4th Mo Co E, What to wear for Women

The idea behind these rules is to help those who are not steeped in knowledge about the 19th Century. Wear your best is the number one goal. If the guidelines seem too strict for what you have, contact Daniel Keith and some sort of compromise will be worked out. Period dress is preferred over modern but that is just a preference.

No lady should dress as a gentlemen. If a lady attempts this she will not be allowed admittance into the ball.

For those new to hobby you can contact James Country to get the basics. I have already talked to them about what is needed. Just remember the fancier you go the more expensive it gets. If you decide to make your own, James Country, Simplicity, and others do have patterns.

We have been asked several times about the type of dress one should wear. A period example to what you want to accomplish is in the book "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott. In Chapter 3, The March sisters (Meg and Jo) are doing what they can to have an appearance of correctness so that they can go to a dance, to the point of sharing one set of gloves. Although, they wanted to do what was right they made do with what they had or could afford. That is the spirit we are looking for.

The choices are in order of preference:

  1. Authentic formal ball dress
  2. Authentic day dress
  3. Period ball dress using modern materials
  4. Period day dress using modern materials
  5. Modern formal dress (please be conservative)
  6. Current military (Dress A's or Formal)

No matter what you wear, the goal for a lady is to be noticed without looking like she is trying to be noticed.

General guidelines

  1. Understanding that time, money, and effort has limits to ones ability to make adjustments, there is more to the authentic look than just throwing on an 1860’s era gown. Sara Gonzalez has an article how on to look truly authentic. We are definitely not looking for perfection, just do the best you can.
  2. Anything from 1850 to 1865 is fine to wear.
  3. Unless you are coming in modern formal attire, please avoid things like plastic buttons, zippers, Nylon, etc. All period clothing should be constructed without using modern fabrics if possible.
  4. If you are not familiar with materials and patterns of Civil war era gowns and accessories please do a little research.
  5. Wear gloves if you have them.
  6. A fan is a fun thing to have.
  7. Jewelry is fine but should be conservative and scant.
  8. Flowers in your hair are nice.
  9. Tattoos should be hidden.
  10. Perfume is always pleasant but should not be overwhelming.
  11. At no time should a lady allow her legs to be visible.
  12. Period shoes are great but not mandatory.
  13. Whatever you choose to wear under your dress, take into account that you might fall with those around you watching.
  14. You may wear some sort of badge, pin, or flower arrangement is in support of the coming war effort, but please avoid being gaudy.
  15. It is always advisable to bring a small mending kit with pins for the unexpected wardrobe problem.
  16. Please don’t come as a specialty impression (Marry Todd Lincoln, Scarlet O’Hara, etc. ) unless you have cleared it with Daniel Keith. The only specialty impression attending currently is Scott George as Governor/General Sterling Price at the request of the ball committee. More may be allowed
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