What Not To Wear – 1861 to 1865 / Part One ~ Ladies Head Coverings
I’ve often wished that a Civil War Stacy and Clinton would visit a re-enactment, select an unsuspecting offender of mid 19th Century fashion, show the years of secret footage, and then throw away all of the shiny/flammable acetate ball gowns, fascinator style hats with yards of matching rayon lace cascading down the back, pink kepis, fingerless mitts, and faux tapestry knapsacks.
It never fails to amaze me how the sutlers (vendors) at reenactments selling the most unfortunately inauthentic wares tend to appeal to the masses. Listen up – just because a sutler has a sign posted outside the tent saying “period correct” does not make it so. Just because you have seen it in a movie, on a website or on TV, doesn’t mean it is correct. As P.T. Barnum is perhaps wrongly credited with saying “there’s a sucker born every minute”.
Don’t take your cue from movies, online vendors, your best friend, eBay, or what a sutler offers at an event. Look at original images, paintings, period magazines, museum collections, and talk to credentialed historians.
The photos associated with this post provide a compendium of “What Not To Wear” head coverings from 1861 to 1865 – or perhaps EVER!
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