Colonial costumes call to a time of newfound freedoms and undiscovered countries. Colonial times refer to the time period from the early 1700s to the early 1800s when the then-colonies of Great Britain formed along the Eastern seaboard of the United States.
Colonial costumes include a variety of different dress and hat styles - mostly conservative. The majority of the colonists lived agricultural based lifestyles and their clothing reflected the utilitarian nature, protective and useful.
This woman is dressed in a homemade version of clothing worn during colonial times. As part of a re-enactment, she must tailor her looks to the look of the time. The bibbed apron protected the dress beneath while she worked. Since clothing was limited, a good dress had to be preserved at all costs.
Shawls are popular choices for layering over women's colonial costumes. The shawl provided warmth in a time when heat was provided only by fireplace. With a woman on the go from sunup to sundown, a shawl was easily tucked in around her dress for warmth, but was not as bulky as a cloak.
No Frills Approach
Most people of the time avoided excess frills, including the children. A dress worn throughout the week may have a ribbon or a nicer bonnet added to it for attending church on Sunday. Boots were favored (even for women and children) to protect feet from uncertain weather and landscaping.
For a standard, colonial costumes should also feature the dress of the colonial army. While the reennactors here are dressed far more nicely that the real soldiers would have been (they had to do with make shift clothing and uniforms, often wearing whatever was available), this style of dress is readily recognized as part of the time period.
The Redcoats are Coming
As a direct contrast to the colonists of the time, colonial costumes should also include the redcoats - the uniform of the British regulars and specialists who fought against the colonists during the war for Independence.Learn more about colonial costumes with colonial costume patterns.