Friday, April 27, 2012
Clothing in Colonial America: A Trip to the Past - Part 7
Revolutionary War re-enactors put on a history-of-fashion show — British and American fashion — during my visit to Camden, S.C. (Here are part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6).
I had always heard the British referred to as "Redcoats," but their forces were a colorful lot. Here's an officer in a blue coat with red trim.
The Hessians, Germans hired by the British to come fight in America, wore wigs with a long ponytail down the back. Hessian sharpshooters wore green coats, like this man on the right. Notice his high gaiters (waterproof canvas that looks like boots). The knot on his sword indicates rank.
His German wife, dressed in green riding habit, emceed the fashion show. She said the dangly balls on her hat were designed to keep flies away.
Next to her is an Anglican priest. He has to wear a wide-brimmed hat because the colony has so much more sunshine than back in England.
We forget that Americans fought on both sides during the Revolutionary War. Militia wore whatever clothes they brought from home, which could lead to confusion during battle. So they used symbols to show which army they were with. In 1780, Marion's men wore something white (a feather or paper) in their hats, while the tories wore small pine branches in theirs.
The taller man is showing the waistcoat that he wears under his hunting coat.
This dandy is getting arrested for a wild night out on the town (maybe he should get arrested for those fancy stockings!). He's at the height of fashion with a corduroy coat, silk waistcoat, shoes with buckles and a walking stick.
This British grenadier proudly wears marine and navy emblems. His sword is an investment, bought by his family for 20 shillings.
Next week: Women's clothing in colonial America.
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