V5: Williamsburg Ensemble #1 Plan

Something like this…but…flouncier.

Thanks to all of you who commented on my first post about my Williamsburg costume conundrum, especially Abby, Nicole, and Hallie, I have come upon a plan.

Well, really it’s Hallie’s plan.

  • 1 English gown (to wear either polonaise’d or down) + matching petticoat
  • 1 jacket + matching petticoat
  • all pieces will coordinate for a mix n’ match look
  • various neckerchiefs, aprons, hats, mits, shoes, caps, etc. for different looks

She also recommended that we carry documentation for every single little thing on our costumes, so as to avoid being driven to murder by pushy re-enactors accosting us in the streets.

So with these things in mind, I’ve decided on my first ensemble, the jacket + matching petticoat.

Of the myriad images I’ve been dumping on on my 1770-1780 Pinterest board, a few things stood out to me.  These were the color yellow, flounced petticoats, and sabot cuffs.  This 1770s pet en l’air, from Christie’s, had all of these:

While I like pet en l’airs, I would rather wear a casaquin or shortly flounced, smooth-backed jacket, like this one, from the Met:

So the plan is for a bright-ass yellow jacket + petticoat, with oodles of pinked trim, a comperes front, a flounced petticoat, and sabot cuffs.  It will look like the yellow pet from the front, except with a false stomacher, and the striped jacket from the back.


Now to find fabric…


  • Clare S (GwT)

    January 5, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    This sounds like a great plan to me (good work, Hallie!) – the yellow is fab and fun, as is the pinked trim (especially when it comes in oodles!) and having notes on you will make you feel much more confident, even if no one ever asks. Looking forward to seeing your creations, as always!

  • Lauren R

    January 5, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Any ideas for coordinating with the bright yellow? This is assuming I can even find thing color in a suitable fabric. I'm thinking blue…or…gah, I don't know!

  • Michelle Hamilton

    January 5, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    I got to ask as someone who is a re-enactor who is planning on moving to Virginia within the year, how pushy are east coast re-enactors compared to those of us on the west coast? Just want to know what I am in for:)

  • Lauren R

    January 5, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    Michelle, I honestly don't know, which is probably why I'm so scared. I do know that the people I met in Tennessee were uber nice, but on a whole different tier of historically accuracy than me. We're pretty laid back here in the West.

  • Rowenna

    January 5, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Michelle and Lauren–I've met very, very few pushy reenactors either in the Midwest or "out East", and usually a) the pushy ones know less than they think they do and b) they tend to pick on those who don't project a "I know what I'm about" confidence. Which I am sure you will. I wouldn't worry about it too much! I've certainly never felt the need to carry documentation on my person (though I've considered it for really unusual garments I plan to make at some future date) even if I had it in my mental bibliography. Quite frankly, at least in my reenacting experience, it's considered rather rude to go up to someone and tell them they're "wrong." Dialogue? Sure. But unless it's a "friend with spinach in the teeth" situation (ie, a friend stops you from wearing something totally bizarro for the period) it's not, IMO, in good taste. So even if someone were to stop you–they're the rude ones!

    That said–love your plan! I love having both jackets and gowns…suits any mood 🙂

  • Olympe de la Tour D'Auvergne

    January 6, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    And that, right there, is why I don't re-enact with the colonial groups out here. Just reading the boards is enough to make you want to stick your pouf in the sand and never come out again. I've never understood being mean to complete strangers, but I've seen and heard it too much. People should be welcomed and encouraged, not taken to task for even trying.

  • E. Waterman

    January 6, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Well; I have heard nothing but horror stories from CW, and am more apt to believe the stopping in the streets and nit pick; but only from CW, not the rest of the interpreting world. If anyone ever does stop you, Laur, be sure to stick a beautiful Georgiana or Devvie in their ass. It just really irks me that people think it would ever be ok to do that; but Rowenna IS right, its a very very small world that does that (though both you and I, Lauren, know more people that we would like to who are examples of it.) Make it fun no matter what!! Also, yellow and blue sounds DEVINE.

  • American Duchess

    January 6, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    Ladies, of course we all know that not all re-enactors are like this. It'll never be enough to keep us away from going to lovely events in costume. Neither Hallie nor I intended to make generalizations about reenactment groups, please note! We've all had our run-ins…Maggie, I think one of your worst was actually out here, at Valhalla, remember? My worst has been online. We should all acknowledge that these people do exist, avoid them, and try not to take things personally (ha! that's SO hard to do!).

  • Debbie

    January 7, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    I'm a VA re-enactor, and yeah, there are some difficult ones here as everywhere. But please don't paint us all with the same brush–there are uber nice folk among us too! I hope Williamsburg is fun for you. CW can be very picky, but that is how they got their reputation for correctness, and they try to keep that up. (Understandable.) I think your outfits look great. How about orange-red paired with the yellow?

  • Sapper Angel

    January 9, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    My favorite comment of all times was learning that Margo Anderson (for those that dont know designs historically accurate rennaisance costume patterns) also carries documentation on her for when she chooses to wear the color pink… lol…. so even the most well known costumer can be accosted by the garb nazi's… (she never noted if anyone actually made her produce her documentation.

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