Fashion during the Civil War – 1864

A certain friend, who is writing a hilarious scene involving Civil War reenactors, asked me for some fashion advice from the year 1864.  Naturally excited to dig through old journals for pretty pictures, I set to work. The following images were taken from 1864 issues of Godey’s Lady’s Book published out of Philadelphia.

You may need to click on an image to open a larger version in order to read the clothing descriptions.


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12 Responses to Fashion during the Civil War – 1864

  1. Tina says:

    I wish I’d come up with a scene where my re-enactors went swimming — love the bathing attire! Alas, most of them just want to run around with guns and make noise and play dead. Also, it seems a proper lady always had the proper accessory — a friendly bird, a fluffy dog, a compliant child. Must think about that too. Thank you for sharing your pretty pictures!


    Thank you for this, the images are great.
    Newspapers and Magazines are one of my great joys in doing history. Images are fun, but need to be combines with descriptions of daily activities performed by the class who can wear such fashions. Imagine trying to do any meaningful physical activity while dressed this way? What happens when that compliant child runs away, or the dog chases another dog? No wonder Amelia Bloomer promoted rational dress. Fanny Kemble, the Julia Roberts of her day, began to wear the costume in public, and because of her support for it in her magazine THE LILLY, the costume became known as bloomers. Very popular among women progressives during the 1850s and 60s. Library of Congress and the Newberry Library both have runs of the LILLY, I don’t know if it has been digitalized. They never dressed Scarlett in Bloomers!

  3. Susanna says:


    Thanks! I concur, it’s best to couple such images with details from daily living. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to research outside of writing, so I fling what I can onto my blog and its typically straight from the source. I will admit, the blog has been rather fluffy of late. However, how people felt/moved in their clothes is crucial to writing. What is the reality of fashion versus how it was practiced. This blog mostly presents history’s “Vogue” I don’t know many present day people who wear the fashions from Vogue.

    I will definitely look up Lily!! Thanks. AND I would like to post sections from Fanny Kemble’s diaries/letters concerning her time in Georgia. I would love any interesting tidbits or archives to research. Please pass along. This is how I play…

  4. bella says:

    thanks for that good info 😉

  5. bella says:

    I needed that info for school and I got it thank sagain

  6. Susanna says:

    You are welcome!

  7. Renate Passley says:

    Again, thank you for the very inspiring pictures, especially also the hair fashions – needed for my next ball gown and wedding dress :).

  8. Amber says:

    Oh my goodness a woman would where all of that?

  9. Gale says:

    Wow!!!! Thanks so much Susanna, you truly inspire me with your fantastic works of art #love #art #works #inspired #totallyblownaway

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  11. Amanda says:

    Does this represent general fashion from this era or is this women from the North? Was fashion different in the North than in the South?

  12. Susanna says:

    I really don’t know the answer to your question. Sorry. I would assume that there would be regional differences.

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