Monday, March 31, 2014

Re-enactors put Civil War fashions on display at fair

The hoop skirts worn by fashion-conscious women in the 1860s weren’t as uncomfortable as they might appear.

Laura Reyman, a historical re-enactor who took part Sunday in the Civil War Fashion Fair at the Springfield Art Association, said that when worn correctly, the hoop skirts are comfortable.

About 20 re-enactors, both men and women, participated in the fair. They mingled with spectators, answered questions about their attire and put on a fashion show. They were dressed in a variety of outfits that showed how society was structured 150 years ago.

Holly Kent, an assistant professor of history at the University of Illinois Springfield, was wearing a formal black dress with grey accents. The black signified she was in mourning, but the gray indicated the loss had not occurred recently.

“The mourning period could be about 2 1/2 years for a husband. They went from full black to black with lighter accents. Then, they transitioned into lavenders and purples,” Kent said.

Only wealthy women had the resources to wear the proper fashions through all phases of mourning.

Kent was featured by The State Journal-Register on March 31, 2014.

Read the article online