Standard: Hand or Machine-stitched white, natural or checked linen. Checked linen was most commonly blue on a predominantly white ground (not the evenly balanced blue/white gingham check found in many shirts being sold). Lightweight white or natural wool, or cotton. Body is long (to lower thigh) and full. Center front slit. Collar closing with thread "Dorset" buttons. Non-thread buttons of bone or horn are also acceptable (because not visible). Cuffs closing with side-by-side cuff links or button and buttonhole. For most impressions, collar is pulled up high and worn snugly closed around neck.
Exceeds Standard: Hand-stitched in white, natural, or checked linen or wool flannel with full sleeves gathered into narrow (~ ½ ” finished) cuffs. Checked linen was most commonly blue on a predominantly white ground (not the evenly balanced blue/white gingham check found in many shirts being sold). Cuffs close with sleeve buttons (side-by-side “cuff links”). Collar closes with two or three thread (Dorset) buttons. Center front slit is deep (~10-12”) and may be kept closed with a shirt buckle (usually round or heart-shaped). For most impressions, collar is pulled up high and worn snugly closed around neck. Body is long (to lower thigh) and full.
Unacceptable: Synthetic fabrics. Modern shirts. Shirt collars worn like modern collars (low on the neck and falling over the neck cloth leaving only the front knot exposed).
Standard: White, linen, cotton, or silk, hand-hemmed or machine-hemmed handkerchiefs (30-36" square), or a neck cloth (long narrow rectangle). Neck cloths sometimes had short fringe at the ends and often filled in the upper portion of a partially unbuttoned waistcoat; this is best worn by older men because it’s somewhat old-fashioned in 1775. Colored and patterned handkerchiefs (block-printed, yarn-dyed, resist-dyed) were worn for laboring or by lower sorts. Handkerchiefs and neck cloths were most commonly tied snugly over the collar which should be pulled straight up, with collar completely hidden or collar points extending neatly over the top of the neckwear. For those portraying officers, a white linen or cotton stock.
Exceeds Standard: Hand-hemmed, otherwise as detailed above.
Unacceptable: No neckwear. Synthetic fabrics. Handkerchiefs with modern pattern motifs. Paisleys. Jabots. Ruffled stocks. Military horsehair (except when worn by British regulars) or leather neck stocks. Neckwear worn loose and covered by the shirt collar turned down.
For indepth information on men's neckwear, see this video with Ruth Hodges.
Standard: Round-blocked or oval blocked hats made of black wool or beaver felt, cut round, left plain or cocked in appropriate non-military styles. Machine- or hand-knitted wool “Monmouth” or Dutch sailor’s caps with small brim, commonly with some height and slouch to them, in solid natural wool colors or striped as seen in period images.
Exceeds Standard: Hand-finished, round-blocked hats made of black wool or beaver felt, cut round, lined with linen, and left plain or cocked in appropriate non-military styles.
Unacceptable: No hat or cap outdoors. Brown or gray felt hats. Colored felt hats. Unfinished (unshaped and unstyled) wool felt hat blanks worn as slouch hats. Straw hats. Hats with feathers, pipes, money, animal fur, and other trinkets tucked into them. Stocking caps. Modern knitted winter caps. Synthetic knitted caps. Fur caps/hats, sheepskin hats, modern hats or modern caps of any kind.
Standard: Hand or machine-stitched well-fitted coat or jacket of drab, brown, green, red, blue, gray or black wool. Coats may be straight-bodied (more old fashioned) or in a more fitted cutaway style. Coats and jackets were worn in all seasons. Coats are approximately knee-length. Jackets are generally a hip-length version of a coat with shorter, pleated skirts, cuffs and a collar. Coats should be worn with a waistcoat (sleeved or sleeveless). Buttoned jackets do not require a waistcoat worn under them. Coats and jackets should fit well and relatively snug. Sleeves of outer garment should be fitted and short enough to show the wrist band of the shirt (unlike most modern outer garments).
For events in June, July and August, hand-stitched, well-fitted linen coat or jacket in natural, blue or brown is acceptable.
Exceeds Standard: All hand-stitched or hand-finished. Otherwise detailed as above.
Unacceptable: Outer garments made from linen, cotton, cotton canvas, drilling, silk, or any material other than wool. No coat or jacket. Coat without a waistcoat worn under it. Military-style coats worn by militia or uniforms of any kind. Hunting/rifle/frontier shirts. Overshirts/farmer’s smocks - these are only acceptable when portraying a farmer or tradesman at work, and are not appropriate for military impressions. Sleeved waistcoats as an outer garment. (These are styled exactly as waistcoats but with sleeves, and they are not much better than just shirtsleeves in terms of appropriate wear outdoors.)
See addendum documents by Henry Cooke "Why Wool?" and an explanation of why cotton canvas is not acceptable.
Standard: Hand or machine-stitched waistcoat, well-fitted (snug) of drab, brown, green, red, blue, gray or black wool. 1770s waistcoats are hip-length and waistcoat front should cover the breeches buttons before cutting away. The waistcoat neckline should be small and well-fitted around the base of the collar.
Sleeved waistcoats are styled as waistcoats but with sleeves. Sleeved waistcoats were intended to be worn under a coat or greatcoat (not as an outer garment).
For events in the summer, hand or machine-stitched, well-fitted linen waistcoat of natural, blue or brown, or balanced stripes in these colors are acceptable.
Exceeds Standard: Hand-stitched or hand-finished, otherwise detailed as above.
Unacceptable: Baggy or extremely long waistcoats. Waistcoats made from cotton canvas, linen (except in summer), damask upholstery fabric or any fabric other than wool. No waistcoat (unless wearing a fully buttoned jacket). Sleeved waistcoats (styled as waistcoats but with sleeves) worn as an outer garment. These were intended to be worn under a coat or greatcoat, and only by themselves if laboring or in hot weather.worn as an outer garment. Waistcoats made from linen, except for events in the summer.
See addendum document by Henry Cooke "Why Wool?" and an explanation of cotton canvas
Standard: Hand or machine-stitched (ideally hand finished), well-fitted breeches in black, brown, drab (most common colors), gray, green, blue or red wool broadcloth. Other types of acceptable fabrics include wool kersey, linsey-woolsey, wool serge, cotton velvet, fine wale cotton corduroy, or wool plush. Breeches of undyed buckskin leather. Buckled knee bands were most common as they held up the stockings well. Tied knee bands were common on leather breeches, or for cheaper breeches for the lower sort. Breeches knee band closed with a button and buttonhole are also appropriate but less common. Hand or machine-stitched trousers of wool broadcloth, wool kersey or linsey-woolsey. FIT - Overall snug fit for breeches and trousers, except the baggy seat (to allow ease of movement). Knee band fitted snugly just below the knee to hold up the stockings.
For events in June, July and August, hand or machine-stitched, well fitted linen or hemp canvas breeches or trousers in natural, blue or brown are acceptable or trousers in a period-appropriate check linen.
Exceeds Standard: Hand-stitched or hand-finished, otherwise as detailed above.
Unacceptable: Breeches made from cotton canvas, Baggy, poorly fitting breeches. Calf-length breeches. Fringed suede frontier-style trousers. Synthetic fabrics. Modern pants, modified or not. Linen breeches or trousers except in summer.
See addendum documents by Henry Cooke "Why Wool?" and an explanation of why cotton canvas is not acceptable
Standard: Hand or machine-made stockings that fit above the knee, densley knit of wool, linen, or cotton in white/cream, natural, blue, brown, gray, black, or “mixed”, with or without a center back seam. (see details for frame-knit stockings in the Addendum). NB: Cloth tape garters should be hidden, but better yet, tighten the fit of the knee bands to hold up the stockings.
Exceeds Standard: Densely knit stockings of wool, linen, or cotton. Colors are white/cream, natural, blue, brown, gray, or black, also “mixed”. Stocking length is above the knee.
Frame-knit stockings (or socks for trousers) knit flat to shape and stitched up the center back to form a visible seam. [These are commercially unavailable at the time of this writing.] Hand-knit stockings or socks knit in the round to shape with a faux seam of purl stitches up the center back. Plain knit and vertically ribbed stockings (all one color) are both documented for men. Stockings cut and sewn from knit fabric yardage using an accurate pattern. Gore clocks (embellishment on both sides of the ankle) are subtle and same-color. Choose clocked stockings with caution, match to your impression, and be aware many modern reproductions are not accurate. Lastly, stockings should be held up by the knee band of the breeches.
Unacceptable: Red, yellow, or green stockings or socks. Striped stockings, synthetic stockings, athletic socks. Elaborate knit patterns such as cables and textures. Diced (Highland) hose. Buckled leather garters (these were military issue). Visible garters of any kind.
See addendum document by Paul Dickfoss about common stocking colors found in runaway advertisements.
See the addendum document for more construction details and information about men's stockings.
Standard: Hand or machine-stitched, well-fitted spatterdashes, (also called half-gaiters) of black, brown, or drab wool, or black leather. Well-fitted black, brown or drab cotton or linen canvas. Spatterdashes were intended to protect the shoes and stockings from dirt and excessive wear. Spatterdashes are not necessary over appropriately-styled shoes. Well-fitted spatterdashes must be worn over modern shoes (see “Shoes”) if beginners do not have appropriately-styled reproduction shoes.
Exceeds Standard: Hand-stitched, well-fitted spatterdashes (also called half-gaiters) of black, brown, or drab wool, or black leather. Spatterdashes were intended to protect the shoes and stockings from dirt and excessive wear. No spatterdashes are necessary over appropriately-styled shoes.
Unacceptable: Baggy or droopy spatterdashes, wool leggings, Indian leggings. Tall, knee-length F&I style gaiters, military-style gaiters with the center back point.
Standard: Hand or machine-stitched, appropriately styled shoes with period-style buckles and black leather uppers. Hand or machine-stitched, appropriately styled shoes, occasionally with ties (one hole only on each latchet), for a lower sort impression. Black leather tied half-boots are less common, generally for stable boys, grooms, and huntsmen. Knee-high leather boots are acceptable for horse-riders only. Modern black leather shoes with a distinct heel and a smooth toe (no pieced/stitched/decorated leather at the toe) may be worn but must be covered by well-fitted spatterdashes (see “Spatterdashes”) so that they appear to be period-appropriate shoes.
Exceeds Standard: Hand-constructed, appropriately styled shoes with period-style buckles and black leather uppers.
Unacceptable: Shoes with no distinct heel. Fake buckles. Modern shoes without spatterdashes. Obviously modern shoes, such as hiking boots, sneakers, lug soles, etc. Shoes that visibly lace up with more than one hole on each side. Moccasins. Civil War bootees.
Standard: Natural shoulder-length hair or long hair tied back in a queue with a black silk ribbon. Or, a natural hair wig dressed in a period style. Or. short-cropped hair in a modest, current style, covered with a hat or cap. Or, a hair extension or false queue.
Exceeds Standard: Natural shoulder-length hair or long hair tied back in a queue with a black silk ribbon. A natural hair wig dressed in a period style.
Unacceptable: Obviously synthetic wigs (they glint in the sun), like those found at a costume shop, often low on the forehead. Hair dyed in a color that is not a natural hair color.
Standard: Clean shaven, or maximum 3-days even stubble. Runners (ear-length sideburns) on younger fashion-oriented men are acceptable. Note: If you customarily wear a moustache, goatee or other partial facial hair, you must remove it entirely, as even the shadow of a moustache, goatee, or specially trimmed beard will appear inappropriate for the period.
Exceeds Standard: Same as described above
Unacceptable: Full beards, moustaches (goatees, soul patches, etc.) Any facial hair beyond a 3-day all-over stubble growth.
Standard: Reproduction period-appropriate frames with round lenses. If you have a medical condition that requires tinted lenses, please contact us.
Exceeds Standard: Original period-correct glasses with round (not oval) lenses.
Unacceptable: Modern-framed glasses. 19th century oval frames. Tinted lenses or sunglasses (unless for a medical condition - see above).
Standard: Cheesebox or staved wooden canteen with interlocking wooden hoops (not iron/metal). Wooden canteens should have narrow 1" wide leather keepers, slung with a narrow cord/string, narrow woven hemp strap, or narrow leather strap. Period-correct wooden rundlet. If you are unable to acquire one of the aformentioned options, you may use a leather bottle (jack) or modern water bottle in a linen drawstring bag. Either of these must be carried in a pocket or knapsack and kept out of sight when not in use.
Exceeds Standard: NA
Unacceptable: Gourds. flasks, glass or ceramic bottles or jugs (covered or uncovered). Staved canteens with fake/non-interlocking wooden hoops, or iron/metal hoops. Kidney, crescent or oval tin canteens for militia impressions, stainless steel canteens, fabric-covered canteens.Modern water bottles not concealed in a linen drawstring bag, large keepers on wooden canteens. Cotton webbing straps.
See addendum document by Alex Cain (aka Historical Nerdery) "A Wooden Bottle Made With One Hoop" - Why Tin Canteens Were Not Carried By Massachusetts Militia Men at Lexington and Concord"
Standard: Period-correct wooden rundlet. Leather-covered pocket or saddle flask (note that these are small and fit in a coat pocket and are not suspended by a strap). Period-correct hand-blown glass bottle, without a carrying strap. Stoneware jug, without a carrying strap. Modern water bottle hidden in a linen drawstring bag and carried in a pocket or sack, kept out of sight when not in use.
Exceeds Standard: Period-correct wooden rundlet. Leather-covered pocket or saddle flask (note that these are small and fit in a coat pocket and are not suspended by a strap). Period-correct hand-blown glass bottle, without a carrying strap. Stoneware jug, without a carrying strap.
Unacceptable: Gourds. Flasks, bottles, or jugs suspended by carrying straps or cords. Leather bottles (“jacks”). Modern water bottles not concealed in a linen drawstring bag.
Standard: Hand or machine sewn plain single-pouch bag that conforms to the Captain David Uhl pattern. An “Uhl” pack should be made out of hemp canvas or heavy weight linen with a flap closure and two shoulder straps made of the same material as used for the bag. The flap should be closed with three buttons and buttonholes.
Exceeds Standard: All hand-sewn, otherwise detailed as above.
Unacceptable: Haversacks, Elisha Grose packs, Warner packs, Isaac Royal House knapsacks, British painted or goatskin knapsacks. “Snapsacks” (linen tubes with a drawstring at one end and one strap). Cotton canvas two-strap knapsacks. No knapsack, Market wallet or blanket roll in lieu of a knapsack.
See Documentation for knapsacks and blankets in use by the Massachusetts Militia in 1775 (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
Also see addendum documents by Alex Cain (aka Historical Nerdery) concerning haversacks and snapsacks.
Standard: Storing necessities in your pockets. So-called “market” wallets (usually unbleached linen). Linen pillow cases (white linen, unbleached linen, or linen ticking). Handkerchief bundles (made with period-appropriate handkerchiefs).
Unacceptable for all: Haversacks, Elisha Grose packs, Warner packs, Isaac Royal House knapsacks, British painted or goatskin knapsacks. “Snapsacks” (linen tubes with a drawstring at one end and one strap).
See addendum documents by Alex Cain (aka Historical Nerdery) concerning haversacks and snapsacks.
Standard: Hand or machine-woven wool or linsey-woolsey in plain, off-white, red, blue, or drab wool blankets. Modified Army/Navy blankets cut down to a smaller, more appropriate size (~60-65” wide). Appropriate blanket patterns include striped, checked, and plaid, and should closely resemble period blankets. 2- or 3-point blankets, rose blankets, Dutch blankets, and solid colored wool blankets are all appropriate. Solid colors include off-white, red, blue, and drab. Blankets can be tied to a pack or carried on a leather or hemp tumpline.
Exceeds Standard: Handwoven wool or linsey-woolsey. Blankets may be either “imported” (a solid piece of material) or “colonial” (a seam down the middle where the two halves are joined). Appropriate blanket patterns include striped, checked, and plaid, and should closely resemble period blankets. 2- or 3-point blankets, rose blankets, Dutch blankets, and solid colored blankets are all appropriate. Solid colors include off-white, red, blue, and drab. Blankets can be tied to a pack or carried on a leather or hemp tumpline.
Unacceptable: No blanket, Civil War gray blankets, modern blankets, blankets made of synthetic materials (such as polar fleece), Hudson Bay blankets, blankets not large enough to suffiently cover an average-sized person.
See "In the Late Action, Many of the Soldiers Lost Their Blankets" - The Use of Blankets by Massachusetts Forces in the Spring of 1775 (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
Standard: Waist or shoulder belt mounted bayonet, hunting sword or cutlass appropriately sheathed. For officers, a small sword appropriately sheathed. Hatchets or tomahawks carried in a belt, the cutting edge sheathed in leather. No bladed side arm.
Exceeds Standard: Waist or shoulder belt mounted bayonet, hunting sword or cutlass appropriately sheathed. For officers, a small sword appropriately sheathed.
Unacceptable: Unsheathed bayonets and swords.
Standard: New England style soft cartridge pouches in black or fair leather with 17-19-round cartridge blocks, narrow (~ 2” wide) black or buff leather straps, or linen webbing shoulder straps. Small, simple leather shot pouches with narrow leather shoulder straps or belt loops, fitted with a wooden block, accompanied by an EMPTY powder horn. Belly boxes.
Exceeds Standard: Same as above
Unacceptable: British 36- or 29-hole cartridge pouch (except for British Regular Army). New Model (29-hole) American pouches. Tin cartridge canisters. Soft cartridge pouches with a 24-round block. The pattern most commonly available is prone to dumping cartridges if the flap is not secured before moving. It is also not appropriate for 1775.*
*Militia laws were updated in early 1776 and called for cartridge pouches that can hold at least 15 rounds. All known existing cartridge pouches from 1775 have 17-19 hole blocks.
Standard: Plain, empty, powder horn with narrow leather strap or woven linen/hemp strap. A powder horn is not necessary as long as you have a cartridge pouch.
Exceeds Standard: Same as above
Unacceptable: Horns filled with black powder. Native-styled powder horns. (See historic weapons requirements.)
Standard: Layer on extra waistcoats, jackets, and handkerchiefs. Wool and silk are warmer than linen and cotton. Wear thin silk stockings under heavier wool stockings. Wear a wool flannel shirt. Waterproofed period-appropriate shoes for rain or snow. A handkerchief worn over or under your hat and tied under your chin, especially in windy weather. Wool spatterdashes. Heavy wool broadcloth greatcoat or man’s calf-length cloak. Long underwear, especially silk because it is thin and warm, worn under clothing so it is not visible.
Exceeds Standard: Same as above.
Unacceptable: Modern garments and accessories that are visible. Modern scarves. Modern gloves or mittens. Long strips of wool that look like modern scarves (layer on the handkerchiefs instead).
Standard: Produce that is seasonally appropriate to 18th century New England (for example, fresh apples only in the fall). Food wrapped in linen cloth. Food that would have been available in the 1775 Boston area. Wooden, pewter, or tin bowl or plate. Tin, pewter, or redware mug. Horn or pewter eating utensils.Food wrapped in parchment paper, otherwise as detailed above. Suggestions: bakery-style bread, cheese, hard sausage, hard-boiled eggs, dried apples.
Exceeds Standard: Same as above
Unacceptable: Modern packaged food. Plastic containers. Plastic wrap and foil. Food that is not seasonal or appropriate to 1775 New England.
Standard: No jewelry. Period-appropriate original or reproduction pocket watch (but only for those who could afford them) kept in breeches fob (small pocket set into breeches waistband). Period-appropriate shirt buckle to close bosom slit on shirt. Simple wedding bands
Exceeds Standard: Same as above
Unacceptable: Any jewelry, including piercings, that is not listed above.
Last updated: November 18, 2023