Home
History
Information
Impression
Photographs
Logistics
Registration
Directions
Into the Storm: Hopewell 1861
June 2-4, 2017

Civilian Clothing Authenticity Standards & Guidelines:

Overview: This event will focus on men, women, and children living in Southeastern Pennsylvania in 1861. The primary impressions should be working class people whose livelihoods are connected to the operations of the iron furnace. Clothing should be made in the style and construction techniques of the late 1850s/early 1860s. This is an area not far from Northern industrial cities, such as Philadelphia and therefore manufactured good could be obtained fairly easily. If appropriate to your impression, middle and upper class clothing of the period may be acceptable. This is a pre-war, civilian-only event and no military clothing should be worn.

Adult Women

  1. MOST should be portraying furnace worker or farmer families. Cotton, wool, or wool/cotton blend everyday or "work" dresses (matching bodice and skirt) in woven checks, plaids or stripes or in period prints with modest work hoops, corded petticoats or no hoop at all. Trim, if any, should generally be minimal and understated.
  2. Cotton dresses should preferably be gathered bodiced, although fitted cotton bodices are allowed. NO pagoda sleeves in cotton dresses. Preferred sleeves styles are bishop, coat and "balloon" (one piece variation on coat sleeves which is the most common in cotton "work dresses").
  3. Solid colored cotton dresses were comparatively rare and are discouraged unless you are very poor and have over-dyed an older print dress. Wool dresses were frequently solid colored and are encouraged. Wool dresses may also be in challis-type prints or woven stripes, checks and plaids. Bodices and skirt must be of the same material. No blouse/skirt or blouse/skirt/jacket combinations.
  4. Correct aprons (either pinner or half apron styles) are highly encouraged as most women will working and will want to protect their dresses. Depending on your impression and work for the weekend, you may want to bring appropriate leather work gloves or other items to enhance your working impressions.
  5. Correct underpinnings are required. Unless you are portraying an extremely poor person, a either a corset or working stays are required. If you do not wear a corset or stays, you may NOT wear a modern bra.
  6. Outerwear (shawls, capes, mantles and coats) should be practical and of appropriate material and construction.
  7. Period reproduction shoes and boots of leather or homemade substitutes, or reasonable facsimiles thereof (no "speed laces", thick rubber soles other telltale signs of modern footwear)
  8. Appropriate headgear: bonnets, slat bonnets, corded sunbonnets, quilted bonnets, knitted hoods. No ladies "day caps" out of doors except on older women (e.g. 55 and over). Avoid dressy fashion bonnets, opting instead for a practical, modest straw for Sundays (if appropriate to your impression) and less formal bonnets (slat, corded, quilted, knit, etc) for everyday. NO hats are allowed on women over 25 and they are actively discouraged on all but very young children as it was a high fashion / resort look.
  9. Correct period hairstyle- center part, no bangs, hair confined at or below the nape of the neck. Hair nets, if worn, must be of correct materials and worn appropriately. No reenactor "snoods".
  10. Period eyeglasses or modern contact lenses are permitted. Any jewelry and accessories should be in keeping with your socioeconomic level and situation - simple or none at all. If you're wearing a white collar with your dress rather than a neckerchief, you should wear a brooch or a bow.
  11. Unless there is a scenario-related reason for not protecting the neckline of your dress, please wear either a white collar with your dress or, if portraying a working class person or someone going about farm chores, a neckerchief.
  12. PROHIBITED: visible make-up; modern hairstyles, bangs, or loose hair; painted fingernails; sweatpants; nylons or visible socks; white blouses; blouse/skirt or blouse/skirt/jacket combinations; modern eyeglasses; sunglasses of any kind; zippers; Velcro; zippers; plastic buttons or jewelry; wristwatches; obviously synthetic fabrics, stud or post earrings.

Adult Men

  1. MOST civilian men should be portraying workers in the iron furnace or related industries or farmers. These men generally should be in sacks coats, worn with a waistcoat (vests) and trousers, probably unmatched rather than a "suit of dittoes". Clothing should be in period materials appropriate to the garment type and your socioeconomic level -- e.g. wool, linen, or period blends such as jean cloth or linsey. Particularly suitable weaves for sack coats include broadcloth, cassimere, satinette and kersey.
  2. A small percentage of frock coats might be acceptable, depending on your impression (e.g. doctors, preachers, wealthier landowners). Overshirts, smocks, shop aprons, overalls, and other "occupational" clothing are highly encouraged for working class impressions.
  3. Outerwear (men's shawls, capes or coats) is encouraged as it may be appropriate for your impression but must be of period construction and materials.
  4. Buttons should be of period materials: shell, glass, china or bone buttons on shirts; bone or tin buttons on trousers; 1851 patent hard rubber, cloth or "coin" type metal buttons on coats, depending on the coat type.
  5. Shirts should be made of cotton, wool or appropriate blends, in either woven checks or stripes, or appropriate cotton prints, or solid colors (e.g. white "boiled" shirts for Sunday or the wealthier). Overshirts may be made of wool flannel.
  6. Suspenders must be of correct construction (e.g. no "Y" backs) Neckwear must be of appropriate materials. If tied, it must be tied correctly. "Cheater" ties did exist in the era and documented styles of these are encouraged.
  7. Socks should be period-appropriate, and of cotton or wool. Correct underclothing is recommended and no visible modern underwear is allowed.
  8. Men's shirts, particularly white ("boiled) shirts were considered underwear in the era. Adult men should not appear in public in their shirtsleeves without either a waistcoat (vest) or overshirt / smock of some kind. Waistcoats should be of a period appropriate pattern, e.g. flat along the bottom rather than the later and modern pointed style, and made of a material appropriate to the era.
  9. Period reproduction boots, bootees or shoes, of leather or homemade substitutes. No bare feet.
  10. Properly blocked hats or period caps should be worn outdoors.
  11. Pocket watches are permitted if suitable to impression. No wristwatches. If needed, wear period eyeglasses or modern contact lenses.
  12. Correct period hairstyles and facial hair (if worn).
  13. PROHIBITED: Modern socks; fancy embroidered vests; modern eyeglasses or sunglasses; zippers; Velcro; plastic buttons; wristwatches; earrings; John Wayne-type bandannas (1880s!), obvious synthetic fabrics.

Youth and Children

  1. As noted for adults with modifications appropriate to age. For example: boat necklines, short sleeves, and calf length skirts are appropriate for girls; short trousers and shirtsleeves for pre-teen boys (waistcoats for older boys encouraged but not required). Dresses are correct for toddlers of both sexes. .
  2. Boys should have their hair parted on the side and girls should have their parted in the middle.
  3. Keep modern infant accessories (i.e. diapers, baby bottles) kept out of sight. No modern toys.
  4. We realize that exact period reproduction shoes for children can be a huge expense as they are so quickly outgrown. If reproduction footwear for children is not possible economically, they should at least be wearing style which are a good approximation of period styles -- e.g. lace up or elastic gusseted shoes or boots with either square or round toes, with no obviously modern features.