Men’s Winter Headwear Observation

Observation – Looking at the winter scene illustrations I pulled together a bit ago (which you’ll see in December), I’m noticing all but one of the adult men have utterly insensible headwear on. The one with sorta sensible head wear coming home in a storm with his scarf wrapped over his head. The younger boys appear to have slightly more sensible headwear in that they appear to be wearing caps which are wool. But, I still don’t see any coverage for the sides of the head and ears. Now, granted this isn’t a large pool of images and just illustrations from 61 to 64 from Godey’s and Peterson’s depicting winter or Christmas scenes. But, it has me wondering about men’s winter headwear. Women have a fairly wide assortment of winter millinery pieces that are both practical and fashionable available to the. Years back, Bevin and I were perfectly comfortable strolling through town when the weather was either teens or single digits thanks to our hoods. But, a man in the same weather with just a hat or cap on would have frost bite in no time flat. There just has to be a group of headwear I haven’t looked at for men. (Sorry men, I know I’ve neglected the men’s straw hats as well. That will be coming, some time.) A farmer has to have something more than a knit cap to throw on when running out to the barns in a deep winter blizzard. He ought to have something more sensible when out ice skating as well (one of the images.)

Published in: on November 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm  Comments (3)  

Are You Ready for Your Cold Weather Events?

For those of us in the northern states of the country we usually see the onset of fall as the ‘end of the season’. But, many of us have cold weather activities ahead of us. This could be ceremonies for Veteran’s Day and Rememberance Day, Yuletide and Christmas events for our living history sites or even festive caroling in our communities.

For each of these events, the weather can get down-right Cold!

Keep in mind – Layers are the Key to Warmth. This means your 1) Underpinnings 2) Dress 3) Outerwear and 4) Accessories.

Here is a list of items that can help you keep warm:

For your dress, consider:

For outerwear, think beyond the cape that will let cold air in and encumber you arms. Consider:

Accessories help keep your hands and head warm. Consider these:

Published in: on November 2, 2011 at 1:23 am  Leave a Comment  

A Practical Look at Winter Clothing

I’m sure you’ve noticed my focus on being prepared for cool and colder weather as of late. It may seem a bit early since it is just now Labor Day, but for some of us the cold fall and colder winter weather will be here soon.

In my browsings I stumbled across this 1859 magazine published out of Buffalo, NY called The Home Monthly with a practical take on winter clothing:  

Winter Clothing – Style and Material

We do now propose keeping our readers in the latest Parisian style, for we have no Genio Scott, Genin or Brodie to consult, and we hardly think we shall fail of our purpose without them. We do not choose to cater to fastidious fondness for the very latest pattern, and encourage ladies in exhausting their entire time with thoughts in the “where-withal shall we be clothed.”

Every lady ought to be dressed well, if not her purse will permit, but that does not mean to cast off a garment, because something later than that has appeared in the fashionable world, and that too with no regard to the better uses to which such expenditures could be put. But of course we need not mention this, for that sort of woman would scarcely read a magazine without fashion plates.

To dress meanly with no reason for so doing, and above all, to make religion an excuse for shabbiness, as Timothy Titcomb says, is abominable. It lessens our usefulness. We should be as beautiful as we can make ourselves, but that is not accomplished by any means in following the rule of fashion plates.

Merinos, and all wool Delaines are the most sensible as well as most durable of all materials for out-door wear at this season. Cut with pointed basques on slender figures, and trimmed neatly, with a dainty cambric collar and sleeves, and you have a costume suited to all ordinary occasions for winter wear. One’s own taste and length of purse should be the guide for extraordinary ones. Large plaids on small people, stripes on very tall ones; and Bayedere on short persons, are all equally unbecoming. Indeed, all conspicuous patterns weary the wearer who has refined taste, as well as the beholder. Above all thinks, consult, if possible, in an indirect way those you love best as to color, &c., provided your complexion will permit a choice.

The prettiest and most serviceable bonnet for winter is a black velvet. It admits of remodeling, and can be worn with propriety with any colored outer garment, and any color about the face.

The loose sacque or raglan of ladies’ cloth, is exceedingly convenient, as well as pretty and inexpensive for a cloak, as not trimming is required – nothing but a binding neatly stitched on.

The same material to be used for children’s wear, both boys and girls. Pretty wool cheques are cheap and durable for girl’s winter dresses, and boy’s coatees for the house. Above all things, don’t let them be made too short at the top and bottom of the garment. Many a mother’s pride has been gratified by the praise bestowed upon the fair neck and rounded limbs of her child, and after her heart has been broken, while laying them from her sight forever. Which will your choose?

Dress them warmly and let them out into the frosty, fresh air to grow rounder and fairer, albeit no one but yourself see how fair. We did not purpose saying this much, but it is written. Quarterly we will endeavor to suggest whatever is worthy of mention among the novelties of the season, always keeping our peculiar views of substantiality and beauty side by side.

New Materials

The challies which are offered at very reasonable prices this fall, are pretty, and seem likely to be the most durable of any commone dress goods that we find. They are nearly all in bayadere stripes – some of them high colored, but where warmth and durability are required we think they will be found very desirable. There is also a new material of Angola wool for dresses – heavier than wool delanes or merinos, which we judge to be very desirable for these qualities, viz: strength and durability, unless the satin stripe that adorns it should be found to fray out. – Dresses of this material can be bought in New York at $6, the pattern. This comes the nearest to ladies’ cloth of anything we have seen. The high-colored printed cashmeres – merino styles – are offered as low as six shillings per yard, while we found recently at Stewart’s the best colors of printed French merinos at a dollar per yard. The bright chintz, patterned, all wool delaines are offered lower than ever before. But no delaine can be as cheap as a good merino at least to those who wear their dresses out. We are glad to see more durable material for dresses coming into market. Much time and labor in dress-making will be saved by those who emply these materials. It is also a saving of expense, for the cost of making and trimming a dress of good, and of worthless material is very nearly the same. Every lady, then, should feel that time and labor are wasted in the making up of flimsy material and even if her means should be at first seem too limited to purchase that which is better, she should make a special effort to save up “capital to economise with”.

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 9:03 am  Comments (1)  

An Evening Chill in the Air

Have you noticed the chill in the air as evening sets in? I know it is still August. But, it is definitely there. While it may feel refreshing to fall asleep in this fresh cool air after many hot and humid nights, we all know this means even colder nights aren’t far behind. I’ll admit, this year I am particularly not looking forward to the colder weather coming in since I don’t exactly have my own home with my own favorite creature comforts. I am big, really big on my creature comforts, most of which come from what I’ve learned about how people kept warm in the 19th century. But, I digress.

With cold weather imminent, now is the time to make sure you are ready. After all, you don’t want to be left out in the cold without your cold weather wear.

Layers are the Key to Warmth. This means your 1) Underpinnings 2) Dress 3) Outerwear and 4) Accessories.

For your underpinnings, consider these:

For your dress, consider:

For outerwear, think beyond the cape that will let cold air in and encumber you arms. Consider:

Accessories help keep your hands and head warm. Consider these:

Published in: on August 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Weather Outside is…. Drenching

With this soak-you-to-the-bone weather leading up to and likely through the weekend event,  I am thinking about ways to keep dry. As I think through my list, I realize most of them won’t happen because the bits and pieces needed are buried deep in storage. That doesn’t mean I can’t share them with you.

  • Reenacting events inevitably mean walking, likely through grass or even mud. With wool boots, I find my rubber over-shoes a must. They slip right over my boots covering up to about my ankle. Extant rubber over-shoes were found when the Steamboat Arabia was uncovered. Those made by Tingley seem to be the closest.
  • Just incase, still pack extra stockings or socks for everybody.
  • A wool coat can help keep the wet off of most of you. A long paletot gives you great flexibility in the arms while buttoning up the front to keep you dry.
  • If you don’t have a coat, consider the largest, plain or plaid wool shawl you have. Wrapping this around you will help keep you dry.
  • We talk a lot about parasols in reenacting but not much about umbrellas. Use an umbrella, a period umbrella of course.  
  • Skip the fashion bonnet. Instead opt for a sunbonnet or for a hood. Water can cause a bonnet to soften, warp and even run.
  • If you carry a bag, make sure it is water-resistant. You may want to try a pocket instead. A pocket hidden under layers of skirts can usually stay dryer than a bag carried out in the open. If you must carry medicines or modern technology put them inside painted canvas bags or zip-lock bags just incase.
  • For larger bags, choose one with a heavy carpet and good closure. If it has a leather or painted canvas bottom, even better. Leave the bandbox at ‘home’.
  • You will be happier with your tent if you have sod-flaps and overlapping doors. Also put down a good water barrier under your flooring. I find a wool rug helps control the moisture better than other fibers.
  • Inside your tent let wool rule. Wool rugs on the ground help keep the area more comfortable. Put a wool blanket layer over your cot or ticking first. Be sure it drapes almost to the ground on each side. This keeps the moisture from coming up from underneath. Make you bed how you prefer. Then cover it all with a wool quilt or blanket. This will keep the moisture from getting in during the day. If you are sensitive to a moist pillow, wrap it with an extra wool shawl during the day to keep it dry.
  • Don’t hang your clothes. Put them in a trunk or box with a layer of wool covering them to help keep moisture down. You may consider a layer of wool on the bottom as well.
  • As you settle in for the evening, light a candle or two (safely). Whether the candles really do help cut the moisture or not, they help psychologically.

What do you do if you do get drenched?

  • If you can lay or drape your dress flat that will be best. Hanging it can cause it to stretch under the weight of being wet. If you have a trim that can run, be sure to lay the dress so the fabric does not lay back on itself particularly the trim.
  • If your bonnet get damp, set it up on a hat/bonnet stand. If you don’t have on make-d0 with something like the back of a chair. Do not lay it on its side because it will warp.
  • If your bonnet gets particularly wet, try to blot the trimmings so there is no running water. If your flowers are pinned in or on, consider removing them so they will not run on the bonnet itself.
  • If your boots get wet inside, stuff them with newsprint or fabric to absorb the water. Do Not put them near the fire as they can be damaged. (most warranties do not cover fire damage)
  • If your corset gets wet, layer it inside material to press out any excess moisture. Drape it over the back of a chair to dry.


Published in: on August 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm  Leave a Comment