Date: 2009-07-23 10:38 am (UTC)
Thank you for writing this! I am surrounded by so many converts to the "supportive kirtle" that I am sometimes afraid to say, "You know, there really isn't any evidence they did it this way."

Like you, A, I am small-busted. My first Moy Gown replica was made in the exact same size as the original and it fit me perfectly. Lucky me! When some people ask how they can make a Moy Gown that supports their large bust, I have to say, "I have no idea."

And then, of course, you see the people out there claiming to be "14th century French" when the silhouette they've made is clearly 14th century Italian... or 15th century French.

I was shocked when recently developing the 14thc Women's Accessories pattern not to find many examples of women wearing hoods. We see them all the time on reenactors. But apparently 14th century women didn't get the memo.

This is precisely why my personal motto is "Do not make the rare common and the common rare." We end up with a bunch of people wearing one style that was probably an anomally in the first place. And it just looks wrong.

Reenactorisms drive me crazy. We look at each other rather than the evidence. And it seems that somehow the thing that is most unlike anything that would have been worn in period is the thing that we see most on reenactors. It's like they're trying hard *not* to be period but to be like each other. For example, a Landsknecht group I know has a leader who doesn't like the clingy look of hosen. So he wears breeches that he slashes and puts a codpiece on. They're wrong, but they're his choice. But now all the men in his unit are wearing breeches instead of hosen. And none of the women are wearing Wulsthaubes because the lead woman decided she didn't like how they looked. So the effect is that they don't look like Landsknechten at all.

This spring, we went to our first 18th century Market and I kept seeing women with their aprons and kerchiefs pinned on by these gold-coloured pins with pigtail ends. They looked like corkscrews for opening bottles of wine! And ever pin they wore were like those. As you may know, Bob makes pins and he's studied a lot of extant examples. So I asked him about these weird pins that I thought would get caught on everything and become a nuisance.

It turns out someone misinterpretted "pins with wire-wrapped heads" and started a trend.

*shakes head*

If I ever stop looking at the period evidence, please slap me.
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July 2009

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