Eyes on Me - 1770s Fashion
Fairfield Museum & History Center’s Program and Volunteer Coordinator, Walter Matis, inspires with his love of history
Photo by Douglas Foulke
Fairfield Museum & History Center’s Program and Volunteer Coordinator, Walter Matis, inspires us with his love of history. he brings it to life for the young and old— during tours and camp and school visits. He enjoys dressing like a Continental Marine Sargeant.
Facial hair (with very few exceptions) was a social taboo at this time. To be considered properly dressed, any professional wore a neckerchief (which was worn over the collar of the shirt). The round hat—unique to the marines—had a small brim to protect from elements.
Sign of Rank
Matis tells us this replica sargeant’s outfit is one of the most accurate, depciting a Revolutionary-era marine. The green woolen regimental coat with white facings and turnbacks, silver metal buttons imprinted with an anchor design, red sash and epaulet inspire respect.
Soldiers in most armies of the time would have carried similar weapons: musket with bayonet, a cartridge box, and a sword—that is, a “hanger,” with a curved blade and a brass guard handle.
A man’s white linen shirt was considered his underwear during the 18th century. In public, a shirt was rarely worn without a waistcoat or jacket. White-linen breeches covered by black wool knee gaiters over black shoes, which protect the leg but also add flair.