Civil War Dresses

Despite the famous scene in Gone with the Wind, most Civil War dresses were not made from curtains.

It did happen in the South where there were fabric shortages, but most Victorian dresses for daily wear needed to be made of more durable material.

We associate Victorian women with hoop skirts, but they were only worn for special occasions.

The typical farm wife needed something more practical for doing chores. She still achieved a wide skirt by wearing lots of petticoats, but she did not have to deal with the swinging and often awkward hoop.

Photos of Civil War Clothing

Here some authentic period photos from the Library of Congress that show women in a variety of settings.

Please keep in mind that photography was rare and these women likely dressed up in their best outfit to have their pictures taken.

Civil War dresses 1862 -- These ladies are working on supplies to send to the troops.

Civil War Camp woman 1864 -- Here is a woman in a camp with the men.

Civil War nurses 1864 -- The nurses in this picture are wearing average Victorian dress.

Victorian woman with a parasol 1865 -- This lady is carrying a parasol to protect her skin from the sun. Suntans were considered a sign of physical labor, so fair skin was associated with wealth and the upper class.

Read more about the layers of undergarments worn with Victorian dresses and check out the photos of modern Victorian costumes.

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