created out of that which was excluded (surprise, surprise), later reluctantly and sparingly doled out, to women. I still don’t have enough of them in my life.
Chatelaine because no pockets.
Shoot. Digression affliction again. I will post on female oppression and pockets at a different time.
A chatelaine is:
Talk about brilliance!
Talk about convenience!
Talk about a KICK ASS mobile device!
Tired of needing to open doors but not wanting to fumble in a purse for keys? Need a pencil? Notebook? Whistle to call a dog or for the sadly numerous other reasons a woman might need a whistle as they are moving through their day-to-day lives?
Seamstress? Here’s your scissors and sewing kit.
Out working, getting paid and oops! Shoe’s come undone? Coin purse and button hook.
The concept of waist-hung items is almost universal across all cultures. Japanese netsuke… Chinese embroidered pouches… Chaucer’s Pardoner… but the chatelaine was a more useful addition to an outfit, facilitating the demand of plurality placed upon women.
There were two styles of chatelaines… The majority had a medallion at the top with a metal tongue hooking over the waistband. The other style, more typically American, had a very long brooch pin at the back.
Women wore the beautiful ones in public while leaving the plainer ones at home when they went out and about.
Above is a daguerreotype of a woman being photographed with her chatelaine, and a close up.
Chatelaines could hold spectacles, perfume, handkerchiefs… even a little paint box in addition to all of the things mentioned above. Chatelaines were for holding any and all things that a woman might need handy, regardless of setting or role.