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The guys are usually easy: they wear what the sergeant tells ’em to wear, and they like it, because that’s what soldiers do.

Mr S in Cambridge

Sergeant’s not a sergeant in quite the same way in 1774-1775: he’s a militia sergeant, and while we can still get up to tricks that get us yelled at, the clothing we wear is more personal. Mr S’s clothes seemed, at first, to be completely undocumentable.

Really? Yes, I have been known to have some anxiety issues over small matters. So I calmed down, re-read the standards, and looked again.

The shirt is checked linen, see here for details. The stockings, which will be replaced by hand-knit blue stockings, are also documented to Rhode Island.  But wait! That’s 1777, can it count for 1775? How long do stockings last, anyway?

I’ll own up to having been described as “literal and precise,” and I’m taking that comment to heart. Reader: literal is where one gets into trouble when one is precise. Literal interpretations can lead you, almost hubristically, into creating replicas of runaway ads  or extant garments that don’t reflect who you are, or what time you are portraying, not really.


Boston Post Boy, 7/25/1774

But not to worry, I dug up the blue stockings. This is from the Boston Post Boy, July 25, 1774. “White Linen Breeches, blue yarn stockings.” This is not too bad: Mr S has got his basic extremities covered now. It’s hard not to be distracted by the Cotton Shirt with Linen Sleeves, which reminds me of women’s shifts with finer sleeves, or sleeves to pin on.

browncamblet Waistcoat 7-4-1772 providence

Providence Gazette, 7/4/1772.

Keeping focused, let’s get Mr S more fully dressed, more proper, and warmer, since this is late August. You can’t see his waistcoat under the green jacket, but here you can. I know this broadcloth fabric, and its color, are from the acceptable palette for the last quarter of the 18th century, but can I find one in Providence or Massachusetts? Just about. The waistcoat described in this ad is camblet. There’s no goat or camel in Mr S’s camel-colored waistcoat, but I think we’ll call it found and be grateful that Mr S has not taken any action despite the numerous photos I have posted of him in various “poofy shirts” and “funny outfits,” as some of my friends describe them.

What’s left? There’s John Appleton’s ad in the Essex Gazette of May 17, 1774 for “blue, green and cloth colored bandannoes,” which pretty much takes care of the neck cloth; we’ve a brownish one, and a blue one; the Young Mr likes the orangey one, but I think we have those documented.


Essex Gazette, 12/6/1774


Providence Gazette, 1/29/1774

The green jacket, that’s what’s left. In the Essex Gazette of December 6, 1774, we find a “green jacket, light breeches, and yard Stockings,” much like what Mr S is wearing.  Nice! Multiple sources of documentation for items are always welcome chez Calash.

And, knowing that, you will not be surprised that I have found another jacket, closer to home. In the Providence Gazette of January 29, 1774, the man with the “proper hair mole” runs away in a green jacket. He’s also got leather breeches, and they’re on my wish list, though other things must come first, given their expense–things like tires, and allergy drops for the Young Mr.