Salty

Female minimum garb standards

131 posts in this topic

And once again the importance of including proper stays... during the GAoP time frame, stays are often seen in the front opening of the mantua...not all of them laced closed in the front, the gown often being pinned to the side of the stays and a stomacher is not always worn ... so once again, in my opinion, proper stays should be included in the basic kit...

"It must be remembered that between 1720-1740 the robe battante was the fashion in France; this long, loose robe was frequently worn open and showed the stays beneath, which consequently were of as much importance as the dress itself."

Norah Waugh, Corsets and Crinolines

However, if you examine Laroon's Cries of London, the majority of the women have CLOSED fronted mantuas. I can only think of one or two off the top of my head that are open fronted. However, reenactors tend to like the open fronted style because you can wear a stomacher with it and get more "outfits". However, for someone getting started, closed front would be better becuase it hides lack of or imperfect stays.

The number one item any reenactor should have is shoes. The chances of someone else having a spare pair and in your size is so slim. They don't have to be perfect, altered desert boots, leather mules, generic buckle shoes, wooden klompen all fit the bill. Don't ever count on being able to go barefoot (some sites have terrible ground!)

number 2 for women is stays for the same reason as shoes. However, well fitted stays are expensive (in either time or money). Now, here's my biggest secret, corrugated cardboard. For fitting stays it's advised to make the pattern out of cardboard, with the ribs running the same direction as the bones. Duct tape all the seams and double layer the opening. Use a hole punch to make the lacing holes and lace the cardboard mock up on. In a real pinch, this mock up can be worn for a weekend event (as an under layer of course). It also gives you a good idea where the pattern needs modifications for comfort.

For a free pattern try here. Add tabs and straps and you've got yourself a workable set of stays.

http://www.elizabethancostume.net/custompat/

cap, skirts & shift would be next but in a group with other women there are almost always enough extras to go around.

stockings, there is no excuse not to have. At just about every event there is someone with stockings for sale. Grab a $5 pair and you're good to go.

mantua is nice but not mandatory for getting started. Also it only works for the narrow range of GAOP. In a rush you could probably get away with a longer mantua de lit or any of the later period bed gowns/undress wear jackets. Again an easy item to borrow or make on short notice (Beth Gilgun's book Tidings from the 18th century has free patterns)

A generic straw hat & basket for your stuff you can live without but are easy and cheap enough to find and really do come in handy.

the only other non-clothing piece that I recommend is a big old wool blanket (an army blanket without the US works great). If it's cold or wet, you'll have a cloak. If it's hot, a place to lay in the shade. Highly useful, completely underrated.

Hope that helps!

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Also i think perhaps stays might be a bit more optional only for the fact that they are expensive and not entirely noticable.

No offense but I would have to totally disagree here. Stays are VERY noticeable, especially when they are missing... not wearing the proper foundation garments very rapidly ruins otherwise period correct clothing.... Stays are far easier to make then many women believe and are crucial for getting the proper look.

I'm going to agree with Sterling here, stays are the backbone of an outfit. I've seen very few women look correct without them.

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The number one item any reenactor should have is shoes. The chances of someone else having a spare pair and in your size is so slim. They don't have to be perfect, altered desert boots, leather mules, generic buckle shoes, wooden klompen all fit the bill. Don't ever count on being able to go barefoot (some sites have terrible ground!)

I'd disagree, in that if you don't have the proper clothing, you can't turn out at an event. And... given that people more often are looking at your face, and not your feet, you are probably better served getting a hat before shoes.

:ph34r:

But I will concede your point about terrain... ouch.

:ph34r:

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Has anyone mentioned elegance? It isn't a word we often use today, I know, but I have seen a few re-enactors in my time that had the 'poise' of the period.

I think Mary Diamond fits that bill. When I met her in Port Washington I thought she had an elegant presence, even when she, MerryDeath and I were being silly and dancing together.

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I think Mary Diamond fits that bill. When I met her in Port Washington I thought she had an elegant presence, even when she, MerryDeath and I were being silly and dancing together.

:ph34r::ph34r: I have to agree with you there, Ransom. She has quite the soft spoken manner about herself - yet, this can be used to her advantage when she is plotting her next 'cunning plan'. I've have never once seen her 'drop' her composure even in the most intense situations. Class act all the way....

(Sigh)...time to take a few pointers from her! :ph34r:

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mantua is nice but not mandatory for getting started. Also it only works for the narrow range of GAOP. In a rush you could probably get away with a longer mantua de lit or any of the later period bed gowns/undress wear jackets. Again an easy item to borrow or make on short notice (Beth Gilgun's book Tidings from the 18th century has free patterns)

I can agree here about the mantua not being needed up front on the basics list, but to say they only cover a narrow range of the GAoP... I certainly cannot agree even Marcellus Laroon's The Cryes of the City of London, states that the common women were already wearing them in 1687 (as per Kass)and the style continues well up into the 1730s according to the V&A... well after the GAoP is considered over.

Randle Holme's The Academy of Armory and Blazon, 1688, contains The Instruments used in all Trades and Sciences, together with their terms of Art.

He mentions "A Mantua, is a kind of loose Coat without any stays in it. The Body part and sleeves are of as many fashions as I have mentioned in the Gown Body..."

The V&A also have the Lord and Lady Clapham dolls from the mid 1690s. Lady Clapham wearing a dress open at the front showing her decorative corset

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isn't the GAoP 1690-1725?

1687-1690 = 3 years

1725-1730 = 5 years

total extra years outside of the GAoP = 8

sounds like a pretty narrow range to me. Especially when you consider that the same other basic pieces (skirts, shift, stays, and to some extent shoes) could be worn convincingly for the entirety of the 17th & 18th centuries, well over 200 years.

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It's not so easily defined. I could argue for earlier than 1670s... but I won't.

:ph34r:

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Yes, that is usually the recognized dates, but are we talking outfitting someone here for the entire 17th/18th centuries or the GAoP? In which case the mantua covers the entire range of the GAoP...

If we are just doing up a basic list for pirates and you want the easiest things to obtain, well then go for modern pirates, get your bra, thong, tee shirt and cut offs and your are ready to go! Actually you could leave off the bra, since some do not seem interested in the proper support... :ph34r::ph34r:

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The number one item any reenactor should have is shoes. The chances of someone else having a spare pair and in your size is so slim. They don't have to be perfect, altered desert boots, leather mules, generic buckle shoes, wooden klompen all fit the bill. Don't ever count on being able to go barefoot (some sites have terrible ground!)

I'd disagree, in that if you don't have the proper clothing, you can't turn out at an event. And... given that people more often are looking at your face, and not your feet, you are probably better served getting a hat before shoes.

:ph34r:

But I will concede your point about terrain... ouch.

:ph34r:

I think it's a difference of opinion here Blackjohn

I'm a huge proponent of borrowing. Heck, this past weekend half of my women's clothes were loaned out while I borrowed men's clothes from someone else. The one par that didn't change, shoes & stockings.

I don't think anyone who's going to their first (couple of) events should have to have all their own clothes. Get started by borrowing and build your wardrobe slowly. Doing it slowly allows you to spread the cost out and get good deals on fabric (or find things 2nd hand). It also allows you to avoid mistakes like using the wrong material or pattern or just plan making the wrong era of garment for your persona.

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Oh hell yeah borrowing is a great thing. If you can borrow kit for any length of time that puts a new spin on what you need, and certainly no new recruits should be expected to have all their kit right away. Folks that do are the rare exception, and worth their weight in gold.

Maybe I'm spoiled in that many of my recruits are coming from RevWar or F&I groups and thus have shoes that are more (or less) correct anyway.

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I'm going to chime in as a person who isn't much for borrowing things of any variety (nor of lending them). Proper footwear is often quite expensive and beyond the means of most people to make themselves. Thus it wouldn't be on my list of required basics. The same goes for proper stays. I'm not suggesting that these articles be scrapped completely however.

Could we perhaps get some suggestions about how to approximate the look? What can be used instead of proper shoes? I think there was a mention of certain styles of payless shoes working, or is it acceptable to wear the skirts longer and thus hide the lack of proper shoes?

What about stays? Would a bodice, mostly covered work? What about a corset covered up? The cardboard suggestion was great along these lines so more like that would be quite helpful.

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I think Mary Diamond fits that bill. When I met her in Port Washington I thought she had an elegant presence, even when she, MerryDeath and I were being silly and dancing together.

:huh::huh: I have to agree with you there, Ransom. She has quite the soft spoken manner about herself - yet, this can be used to her advantage when she is plotting her next 'cunning plan'. I've have never once seen her 'drop' her composure even in the most intense situations. Class act all the way....

(Sigh)...time to take a few pointers from her! B)

(blush) Your comments are too kind ~ thank you! :lol:

I guess I will throw in my two pence ~

Stays shape the mind as well as the body.

Yes, I could wear modern support, but it does not put me in the proper frame of mind to stay "in character".

Stays do not take a long time to make ~ the most difficult thing is adjusting the pattern to your shape (which requires patience and multiple fittings - dedicate a weekend, have a friend to help and you should have it). If you can sew a straight line, you can sew stays. I used old upholstery scraps to test the pattern (no boning needed yet!), a fat needle threaded with a narrow 1/8" satin ribbon to test lace the whole thing on (hubby helped), modified the pattern (in my case, I added 2.5" in length to the entire pattern, on tracing paper - you can also use wax paper), then re-cut and sew away! Please, if you have questions, ASK!

IMHO, fitted kit (such as mantua, riding habits and formal dress) should not be made until the stays are complete, as your form will change when wearing stays. I have almost $400 of wool and linen (12 yds and 60 yds, respectively) I have not yet cut (riding habit, 3 shirts, 3 weskits, 3 sailors slops - kit for myself, hubby and our good friend), as I needed to make my stays. That said, my stays are complete, and wonderfully comfortable.

I am personally happy I have waited to decide on shoes, focusing on stays instead, as my persona is still developing and GAoP knowledge expanding. I feel shoes are a reflection of your persona, and there are many shoe details/variants to choose from (toe shape, buckle or ribbon, color, heel style/height, etcera). Additionally, shoes are (as many have stated previously) one of the most expensive parts of your kit, and, as such, a purchase that should be given careful consideration, as you will most likely be living with them for quite some time.

So, without further ado, my Top 6 Basic Items for the $100 Female Piratical Kit:

Chemise ($20) - white linen

Stays ($44) - .5 yd heavy upholsery fabric $8; .5 yd heavy lining (duck) $4; 13 yds boning (I use .5" Rigilene, about $2 yd) - $26; 2-3 packs double-fold bias tape - $6. If you use a busk, add $10. Or, get creative! Flexible temporary boning can be adapted from plastic shipping straps, bundled zip ties, broken mini-blinds, etc. Regarding pattern - I have used both Butterick B4254 Misses Stays and Corsets, and Mantua Maker 1700-1 Stays; I prefer the Mantua Maker pattern.

Petticoat ($20) - linen or wool, 2-3 yds.

Hat ($15) - straw or wool

Plain white or black knee high or thigh high socks

Your plainest black leather shoes (as simple as possible, so they won't draw attention to themselves) - to be replaced when persona and funds (estimate $100 - $250) are ready

From there, you can work towards a mantua, jumps, or riding habit. By choosing your colors wisely, you can easily stretch these basic items.

YHS,

Mary Diamond

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Stays ($44) - .5 yd heavy upholsery fabric $8; .5 yd heavy lining (duck) $4; 13 yds boning (I use .5" Rigilene, about $2 yd) - $26; 2-3 packs double-fold bias tape - $6. If you use a busk, add $10. Or, get creative! Flexible temporary boning can be adapted from plastic shipping straps, bundled zip ties, broken mini-blinds, etc. Regarding pattern - I have used both Butterick B4254 Misses Stays and Corsets, and Mantua Maker 1700-1 Stays; I prefer the Mantua Maker pattern.

Or if you want pc boning, get reed... the last bundle I purchased contained enough to make over four corsets, at 15 dollars a bundle at the time, you and and three others go in on the purchase and share, reducing the cost. I believe Reconstructing History also sells the proper reed as well....

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Stays shape the mind as well as the body.

Yes, I could wear modern support, but it does not put me in the proper frame of mind to stay "in character".

Mary,

I must say that you have a great perceptiveness regarding this matter.

I cannot speak for everyone, of course, but there is something about putting on the 'right articles of clothing' to make one behave towards the proper mind set/time period/persona.

I've been doing "Bess" the cook/serving maid these last few weekends I've almost forgotten how to carry myself as 'the Mistress'!

Hopefully it will not take too long with switch back to the proper mind set. Just put me in some silk and paint my face...I'll be my old self soon enough.

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Stays shape the mind as well as the body.

Yes, I could wear modern support, but it does not put me in the proper frame of mind to stay "in character".

Mary,

I must say that you have a great perceptiveness regarding this matter.

I cannot speak for everyone, of course, but there is something about putting on the 'right articles of clothing' to make one behave towards the proper mind set/time period/persona.

Absolutely. It has been said that clothes do not make the man, but I submit that it helps immensely. Further, I will extend that to include not just costuming but our daily dress as well. A nation that dresses like slobs will act accordingly.

Damn, you've uncovered one of my soapbox subjects. *Kicks soapbox back under mouldy tarp* Um...what were we talking about?

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I've been doing "Bess" the cook/serving maid these last few weekends I've almost forgotten how to carry myself as 'the Mistress'!

AH yes!! Sweet Bess!!

I thought that's what you were going for my dear!!!

And DD..... Did I not also mention your "presence" during our character discussion at Pike.

It's funny, but I've noticed that regardless of which era you are reenacting, the fellas seem to be a dime a dozen.....(OK Mad dog, 2 for a dollar!) But when you see the ladies done up, regardless of weather it's a poor serving girl or a proper lady, they really make the difference to what would otherwise be "a bunch of guys shooting at each other and falling down."

You gotta love the ladies!!!

Here's to em all!

B)

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slightly miss quoting.....

"a bunch of guys shooting at each other and falling down."

You gotta love the ladies!!!

Ain't that why we (the guys) shoot at each other tho ?........... :blink:

Gotta love th' ladies...........

<OK back on topic......>

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Absolutely. It has been said that clothes do not make the man, but I submit that it helps immensely. Further, I will extend that to include not just costuming but our daily dress as well. A nation that dresses like slobs will act accordingly.

Ah, at last, the Great Unmentionable has been mentioned!

I blame Hollywood in large part for the trend that I call TMPIFC, "Thoroughly Modern People In Funny Clothes". This is the notion that you can stick someone like Cameron Diaz in a Baroque gown and she will make a convincing lady of that era.

No, she is just a cute Valley Girl in a flouncy dress.

Too many reenactors fall into the same category, alas. I was advising a theatrical production a couple of years ago on 18th century carriage and deportment. I told them a simple rule to remember: If, while fully dressed in period garb, your usual posture and deportment still feels comfortable, you are doing something wrong.

I am a typical, portly, middle-aged American man. I cannot put on a neck stock, button up my waistcoat, secure my breeches at the proper height and still assume my usual casual slouch. It just hurts too much.

This, to bring the conversation back to where it should be, goes doubly for the ladies. My wife is an opera singer by training, and enjoys dressing in period garb for events. She says that proper boning not only reminds her to carry herself properly, but also "gets her in position" to sing, should that be required.

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I believe Reconstructing History also sells the proper reed as well....

Yes, but again, part of the point is that the list should be inclusive, for those who cannot afford the prices of, amongst others, Kass. A combination of Mary Diamond's list with the "cardboard mock-up fake" might then suit the intention of the thread. I think, if 1729 is the aim of this list as well, that a bonnet of some sort under the straw hat would be necessary as well [thus saving any money elsewhere would be a good thing]. Time invested is another consideration. Bare minimum standards.

The aim of the original thread was, it seems, to find a minimum standard which is easily attainable for those who are arriving and wanting to shift from RenFaire to PC for the event, and who might thus be lured into eventually doing Period Correct more often...

Yes, women's costume is necessarily more extensive than men's, but we still must be able to build a relatively simple list that won't require hundreds of dollars and weeks of effort.

Again, as "poise" and "élan" go, mannerisms are an excellent and inexpensive addition to a character's "costume," so can anyone give a few good mannerism hints? The equivilant to Sterling's note on "how to bow."

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How be this for a minimum??

AliiKaiMermaid.jpg

We heard no complaints back in the day.... :lol:

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:lol: ....................... :P ............................Yes please!

What??!..... Was someone talking about something.......??

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(Chuckle) Yeah... it all went something like that.

E aloha mai! :lol:

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How be this for a minimum??

AliiKaiMermaid.jpg

We heard no complaints back in the day....  :lol:

All those in favor of Iron Bess's minimum garb standards fer women, say aye!

(Now I see why Herself is most at home in the sea.) ... Aye!

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Yes, but again, part of the point is that the list should be inclusive, for those who cannot afford the prices of, amongst others, Kass. A combination of Mary Diamond's list with the "cardboard mock-up fake" might then suit the intention of the thread. I think, if 1729 is the aim of this list as well, that a bonnet of some sort under the straw hat would be necessary as well [thus saving any money elsewhere would be a good thing]. Time invested is another consideration. Bare minimum standards.

The aim of the original thread was, it seems, to find a minimum standard which is easily attainable for those who are arriving and wanting to shift from RenFaire to PC for the event, and who might thus be lured into eventually doing Period Correct more often...

Precisely why I set a $100 limit on the Basics.

I personally couldn't add Kass's cost to everything else I am working towards, which is why I listed Mantua Maker as an alternative. That this is not to say that Kass's patterns are not worth the investment!

However, if, for example, a lady was switching from RenFaire to GAoP, she would most likely already possess almost half the expense of what is needed (that is, petticoats and a chemise or poet's shirt), bringing initial investment cost down to $59 (plus choice of pattern) and a weekend of machine sewing and fitting.

Cardboard stays could give the wearer a good idea as to fit before cutting their fabric. However, while the cardboard stays are a cheap alternative, IMHO it sounds like you are investing as much time and energy for an item that won't breathe, which you will be wearing for several hours, and which must remain covered. Technically, all stays should be covered, but this is the beginning of a kit ~ the owner is Working Towards full kit, and this is a very good start.

From Paynetown Pirate Festival, these various images show folks in Basic Kit (many with the appropriate Apron, which I neglected to include originally). It was close to 100 hot and steamy degrees each day with heat index, so many of us were wearing Bare Minimum just survive the heat and cooking fires.

IMG_2845.jpg

IMG_2843.jpg

IMG_2811.jpg

IMG_2808.jpg

So, while not perfect, the Bare Minimum can suffice until persona and funds provide direction.

Alternative Shortcuts are difficult and can be disappointing, but here are some thoughts ~

A Mantua is a fitted, collarless v-neck to waist, split front, 3/4 sleeved gown in wool or linen, with skirts left hanging or pinned up. Go from there.

The Riding Habit coat is modelled after the male justaucorps - borrow a small pirate coat.

A Waistcoat is a vest - find one that drops to the hips, bind in back for fit.

YHS,

Mary Diamond

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