Hat - The hat came in many styles, not just the tri-corner type. It depended on the need. It could a stocking type if you were poor or gold threaded if your were well off. I wear a broad brim as a teamster because I need the shade and protection from the rain. [ See "cockade" to find out why one side is up.]
Civilian Coat - Remember I spend most my life outside. This coat serves as protection from the elements and sometimes waste that is thrown out of the windows. It's usually long and split in the back so I can sit in chairs and on horseback. The buttons on my sleeves were put there to discourage me from wiping my mouth and nose on my sleeves.
Neck Stock - I wear a triangular piece of cloth much like the Boy Scout's neck wear. I can use it for many purposes, such as a neck warmer, bandage, sweat band, tourniquet, napkin, or a sling. When it becomes thread bear I can cut it up for patches for the gun or sell it to the cloth monger who will turn it into paper.
Cockade - This decoration on the hat held one side of the hat up. This also could communicate what side one's loyalties belonged. By holding up one side of the hat it would allow me to carry something long like a gun on my shoulder. Normally it was the left side that was cocked up.
Waistcoat - This piece of clothing allows me to keep my body warm and allows me to remove my coat without out me being in the public in my underwear. [ See blouse.] I might leave the third or fourth button from the bottom as a manner of being stylish. If I take my coat off you will notice the back of my waist coat is split. This will allow my ever growing prosperity to be evident around my midsection [that is to say my fatness] without needing to buy a new waistcoat.
Shirt/Blouse - This pull over shirt, with a collar and v-neck opening, is really my under wear. [Yes, it's my only underwear since you wondered.] At night I remove all clothing accept the blouse, which is actually is bundled in my breeches during the day and goes down to my knees when everything else is taken off. I wear it just about all the time. It's can be made of cotton, or linen.
Breeches - Breeches were a sign of manhood. A young boy would spend much of his childhood in a dress like his sister. This way it was easier to potty train children, who were outside most the time anyway. When a boy became old enough for his mother to make him breeches, they would have a breeching ceremony. This celebrated the boy becoming old enough to go out with his father and do a days work. [about 12 to 14 hours]
Stockings - These are very long socks that goes above the knee, keeping my lower leg warm and protected. These are much easier to replace than pants with shredded legs.
Garters - These are small belts, tapes [ribbon], or ropes that when tied around the top of the calf, would hold up one's stockings.
Belt - My belt is used more to hold my tools [ knife, tomahawk, whip, purse (Yes, I said purse! We men carries our money in a purse. It's the style.), etc.]
Half Gaiters - These are ankle / shoe coverings are worn to sticks, stones, and objects out of my shoes when I'm in the woods. These are also called spatter guards from which the term "spats" comes from. [Ask your grand parents.]
Shoes - In general shoes were not made right & left. They were made right and left by wearing them. When they wore down one way you put them on the opposite feet to wear them down the other way. Most were fastened with buckles.
11 Wellington Road
Upper Darby, PA 19082-3320
Copyright NTLewis 2004