400 Pennsbury Memorial Road | Morrisville, PA 19067

Confessions of a Costumier: Clothing Diversity

October 24th, 2011 Confessions of a Costumier

It is so easy to get caught up in creating the ULTIMATE historical ensemble.  We worry about perfecting every detail, down to the smallest buttons and buckles. When costumiers get so caught up in recreating one outfit, it’s easy to forget just how diverse the clothing options actually were!  We can’t just recreate one look (as we have done here) and think it will work for all people of all levels in society.  Think about the modern world – we can tell a lot about a person’s job or life based on their clothing.  Business men and women dress differently than artists or plumbers or teachers or politicians or… well, you get the picture. 

So it’s our job as historians to research how those same clothing differences played out 300 years ago.  We are developing job-specific costumes for the staff and volunteer interpreters recreating circa 1700 Pennsbury Manor, and working to increase our clothing collection with enough sizes to outfit everyone in the garments they need.  Over the next few months, I’ll be posting in-depth tutorials for the different ensembles, but in the meantime I wanted to give you a sneak peak at our work…. enjoy!!

LEFT TO RIGHT: Gardener/Stablehand (Summer); Basic Tradesmen/Estate Worker or Gardener/Stablehand (Winter); Supervising Tradesmen or Estate Caretakers/Visiting Businessmen

LEFT TO RIGHT: Gardener/Stablehand/Cook (Extreme Heat Only - Otherwise with Short Gown worn also); Basic Craftswomen/Estate Workers; House Caretakers/Visiting Women

by Hannah Howard, Volunteer Coordinator