Jessica's Costume History Page
Reenactment Web Search
When beginning this assignment, I couldn’t help but begin to drool over the thought of costuming a hugely budgeted reenactor event. But now that I have actually done this research, I can see what a laborious and consuming task it must be in reality. I enjoyed looking though the websites and viewing the photos and pictures of the vintage items, but also the fact that I was not the one having to actually consider and buy from this vast array. Below is the results of my search for the various items I would need for such a project.
For actual vintage garments, an excellent and very complete, (mostly women’s clothing but there is some men’s and children’s as well), site is A Victorian Elegance Vintage Clothing at http://www.victorianelegance.com. Here there are garments in very good condition, but they can also be quite pricey. Another place to look for actual clothing is on E-Bay. (http://www.e-bay.com ) Many come with rips and stains, but if one is willing to do some restoration work, you can find many outfits at decent prices with minimal alterations necessary. However, a good number of E-Bay auctions do not have very complete descriptions and require some careful questioning of the seller to ensure you really know what you are bidding on.
For those of us who would rather not spoil true vintage pieces, there are sites for reproduction clothing as well as ones for patterns. History in the Making, at http://www.historyinthemaking.org/index.htm, is a sight where one can download their catalogue of reproduction clothing and accessories. This site is unique, in that it’s main focus appears to be men’s fashion, rather then woman’s. Rebecca’s/ Rizzo’s Reproductions (at http://www.costumegallery.com/rizzos/rrcatalo.htm ) is a highly detailed catalogue of reproductions, patterns, millinery and other accessories, as well as including links to other such catalogue sites. For women’s clothing from about 1750-1925, this is definitely the site to start with. Laughing Moon Mercantile at http://www.lafnmoon.com/ is the place to look if you are costume many extra’s and need a basic pattern with several variations that can be used over and over. Here they have a pattern for, an Edwardian skirt, waist and undergarment set, (including two corset styles, chemise and open drawers). But each has so many variations, the same pattern con be reused many times without ever exactly reproducing itself. For instance, the waist pattern has four bodice and sleeve options that can be mixed and matched. If you are looking for a much detailed vintage pattern site, (i.e. Vogue over Simplicity patterns), Ageless Patterns at http://www.agelesspatterns.com is a large catalogue of faithfully accurate Victorian patterns, but are highly detailed and will take a little more time and labor then the Laughing Moon patterns. Another site to keep an eye on is Shoot Star Enterprises at http://shootingstarent.tripod.com , this site still appears to be in the works, but what they have, (including items such as an original Worth gown), is well selected and tasteful.
For specific accessories, such as millinery, one site of note is Lady Cynthia Millinery at http://www.ladycynthia.com , it is not totally devoted to vintage head pieces, but what she has is stunning! I found vintage eyewear that could be rented or bought with dummy or prescription lenses at Prop Specs, ( http://www.propspecs.com/ ).
A Cool Breeze fan catalog ( http://www.ideco.com/fans/ ) had a handfan from the turn of the century for about $6,550. Another, less costly site was Bath @ntiques Online, at http://www.bathantiquesonline.com/antique/) This site was, as the title implies, an online antique store. They had everything from antique fans to purses to hatpins. Amazon Drygoods, though not online, has an entire catalog of historical footwear. You can order one for five dollars at http://www.victoriana.com/amazon/ . They also have a pattern catalog, a window treatment, and a general one that includes many pre-made costumes, corsets, hats and reference materials. One item of Victoriana, that was particularly difficult to find, was any kind of historical swimwear, but Premier Designs Historic Clothing at http://www.premierclothing.com/ , had both a men’s and women’s version. They also had a good sized collection of historically accurate jewelry. The one thing I could not find for sale on any online store, was a pair of historically accurate Edwardian stockings. The closest I came were for the Civil War era, these I found at Fall Creek Suttlery at http://fcsutler.com/fcladys.html.