Medium or long hair must be parted down the center and controlled low at the back of the head.
Short hair must be parted down the center kept controlled to hide bangs.
Fake hair or wigs can be used as long as they are in good taste and the same hair color as your hair.
If you color your hair, keep the roots the same color as the rest of your hair please.
A bonnet or hat should be worn at reenactments, unless you do not
own one and are not able to borrow one. This is not only for period impression, but it will also protect you from a nasty
Hats/Bonnets do not have to be worn at balls or period dances. (Most women prefer to wear their hair
styled with ribbons or jewels in their hair for dances.)
If no Hat/Bonnet is available to you, a Snood or hairnet may be worn as long as it
is in good taste. (Either brown or black, or a color matching your dress, no neon colors please.)
(They're called "foundation" garments for a reason!)
Chemise - RECOMMENDED. Necessary when you are wearing a corset. It will protect your
corset and dress from you and you from your corset. Trust us, corsets tend to rub if you are not wearing a Chemise.
Split crotch drawers or Bloomers/ Pantalets - RECOMMENDED.
For both modesty and convenience. (Remember, if your hoop tilts up, everyone will see your modern day underwear/thong. Bloomers
keep them hidden for your own privacy. Split drawers recommended to make using the bathroom easier- Don't have to untie and
Corset - RECOMMENDED. It is obvious when you are not wearing one. Although not required,
you will find that most Historically Correct Period patterns are fitted to a corset and thus would look funny (and not fit
properly) if you were not wearing a corset underneath.
Also, we do not require you to "suck it in" as they did in the Civil War. This is the 21st century, give
yourself breathing room!
Therapy note: Corsets have been known to provide back support for women who have bad backs,
especially lower backs. Recommended: A corset that is long enough to come down over your hips. This prevents boning
from digging into your thighs and stomach when seated and also provides better back support as well as slimming the waist
for those of us who wish to look a bit thinner!
Hoopskirt - REQUIRED!!! This is what gives the Civil War Era southern belle
her bell shape! The only exception to this is when wearing a campdress/workdress where hoops are not recommended
for working/cooking around the camp fire.
Keep hoops about 6" above the ground to prevent tripping over your hem.
90" to 115" circumference is a reasonable size range for most women. (5 or 6 boned-hoop for average
women. 4 boned if you are under 5 1/2 feet tall)
When worn, an Under petticoat is OPTIONAL and bloomers/pantalets are highly recommended.
(If you have split-crotch drawers, you will definately want an Under petticoat!)
At least one Over petticoat over a hoop is required to mask the lines of the
hoop (or for flouncing/ruffles to be sewn over the bones so they don't show through your skirt) Either one
Corded petticoats - Optional. Made of heavy cotton muslin or duct canvas and
rope. An alternative to hoops for working impressions.
Stockings - REQUIRED. Plain white, black, or other solid color. Striped stockings
of a very narrow stripe are acceptable or a fashionable young lady or child.
Being as we are out in a field where horses, cannons, and infantrymen are kicking up dust and dirt, we HIGHLY
recommend getting black stockings so as to hide the dirt and making washing easier. Stockings are thicker than pantyhose
and do not tear as easily, but do allow your legs to breath, unlike socks. Please do not wear modern pantyhose. Stockings
will prevent your shoes from rubbing blisters onto your feet!
Stocking bands or Garters are also recommended to hold the stocking
in place on your leg so you are not constantly pulling your stockings up all day long.
Socks are recommended for late fall and winter reenactments since they are warmer.
One-piece dresses or Bodices and Skirts are REQUIRED. We recommend the two piece as it is easier to get
dressed into and allows a bit more movement when worn. Also allowed: white blouses with jackets, vests, tea bodices, swiss
bodices, zouve jackets, etc. with skirt.
Dresses should be well fitted and made of a period appropriate pattern and style.
A narrow white collar is RECOMMENDED. A detachable collar that will fit all your dress bodices
is a good idea. If you are a lace-hound and enjoy shopping for collars, feel free to put an attached collar on each dress.
Collars are usually white, but ecru/cream colored are also allowed.
Low necklines should be reserved for night balls and period dances only.
Women were supposed to be modest during the daytime.
Showing cleavage at anytime is not acceptable. Please use good sense. We want to look like respectable women
and reenactors, not General Hooker's hookers.
Avoid obvious synthetic fabrics and trims. (No nylon, rayon, spandex.) Recommend: 100% Cotton,
Cotton Muslin, Polished Cotton, 80% Cotton-20% Polyester, 100% Wool, Chiffon, Taffeta, Jaquarde, Silk, Velvet, Satin.
Zippers are not acceptable. Buttons, Hooks 'n Eyes and Snaps are a better way to appear Period
Correct. If a zipper absolutely must be used (maternity clothes, etc.) do your best to hide it with over-hem or bias tape.
Reproduction shoes or Granny boots are RECOMMENDED. These can be purchased on eBay, from Sutlers, or
other reenactors. Recommended price is between $10-40. Personally, we do not recommend paying more than $45 for your shoes.
Black leather or fake leather is recommended. No polished black shoes.
Your shoes must lace up (no velcro) and should come to just above the ankle.
If you are able to fit in a Victorian boot comfortably that buttons up the shinbone, then good for you,
go for it, just remember you will be walking around in these shoes all day long and probably wearing the same shoes to the
ball/dance as well.
Also Recommended: Shoe padding or arch supports. A couple layers in the bottom of your shoe can save your
feet and ward off backpain.
If you aren't wearing reproduction shoes, you should at least wear black boots or shoes with very low
heels and low, blunt toes. Black flats that fit your foot well can be worn. Make sure they are comfortable to walk or stand in
for long periods of time.
No speed laces, thick hiking boots, modern sports/tennis shoes or canvas shoes please. We do not
want anything that screams "21st century."
Bare feet are not recommend as there are sharp objects sometimes found in the fields. A current Tetnus
Shot IS recommended before attending events.
Parasols- black or white acceptable.
Gloves- Full gloves for dances are allowed, netted mitts or hand gloves are acceptable
for tea parties and church services.
Aprons- Pinner or waist style are acceptable. Recommeded if you are doing a lot
of cooking around the campfire as aprons often serve as a hotmitt for removing pots from the campfire grill.
Shawls- Highly recommended for all weather. Decorative ones for balls/dances, shopping..
Plain woven, woolen,
knitted or crocheted ones for campfire or for warmth. Knitted or crochet "sontags" are also appropriate
Mantles, paletots, saques, cloaks, and capes are appropriate
for cool and cold weather.
Market woven basket- RECOMMENDED. Great for carrying things you buy at the Sutlers and
for carrying water with you to drink! Can also hide your camera, wallet, and car keys under a hankerchief in the basket!
The NO NO List
NO makeup (other than a little rouge for your lips and powder for your face.)
NO nail polish (did not have this in the 1860's)
NO modern glasses (did not have this in the 1860's) Contact lenses can be worn. Period
glasses with your prescription are highly recommended.
NO sunglasses (did not have this in the 1860's) Sunglasses were rare in this Era and usually meant
the wearer either had Syphallis or was blind.
NO wristwatches (did not have this in the 1860's) Pocket watches on chains are RECOMMENDED though.
NO cigarette smoking in view of others (if you smoke, make it a very private activity) Women did
not smoke in the 1860's, it was not seen as proper for a lady.
NO MODERN ITEMS VISABLE-
(This is important as we are trying to portray an Era from 150 years ago and Spectators do not wish to see
someone in Period Dress and wearing sunglasses, a ballcap, a pair of Nikes and a Marlboro perched on their lip.)
Please consult one of the 12th South Carolina Ladies for advice, help, and ideas.