Found some really interesting 18th century fashion studies on a site called 'The Hive Online'... my favorite bit is at the bottom where they take physical descriptions from runaway ads and make a picture of a interpreter in those same clothes. Well done!

They also published a list called:

10 Easy Things to Improve Your Battle Road Kit
...and a couple of less easy things
I'll reproduce the men's portion here... along with a picture of the Doctor and notes on each of their suggestions about what I have done (in red).

1. Use a neck cloth
I use a brown leather neck stock that I made myself, and occasionally will wear a plain black silk scarf as well.

2. Forget about those horizontally striped stockings - there's no documentation for them
Don't own any, but they are kind of fun! I do own a lovely pair of mustard colored stockings that I wear on special occasions.

3. Remove any medals or unit pins from your hat or coat
Don't have any medals or pins, I'm a very 'keep it plain' kind of guy. I even made my own tricorn out of a plain hat blank because I didn't like the look of any I'd ever purchased... they just never suited me.

4. Cover your buttons with fabric
I haven't done this... but I did replace the old pewter buttons on my waistcoat with black leather punched buttons. I sold the pewter ones to another interpreter and bought the leather ones at a fraction of what the pewter ones cost.

5. Save the haversack for military interpretations & use a market wallet or snap sack to carry your things. You can also put things in your coat pockets - that's what they're there for! - Another reason to wear a coat or jacket!!
I use my giant coat pockets all the time... I don't even own a haversack. If you ever run into the Doctor at an event... be sure to ask him what he's got in his pockets!

6. Lose the accessories in the hat - one or two folks might have stuck a pipe in their hat, but there are far too many out there.
My hat is as plain as I could get it... no pipes, no papers.

7. Remove the ostrich feathers from your hat unless you are doing an upper class interpretation
refer to answer to question #6.

8. Overcast your machine made button holes with hand stitches
I haven't done this, mainly because it has never occurred to me to do so. I've only ever had ONE member of the public call me on thread count... and she was a professional seamstress.

9. Use farmer’s Half Boots made from black wool to hide inaccurate shoes.
I own a pair of leather soled shoes with silver buckles as well as the riding boots you see in the picture there. I bought my boots off of ebay BECAUSE they were pre-used and had lots of wear.

10. Use a razor!  Beards were not fashionable in the 18th century.  If you can’t part with that beard that you’ve had since high school, consider trimming it to the stubble stage -- it will grow back! 
When I goto events as the Doctor... I always shave my face, beards just don't look right with the wig. But I hate to shave... ask anyone who's seen me in the 21st Century!

11. While you have the razor out, consider trimming your sideburns.
I love my sideburns! But when I'm wearing the wig, I shave them off. The wig just doesn't look right with them poking out from under the curls at the side of my head. Believe me... I tried!

12. Consider making a checked linen shirt, or unbleached linen shirt instead of a plain white one when interpreting the lower sort – and save the ruffles for an upper class impression
I wear a perfectly aged, unbleached linen shirt. It proudly bears all the stains and wear of years of interpretation. Face paint from dispatched savages, holes and patches from rebuilding fort walls in the dead of summer etc. I love that shirt, long may it live!

13. Feeling prosperous? Have your waistcoats fitted to the point of being snug all around. This garment should serve to provide shape & support for men of middling & upper classes. If you are concerned about too tight a waistcoat, consider opening the back seam and installing linen tape ties or eyelets with stay lacing cord (they are laced up like a pair of stays, and are eyeletted accordingly.
My waistcoat fits this description fairly well. It laces in the back and fits pretty tightly. It really does aid in proper posture.

14. Tailor your breeches ­ they should fit well thru the leg and not be too long
My breeches were made just for me... so they fit pretty well.

15. Consider a queue  ($25-$30)
How about an entire wig? (about $100) No big deal...

16. Try contacts or period frames (for those who wear glasses)
How about 'period correct' vision? I just take my glasses off at events. I have a little pair of period frames... but I DO SO hate to wear them if I don't have to. My thought is, plenty of folks of the period went their entire lives with poor vision... the Doctor could have to! It's an interesting experience.

17. Use period documentation for developing and honing your impression.

Williams, Guy 
The Age of Agony: The Art of Healing, 1700-1800

Revolutionary Medicine, 2nd (Illustrated Living History Series) (Paperback)
by C. Keith Wilbur

Physick: The Professional Practice of Medicine in Williamsburg, Virginia, 1740-1775
By Sharon Cotner, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Kris Dippre, Robin Kipps, Susan Pryor, David M. (PHT) Doody
Edition: illustrated
Published by Colonial Williamsburg, 2003
ISBN 0879352191, 9780879352196

Disease: The Extraordinary Stories Behind History's Deadliest Killers (Hardcover)
by Mary J. Dobson

Every Man His Own Doctor: or, The Poor Planters Physician by John Tennent, 1734

Extracts from the Marine Practice of Physik and Surgery, Including the Nature and Treatment of Gunshot Wounds. Ranby 1776

Plain Concise, Practical Remarks on the Treatment of Wounds and Fractures, by John Jones, MD. 1776

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I really liked that list, and those Glamour Don'ts are great! =D
Thanks for the link! =D

Great blog you have here by the way! I'll be sure to follow it!