Hoopskirts, Union Blues, and Confederate Grays: Civil War Fashions from 1861 to 1865


What would you have worn if you lived during the Civil War era? It depends on who you were: •Upper-class women wore tight corsets, bustles, and wide hoop skirts to fancy balls. The layers weighed almost 30 pounds (14 kilograms)!
•For everyday, whether at home or nursing soldiers, women put on multiple layers of simple fabrics. Some daredevils sported women's trousers—called Bloomers—to make a statement on women's rights. •Civil War soldiers wore flannel and wool uniforms—blue in...

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What would you have worn if you lived during the Civil War era? It depends on who you were: •Upper-class women wore tight corsets, bustles, and wide hoop skirts to fancy balls. The layers weighed almost 30 pounds (14 kilograms)!
•For everyday, whether at home or nursing soldiers, women put on multiple layers of simple fabrics. Some daredevils sported women's trousers—called Bloomers—to make a statement on women's rights. •Civil War soldiers wore flannel and wool uniforms—blue in the North and gray in the South. •Men of fashion donned suits with velvet collars and silk lapels during the day and coats with fancy tails for parties. •Underneath their everyday clothing—a shirt, tie, vest, coat, and trousers—men wore "drawers," baggy long undergarments that buttoned in front and tied in back. •Slaves wore whatever their owners gave them—usually only two sets of rough linen clothing, one for winter and one for summer. •Girls had loose garments called pantalets and pinafores, while sailor suits were popular for boys. Read more about wartime fashions of the 1860s—from ankle boots to parasols and tiaras—in this fascinating book!

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Fashion truly reflects the spirit of an age, as is made evident in the "Dressing a Nation: The History of U.S. Fashion" series. This volume focuses on styles worn during the Civil War Era. The first four chapters present the clothing of men, women, slaves, and soldiers. The fifth chapter focuses on inventions, such as the sewing machine. Photographs, drawings, and text boxes make it easy for a reader to browse the information or read it straight through. The text is filled with interesting tidbits. For example, women wearing hoop skirts were charged almost double when riding a trolley in New York because they took up more space. Abraham Lincoln grew a beard before he ran for president on the advice of an eleven-year old girl. Former slaves in Virginia gave the Union troops information about Confederate plans by the way they placed laundry on the clothesline. The invention of the sewing machine led to ready-to-wear clothing making possible the rise of the department store and mail-order business. Each colorful volume in the series includes a timeline, glossary, source notes, bibliography, suggestions for further research, and an index. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
VOYA - Christine Miller
This five-volume Dressing a Nation series provides a fascinating look at the history of American clothing and fashion, offering an engaging interpretation of the sociological, political, and economic factors that impacted how various classes of Americans dressed and accessorized from colonial times through the 1950s. The set's scope is chronological and topical in arrangement, with volumes covering clothing styles and trends in Colonial America; Revolutionary America and the Victorian Era; the Westward Expansion; the Civil War; and the Great Depression, World War II, and post-war America. Photographs, drawings and paintings of period attire in Petticoats and Frock Coats illustrate sharp contrasts between the lives of wealthy individuals and those of laborers and slaves. During this period, inventions such as the cotton gin and sewing machine paved the way for the transition from homespun to ready-made clothing. The historical moment covered in Hoopskirts, Union Blues, and Confederate Grays saw the rise of pants for women, jeans for work, the first haute couture house in Paris, and the beginning of mass consumption. Each volume is similarly arranged with five or six short chapters; numerous illustrations and colorful sidebars help to guide the reader through the expository text. Quotes from famous Americans and frequent references to art and literature help to contextualize the volume, and its glossary, timeline, recommended reading, and online resources make this set a terrific resource for the classroom. It will also be enjoyed as recreational reading and is recommended for school, library and home collections. (Dressing A Nation: The History of U.S. Fashion) Reviewer: Christine Miller
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Kate Havelin has written more than a dozen books for young people, including biographies of Queen Elizabeth I, Ulysses Grant, and Che Guevara. The Amelia Bloomer Project included her Victoria Woodhull: Fearless Feminist in its recommended list of books. Havelin has also written two trail guidebooks for adults, Minnesota Running Trails: Dirt, Gravel, Rocks & Roots and Best Hikes of the Twin Cities, both of which received awards from the Midwest Book Awards. When she's not writing, she likes to read, run, hike, kayak, ski, or snowshoe. Havelin lives in St. Paul with her husband and two teenage sons.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 4

Chapter 2 Men's Clothes 14

Chapter 3 26

Chapter 4 32

Chapter 5 Designers and Inventions 42

Epilogue 54

Timeline 56

Glossary 57

Source Notes 58

Selected Bibliography 59

Further Reading and Websites 60

Index 62

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fascinating and informative!

    This book tells all about clothing worn in the U.S. during the Civil War, by men and women, in the North and South, and of all classes--in some cases, a little too much information for comfort! (The layers women wore were just amazing--in quantity and potential for discomfort.) If you want to feel very grateful that you live now instead of then, definitely pick up this book. It is a beautifully laid out volume, and really gives a feel for what it would have been like to dress--and live--in that time period. Highly recommended for anyone doing a study of the period or who just has an interest in fashion. I will definitely be looking into more of the books in this series, Dressing a Nation.

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