What to Wear
Yes, you can wear period attire, but you don't have to! Men and women at the turn of the century trained in their corsets, waistcoats, top hats, and all the typical attire of the era. Starting around 1900, instructors discouraged women from wearing corsets during exercise. While we would not recommend training in delicate, irreplaceable clothing like your great-grandmother's wedding dress, durable nineteenth-century clothing or reproductions are perfectly appropriate, including corsets, bustles, long skirts, and other characteristic Victorian or Edwardian attire. A plain tee-shirt, tank top, or Henley, knickers, bloomers, or a striped naval or middy top are also historically appropriate, and would have been worn by more health-minded "physical culture" enthusiasts of the turn-of-the-century.
You do not have to wear historic attire; comfortable workout clothing is perfectly fine.
The material presented is chosen to reflect the fact that Victorian ladies would be restricted with corsetry. If you are frequently accustomed to wearing corsetry, then you may not find it too restrictive, but only you can say. If you choose to train in a corset, we'd suggest you be prepared to remove it if it proves too constricting. The training facility is air-conditioned, but July in New York City can be hot and humid. You may be more comfortable in uncorseted or masculine Victorian exercise attire such as bloomers, knee breeches, a cotton chemise, striped undershirt, and so forth.
Nineteenth-century women fenced in high-heeled lace-up boots, but they wore soft flat shoes for other types of physical training. We recommend flats rather than heels, considering that the seminar is 4.5 hours in duration. If you do not want to spoil your Victorian appearance with sneakers, then Chinese cotton Mary Janes or kung-fu slippers are an alternative.
What to Bring
Bartitsu incorporates self-defense with a walking stick, sturdy parasol, or umbrella, so we recommend you bring one to the seminar. We do not recommend training with fragile antique parasols that are irreplaceable. A contemporary parasol would be more suitable. Lightweight walking sticks are suitable. The instructor will have practice sticks to loan to students if you do not have your own. The training facility is equipped with a shower and changing rooms; bring your own towel.