Costumes for 1812
Historical Society of Talbot County
The Historical Society of Talbot County is an official partner of the War of 1812 Bicentennial.
This page contains information on putting together your own historic costume for 1812 events
Fashions had been influenced by the American and French Revolutions. No one wanted to dress like royalty anymore. Men wanted to look like a country squire, someone who had some money but still worked with his hands. Women copied the clothing of ancient Greece and Rome. The democracy of Greece and republic of Rome were the ideals for the new world of American and French liberation.
Clothing of this period is neither Colonial nor Victorian. It has a flair all its own.
Women's costumes are available for sale at many websites. Smoke and Fire has a lovely one at smoke-fire.com.
If that one doesn't strike your fancy, do a google search for "Jane Austen" or "Regency" costumes, and you will find a world of options.
Women who do not have long hair should wear a small white cap on their heads. A straw sunhat is a nice daytime accessory. They wore the hat tied down on both sides, around the ears. Any modern hat can be modified to work. Just sew or glue a ribbon to the top.
Simple ballet-style shoes are very appropriate to the era. They are easy to find at most shoe stores and departments. Wear them with thick white stockings (knee-highs or tights).
Simplicity pattern 4055 is an authentic, yet easy pattern for those who know how to sew.
Fabrics of 1812 were often made in the "mills" or factories of New England. For the first time, common folk could buy fabrics with printed patterns in bright colors.
For day wear, small prints were popular, of the type we often think of as calicos.
For evening wear, solid colors in satins with a sheer overlay in another color were very popular.
Occasional workshops for making your dress will be held during 2013. The next will be April 6 & 13 (2 day workshop to complete your dress).
Men who can find an old formal tailcoat have a good start to putting together a costume.
This costume was created almost entirely from items found at Goodwill. The shirt collar is worn to stand up, a scarf made a lovely cravat. The vest is from the women's department, but we won't tell. It is a lovely brocade and comes up high on the chest. Light colored pants may already be in your closet. The knee-high boots were a real find. The tailcoat was borrowed from a friend
For those who can sew, or have access to a tailor there are some good patterns. Taylor's Guide patterns are very good with directions being well written. Their web site is tailorsguide.com
Another source for patterns is Smoke and Fire at smoke-fire.com Make sure you are looking at War of 1812 or Regency costumes, not colonial era.
Historically authentic clothes are available for sale at a number of resources. Jas. Tonwsend and Son has a workshirt of coarse "homespun" jas-townsend.com and The Stuler of Mt. Misery has a white cotton shirt gggodwin.com
The most reasonable man's costume available for sale is at Candy Apple Costumes. Look for the Jack the Ripper costume. (Yes, we know, this should be the wrong period, but its the best jacket out there at an inexpensive price)
Men who wish to rent a costume are encouraged to go to Berrier's Menswear in Easton. They are aware of what is appropriate clothing for the era and will rent an elegant ensemble to you.
Men's hats are available at Panther Primitives. Most of our events will be in the summer, so we recommend the straw hat, Cat. No. 3020-887-1, which sells for $22.00 You can also get the top hat, Cat. No. 3100-062-2, which sells for $29.00
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Historical Society of Talbot County
25 South Washington Street
Easton, MD 21601
Telephone Number: 410-822-0773
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