Women’s Wear 1861 – 1865
Creating a Period Correct Impression

The following is information taken from articles by Elizabeth Stewart Clark, Cecilia Petree, various authors in The Citizens’ Companion and “Who Wore What?” by Juanita Leisch (1995).

The first thing you want to do when you begin to think about creating the correct impression is to determine who you want to portray. The wife of a lawyer dresses differently then the wife of a farmer. If you are not sure of exactly who you want to portray, then a conservative style is best. Next you should begin your research. Before the first dime is spent, begin to familiarize yourself with the look of the time period. Since a historically accurate wardrobe is an investment, better to spend your money once, then to replace items in a year or so. There are many books and web sites on this subject; some will be listed at the end of this article. Veteran Reenactors are also another good source of information. Be mindful of what Sutlers tell you. Many are very well informed but their first job is to be a salesperson. Ask questions all the time especially where you can learn more about reenacting.

The following information is not intended to be all inclusive, but merely guidelines to get you started on your way to an accurate impression.

Things to avoid:

How to begin:

Resources: The following are some of my favorites. There are many more books and web sites. Spend time searching on Google and you can make your own favorite list.

Links to other resources:

Abraham's Lady

Miller's Millinery Bonnets

Harpeer House

Originals by Kay

Blockade Runner


Sweet Ladies Mercantile

The Graceful Lady

Robertland Historic Shoes

Civil War Fabrics

The Dressmaker's Shop