Battle of Blue Licks

Guidelines for Men:

  • Shirts:
  • Linen, wool, cotton material, white or natural color (preferred), checked or colored, ruffles at neck and cuffs if you are portraying a man of means.
  • Hunting Shirts:
  • Mid-thigh to knee length, linen, wool or cotton, dyed or undyed, fringed or unfringed.
  • Footwear:
  • Colonial buckle shoes (buckles or simple laces), moccasins (center seam), colonial boots (rare on the frontier), barefoot (always fun).
  • Breeches:
  • Fall or French Fly patterns, linen, cotton, wool, or leather material. No suspenders should be visible.
  • Breechcloths:
  • Same materials as above, no major decorations.
  • Weskits:
  • 1750-1780 lengths (mid thigh to just below waist)
  • Coats:
  • Civilian or cast off military (1750-1780 styles).
  • Stockings:
  • Wool or cotton.
  • Hats:
  • Tricorns, flat brim, Ranger "jockey hats", scarves (black or red preferred), no "coonskin with tail" hats.
  • Leggings/Gaiters:
  • Heavy linen, cotton, wool, or leather; side seam; either stitched or buttoned up; length varies depending on style (no full leg leggings).
  • Belts, straps, bags, and sashes should be of vegetable, brain, or oil tanned leather with brass or iron buckles appropriate to the period and local. Avoid chrome tanned (Cheetos colored) commercial leather

Guidelines for Women:


Should be white or natural. Shift should be appropriate to the specified time, sleeves ending in the vicinity of the elbow and not too full, necklines low with plain edge, moderate ruffle or drawstring for adjusting.

Hats and bonnets:

Should be of straw or unprinted fabric.


May be of plain or of a period correct patterned fabric.(Burnston, 1998, P. 38)


Should be white or "natural." No elastic or drawstring "mobcaps."

Upper body garments:

Sleeved garments (such as short gowns, bed gowns and jackets) are strongly preferred, instead of the so-called English Bodice or French Bodice.Waistcoats for women (preferably sleeved, unless worn under a jacket) should be constructed as a man’s, and have buttons. Simple working class gowns of a cut and construction typical of 1750-1781 are acceptable. No Prairie Dresses (19th Century.)


Mandatory for women’s outfits, e.g. no women browsing camp in just a shift. Hems should hit between the ankle and mid-calf. (Women wearing men’s clothing are the exception.) Pockets should be worn under the petticoats.


18th C. types of prints are acceptable when suited to the garment and the wearer’s station in life.Paisleys and cabbage rose prints are not correct. No 19th C. or modern calicoes.


No crocheted or tatted items or trims. No wrist watches or post 1781 jewelry other than wedding bands or sets. Remove any modern piercing adornments and cover tattoos.


Adolescent girls and women should wear their hair up and/or capped, no bangs or hair hanging from under caps. Make-up should be discreet.

Stays and Jumps:

These are underwear and should be treated as such, e.g. worn under an outer garment. While correct underpinnings do provide support and a correct silhouette and are encouraged, they were not outer garments.

Wraps/outer garments:

Include capes, cloaks, mantles, heavy woolen coats, and wraps made of either a large square folded on the diagonal or a cut triangle. Rectangular shawls are not correct. Furn hides were probably also used for warmth. Kerchiefs, neckerchiefs, etc. are encouraged.

Fire safety:

If you will be working around a campfire, the safest fiber you can be wearing is wool. Cotton is the most flammable of the natural fibers, followed by hemp and linen. If you are wearing an apron with cotton tapes, and it is tied to the front, be aware these can easily catch fire.

CHILDREN: Babes in arms should have a shirt or shift and a cap of linen, cotton or wool in white or natural. Frock, shoes and stockings are optional. If using plastic diapers, please find a way to cover them. Young children can wear shifts of linen, cotton or wool in white or natural. The child’s frock or shift dress with a sash is acceptable. Leading strings are fine, but do not allow a child to be near a fire or to got to sleep in a garment with leading strings. Caps and hats are optional, but preferred for both boys and girls. Boys were usually in a frock (unbreeched) until the age of 7. Due to the expense of children’s shoes, any black or brown lace-up modern shoes or moccasins are acceptable. Older boys and girls dressed like their adult counterparts.

Guidelines for Native American Indians


Should be made of leather and have center seams with puckered toes. The flaps should be rectangular in shape. Everyday moccasins had no frills. They may be decorated with quills, beads, ribbon, trade silver, and/or cones with hair for ceremonial dress only


Side seamed and made of trade wool or leather. They are to be very tight fitting and should tuck into the moccasins or be flush with the top of the moccasins. They can be decorated with the same items as the moccasins. No center seam leggings.

Knee garters or ties:

May be quilled, finger woven, or beaded (like the ones in the American Indian Art, Winter 1991, West Collection Article). They may be plain strips of leather or wool. No garter drops. Do not wear knee garters tied above the elbows as arm bands.


May be trade wool or leather. They are to be no wider than mid-thigh to mid-thigh. The length should be no longer than half way down the thigh. They also may be decorated as the moccasins. Do not make an oversized breechcloth that goes from hip to hip. If modesty is a problem make sure your trade shirt is long enough.


Are to be in a time period appropriate pattern. Bring your documentation if you have a wild material pattern that may be questioned. Most trade shirts were white. Ruffled shirts are acceptable. Most shirts were linen. Even though some women (and men) wore chemises we are trying to get most people into trade shirts. If you wear a short gown or bed jacket, chemises are acceptable.

Trade coats:

Are to be wool. There are many different designs for these and you should bring your documentation to support the style you wear.

Vests or waistcoats:

Are not to be worn without a trade coat or shirt. (Men only.)


Are to be finger woven using the oblique pattern. They should be a solid color or have a trim color running the length of the sash. Appropriate colors are red, dark blue, black, light green, and medium grass green. We would prefer women did not wear sashes.


Are to be made of wool. In the village for ceremonies they were fancy, decorated with beads, trade silver, and/or ribbons. On the trail they were just a piece of blanket, not fancy. They should be approximately 5-6 feet square in size.

Women's skirts:

Are to be made of wool and should be folded over and tied at the waist. They may also be decorated as matchcoats for ceremonies.

Bed jackets and short gowns:

Worn by women. Be sure you have time period appropriate material and clothing pattern.


Should be silver. Earbobs (a small ball or drop on a wire ring) as well as ball and cones are acceptable for men and women. Men may also wear ear wheels and triangular shaped earrings. Brass wires and triangles are acceptable.

Nose rings:

Are silver. They may be bobs, ball and cones, or triangles. No crescent or gorget shaped nose rings should be worn since they didn’t start to show up until around 1810-1830. Men wore nose rings. Women rarely wore them and we would prefer if you did not.

Arm bands:

Should be of silver and worn only by men.


Should be silver and may be round or crescent shaped. They are to be worn by men only.

Bracelets and rings:

May be of silver or brass.


Are to be made of silver and worn by women.


Are to be made of silver. The plain ring types of inch to 1 inch are the best. Avoid the large ones with a lot of cut outs as they are not typical of the period.


Neck knives should be based on a period design and be quill decorated. Period ones tend to be just a little wider than the knife blade. Only men wore them. Belt knives should have very plain sheaths without quill work.


There are many period types that are acceptable. The most common colors were white, black, and blue. The plainer and the less, the better. Have your period documentation to support what you are wearing.

Men's Hair:

At least the front half of the head should be shaved clean. If at least the front half is not shaved then your head should be covered. This can be with a silk handkerchief (in a plain period color). There are a variety of acceptable hair ornaments: wampum strands, quilled strips, silver tubes or brooches, stripped and quilled feathers and beads. Hair roaches of the small circular variety that are worn at the crown are acceptable. Longer and larger tie on ones are not.

Women's Hair:

Parted in the center and pulled back. It should be “greased” down. After being pulled back it should be clubbed or folded up into a short tail. This tail should be wrapped with ribbon or red dyed eel skin.

Women's Painting:

Vermilion in the part of the hair and on the forehead is very typical. Vermilion circles on each cheek were also very common.

Men's Painting:

Vermilion, ochre, black, green, yellow, and white are all good colors to use. Look at period paintings to come up with an appropriate paint scheme.


This is an area where less is more is an understatement. For women a few facial lines or a straight row of dots are all that are necessary for a few to wear. By this time period there were very few images showing women with facial tattoos. Men would be allowed to wear a few more, but do not over do it or it starts looking ridiculous. Stick with a few simple designs so as to keep the tattoos from becoming overwhelming.


Beads should be no larger than a size 8 or 10 and most should be white. They should be sewn on with spaces in between the beads. The patterns should be straight line geometrics. Beads that are in touching running lines and floral patterns come in much latter. Please look at original pieces to see what patterns are appropriate.


Any clothing items should be a medium weight stroud type material. There were many colors in the trade. The most common colors were red, blue, and black.


Should be tanned so that it has a slightly smoky tan or golden color to it. When used for some items it was dyed almost black with walnut. Research what items this is appropriate for before doing it. Avoid chrome tanned (Cheetos colored) commercial leather at all costs.


Should be silk or wool. Red, yellow, green, blue, black, and white are all acceptable colors, but no pastel colored ribbon. The width may vary from inch to 3 inches wide. No modern man made silk polyester ribbon.

Bags and straps are to be oblique finger woven or leather. They are to be relatively small, 7 inches by 8 inches is a large bag. A 5 inch by 6 inch bag is a very typical size bag. Twined straps (made like tump lines) are acceptable. Bags and powder horns are to be worn high on the side almost touching the rib cage. The bags did not have flaps. They also may be decorated with the same materials as the moccasins. Women would have twined bags to carry and not wear shoulder bags. No white beaded, cloth bags or straps.

We are trying to portray an appearance that is typical of the Native Americans of the mid to late eighteenth century. The following items are acceptable because they best represent the norm for the period. All these items are documentable through period narratives, images, or surviving examples. There are many other items that to varying degrees can be documented to the period. Since we want to represent an impression that cannot be argued with in any way, we have decided to err on the conservative side and would like everyone to follow this list. Knowing that everyone involved with this project wants to do their best to educate the public in what we know to be an absolutely correct appearance, we hope that everyone will do their best to follow these guidelines.

The best way to protect yourself when making or purchasing an item is to do your own research in advance. Read period narratives describing what you are going to make. Look at period paintings and drawings to see how it appears and is worn (if worn at all). Look at surviving examples of the items that can be documented to the period.

If you take these steps you will be less likely to buy or spend the time making an incorrect item.
One last word when doing your impression, most of us are trying to represent the common Native American Male or Female. You can sometimes make a more striking statement by wearing a few items very properly rather then a lot of items gaudily. Remember sometimes less is more.




All Material in this Site is © 2007-2016,

Webdesign by


click tracking