Ulsters, or long-sleeved overcoats from the Victorian period, may have been useful in covering up ulcers, but that was not their primary occupation. This is not to suggest that folks in mid- to late-19th century England had no ulcers in need of obscuring. Surely an odd skin lesion appeared; surely its owner shied from displaying it to his or her critiquing contemporaries, and thought it convenient that the ulster coat resting on the rack in the foyer might do the trick splendidly.

A careful study of the Victorian era, including a glance at the works of Dickens, reveals that ulsters’ principal occupation was to shield the wearer from the persistent and pesky drizzle common in the British Isles. As a side perk, the coats allowed you to pretend you don’t have nipples, since owning a set could get you into hot water with the nipple police.

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