American Clothing 1750-1850

In times from the 1750s until 1850, clothing in America was still handmade, often woven in homes or mills. Clothing was made of wool and linen, and patches were often used, since cloth was so expensive. Most men and women didn’t have enough clothes to change everyday, but since cleanliness wasn’t like it is today, this wasn’t a problem.

Simple styles were popular among men, women, and children living in america during these times. Typically men wore suits, breeches, a long coat, with a hat, while women wore long dresses, and caps, also known as bonnets on there head. Women also wore hooded capes in the winter, made of wool. Most Americans did not have the money to keep up with fancy European styles, so they resorted to simple and cheap clothing, that was warm and easy to make.

The attached picture describes a typical New England farmer. For undergarments, men typically wore a shirt made of linen, that was also worn as a nightshirt as well. They usually only owned about two or three, and wore them all day and all night for weeks without washing them. They also wore stockings higher than the knee, held up by garters, also hand made. On top of that, men wore a sleeveless waistcoat, with buttons for fashion, unlike women, whom did not wear buttons. For pants men wore trousers made of linen. All men had worn a kerchief, or some form of neck cloth. On top of all that men wore a frock, or over shirt, made of wool intended to keep a man warm. Along with a frock, men wore hats also made of wool, with a brim all around it.

Typical new England farmer 1770

Clothing in these times were as simple as they were, because life in America was tough enough already. Americans led a more self-sufficient lifestyle, clothes were worn for durability and warmth, unlike in European countries where fashion said a lot about a person.

citations:    http://memorialhall.mass.edu/activities/dressup/1770_man.html

http://www.historycentral.com/nn/America/Clothes.html

- Grady Kinnoin

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