Unfortunate Civil War Impressions at Chancellorsville, Part II~More Tips for the Challenged Re-enactor of the Female Persuasion!
Make-up is unacceptable unless one is portraying a woman of ill-repute aka “fast “or in modern parlance, a ho’, in a place such as New Orleans. Reputable ladies do not wear paint. As an added incentive to eschew paint, please note that makeup skews one’s face in a period photograph. Rouge and red lipstick will show as black in wet plate collodion photographs. We have scene more than one woman leave our studio horrified at the result, which is not the fault of an innocent camera.
Now, I will address what is usual and customary for a period dress. There are myriad options available. What is not optional is a corset. A properly fitted corset is not uncomfortable. Once I’m laced and dressed for the day I barely recall that I am wearing a corset. Women of all classes wore corsets. Many women avoid corsets because they think them uncomfortable. But really, one looks much more attractive in those tight fitting bodices when the “girls” are lifted by one’s corset and the waist cinched a bit. And there are some pretty corsets available to make one feel good all under!
A dress is, in nearly every example for women over 20, a bodice attached to a skirt sewn from the same fabric and pattern. Unless one is a child or wearing a ball gown, an 1860’s dress fastens in the front with buttons or hooks and eyes, has long sleeves and is made from cotton, wool, silk or a blend of these fibers. Look at CDVs, surf the web, or buy Donna Abraham’s books for inspiration.
Here is the link.: http://www.abrahamslady.com/
And please, DO NOT WEAR A SEPARATE WHITE BLOUSE AND COTTON SKIRT! Look at the photographs. Where was they wore! Help the general public understand they way they were.
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