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Women of the Civil War

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Women's Clothes

What Women Did

Women's Clothes

What did women during the Civil War wear?

Day Dresses ~ A day Dress was Mainly what a women worked in and cooked in. They were light weight and made of cotton or wool. Women did not wear their hoop skirts with these in fear they might catch on fire while cooking. Day dresses had close fitted sleeves and the skirts were fitted, gathered, pleated or fanned in the front.

Afternoon/Walking Dresses ~ Afternoon Dresses were worn when a women would have tea, go to a friends, when had company over, or into town. They were a little nicer looking then a Day Dress, and they were worn with a hoop skirt. These dresses have more trimming on the bodice. The skirt was a little fuller then a day dress to accommodate for the hoop. More expensive fabrics were used on these like: silks, wools, and finer cottons.

Evening Dresses ~ Evening Dresses were very elegant. This formal wear usually had short sleeves and the skirts are very full and sometimes train in the back. They were made of very fine silks, cottons, and blends of silk and wool. Expensive lace and trimmings are used on evening dresses.

Accessories ~ Women's Accessories included: Collars, Under-sleeves and Cuffs, Handkerchiefs, Fans, Parasols, and Jewelry. Collars gave a neat appearance and preserved cleanliness of a garment. Under-sleeves were worn with many different kinds of sleeves. Handkerchiefs were used to blot a nose, dab a tear, and dropped conveniently near a intriguing gentlemen. Fans were used to cool a lady and also communicate the called it "the language of the fan." Parasols provided shade from the sun and shelter from the rain. Jewelry such as Brooches, Watches, Necklaces, and Bracelets were worn conservatively during this time.

Headwear ~ Bonnets, Hats, and Caps were headwear. Bonnets kept the head warm in winter and protected from the sun in the summer. Hats came in felt, fur, or straw. The felt and fur keep a woman's head warm in winter while straw kept a woman's head cool in summer. Caps are not what we think of as today. Caps then were elaborate little confections that were pinned into the hair.

What kind of under-garments did women wear?

Women wore 7 layers of undergarments.

Layer 1 would be Bloomers/Pantalets.

Layer 2 would be Chemise.

Layer 3 would be the Corset.

Layer 4 would be Corset Cover or Camisole.

Layer 5 would be Under Petticoat.

Layer 6 would be Hoop Skirt.

Layer 7 would be Over Petticoats

Then finally the blouse or bodice and the actual skirt.



Day Dresses

Afternoon Dresses

Evening Dresses

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