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  1. #1
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    Dickens Fair Garb

    I am strongly considering becoming one of the character dancers at Fezziwig's for this year's San Francisco Dickens Fair. For those of you who don't know, San Francisco has a long running Dickens Fair every Christmas season, and one of the most visible parts of it is the period dance hall, aka Fezziwig's. Period waltzes, mazurkas, and polkas are open to the "audience", but there is a constant stable of period characters participating. Dress seems to run the gamut from Victorian Sunday Best to White Tie, this being one of the few occasions to dress in one's period finery. The sumptuary accuracy is more on the period rather than the setting.

    Should I make it into the troupe, I would like to be in kilt. There is precedent, however nearly all the clothing guidelines (aka rules) refer to Saxon garb. Of course, all final outfits are cleared by the Fair officials, however I thought I would do my due diligence and pick the brains of our enlightened rabble. I've read through all the threads I found referring specifically to the Victorian period, and I've got some ideas of what to wear. There are some holes in this theory that I would like filled, however, so I will lay out my ideas and ask you fine gents for your opinions.

    Kilt: 4-5 yard box-pleated. Tartan pattern: clan variant. I'm a Baxter, so I get to wear MacMillan tartan.
    Shoes: Buckle Mary Janes seems to be the norm. Although it seems thin ghillies or buckle shoes could possibly work?
    Hose: Diced or Argyle. I like the look of castellated hose.
    Garter ties: I see mostly red garters when I look at Highlanders of Scotland. Is there another color that would be period accurate?
    Sgian Dhu: Again, HoS makes it look optional. But should I choose to wear it, just a plain wood handle is best.
    Shirt: White, marcella front, detachable collar like the Saxons of the period.
    Jacket/vest: Here's where I run into some trouble. HoS seems to go from extreme military formal suddenly to casual daywear. No PCs, no Argyle with silver buttons; mostly doublets and tweed jackets. Essentially, no evening wear. As I am just getting into Traditional Highland wear, it might be nice to have the option of Argyle and black vest, or PC before splurging for that glorious 1822 Commemorative Jacket I saw on one of our linked vendors. I am also very much considering the Montrose Doublet for eventual 21st century use, but that doesn't seem period. Since the jacket choice will greatly influence the formality of accessories, much rides on this choice.
    Sporran: Goat hair or horse hair seems the only choice.
    Fly Plaid: Definitely not necessary, however depending on the formality of the coat, it might be fun to have.
    Headwear: bareheaded while dancing, a standard modern Balmoral (sans dicing) could fit the bill when venturing onto the streets of London. A burgundy Balmoral has caught my eye; would that be an improper color?
    Dirk: Again, not necessary, but it might be a nice accessory should I want more "bling".

    Esteemed Rabble, any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Wow! That's a great deal of stuff to consider.

    Kilt: no problem with the MacMillan IMHO, but some more informed may give better input.
    Shirt: yep, I like it.
    Hose: diced...yes; castellated even better.
    Garter ties: depending on the dicing of the hose red may not work
    Jacket/Doublet: haven't got the expertise to comment.
    Sporran: yep..horsehair if you can.
    Headwear: a Balmoral would probably be very nice.. don't know if it is period appropriate. If not, maybe a tam.
    Dirk and Sgian: your choice.
    Please understand that I'm sure there other more informed within the Rabble that can direct you with greater accuracy.

    My only question is, how to I get an invite?
    Gu dùbhlanach
    Coinneach Mac Dhòmhnaill

  3. #3
    Panache's Avatar
    Panache is offline
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    I am part of the Red Thistle Dancers Scottish Country Dance performance group and we have the pleasure of dancing at the Dickens Fair. Here are two outfits I have worn that seem to pass the fair costume requirements without problem.









    Cheers

    Jamie
    Last edited by Panache; 9th February 13 at 11:22 AM.
    -See it there, a white plume
    Over the battle - A diamond in the ash
    Of the ultimate combustion-My panache

    Edmond Rostand

  4. #4
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    A great example! Jamie, I really like your brass cantled sporran.
    Gu dùbhlanach
    Coinneach Mac Dhòmhnaill

  5. #5
    Panache's Avatar
    Panache is offline
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    Huginn and Muninn,


    As a fellow dancer may I make a couple of suggestions about your proposed outfit?

    A fly plaid will get in your way...badly when vigorously dancing.

    Same with a dirk

    Also sgian dubhs have a nasty (and embarrassing) habit of either falling out of your hose or sliding down them to your shoe when you really moving on the dance floor. This can be fixed by having your flashes or garters tightly bound across your calf to hold the knife in place. However this does cut off circulation.

    My advice is skip the plaid and the dirk, and to put your sgian dubh in your sporran before stepping onto the dance floor!

    One other bit of advice I can give is too make sure that you can easily move your sporran to your hip when doing dances such as the waltz.

    Cheers

    Jamie


    Quote Originally Posted by Huginn and Muninn View Post
    I am strongly considering becoming one of the character dancers at Fezziwig's for this year's San Francisco Dickens Fair. For those of you who don't know, San Francisco has a long running Dickens Fair every Christmas season, and one of the most visible parts of it is the period dance hall, aka Fezziwig's. Period waltzes, mazurkas, and polkas are open to the "audience", but there is a constant stable of period characters participating. Dress seems to run the gamut from Victorian Sunday Best to White Tie, this being one of the few occasions to dress in one's period finery. The sumptuary accuracy is more on the period rather than the setting.

    Should I make it into the troupe, I would like to be in kilt. There is precedent, however nearly all the clothing guidelines (aka rules) refer to Saxon garb. Of course, all final outfits are cleared by the Fair officials, however I thought I would do my due diligence and pick the brains of our enlightened rabble. I've read through all the threads I found referring specifically to the Victorian period, and I've got some ideas of what to wear. There are some holes in this theory that I would like filled, however, so I will lay out my ideas and ask you fine gents for your opinions.

    Kilt: 4-5 yard box-pleated. Tartan pattern: clan variant. I'm a Baxter, so I get to wear MacMillan tartan.
    Shoes: Buckle Mary Janes seems to be the norm. Although it seems thin ghillies or buckle shoes could possibly work?
    Hose: Diced or Argyle. I like the look of castellated hose.
    Garter ties: I see mostly red garters when I look at Highlanders of Scotland. Is there another color that would be period accurate?
    Sgian Dhu: Again, HoS makes it look optional. But should I choose to wear it, just a plain wood handle is best.
    Shirt: White, marcella front, detachable collar like the Saxons of the period.
    Jacket/vest: Here's where I run into some trouble. HoS seems to go from extreme military formal suddenly to casual daywear. No PCs, no Argyle with silver buttons; mostly doublets and tweed jackets. Essentially, no evening wear. As I am just getting into Traditional Highland wear, it might be nice to have the option of Argyle and black vest, or PC before splurging for that glorious 1822 Commemorative Jacket I saw on one of our linked vendors. I am also very much considering the Montrose Doublet for eventual 21st century use, but that doesn't seem period. Since the jacket choice will greatly influence the formality of accessories, much rides on this choice.
    Sporran: Goat hair or horse hair seems the only choice.
    Fly Plaid: Definitely not necessary, however depending on the formality of the coat, it might be fun to have.
    Headwear: bareheaded while dancing, a standard modern Balmoral (sans dicing) could fit the bill when venturing onto the streets of London. A burgundy Balmoral has caught my eye; would that be an improper color?
    Dirk: Again, not necessary, but it might be a nice accessory should I want more "bling".

    Esteemed Rabble, any help would be appreciated.
    Last edited by Panache; 9th February 13 at 11:12 AM.
    -See it there, a white plume
    Over the battle - A diamond in the ash
    Of the ultimate combustion-My panache

    Edmond Rostand

  6. #6
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    I've never been to a Dicken's fair in garb but I'd love to one day!
    Last edited by Oberu; 10th February 13 at 08:29 PM.
    May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live

  7. #7
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    The nice thing about garbing for the Victorian era is that most elements of current Highland dress came out of those times, and have not changed that much since. I get by wearing basically what I'd wear to any dressy daytime thing. About the only thing different is the high collar shirt and the bonnet. Personally, I don't want to invest a lot into extra garb for one weekend here, so I go for period 'feel' over accuracy.




    Of course like I always say stand next to the right people and nobody cares what you're wearing.
    Order of the Dandelion, The Houston Area Kilt Society, Bald Rabble in Kilts, Kilted Texas Rabble Rousers, The Flatcap Confederation, Kilted Playtron Group.
    "If you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk"

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Why not wear a Baxter kilt, if you have one? It comes from the 1856 Baronage of Angus and Mearns so would be absolutely in keeping with the period. As for the overall style, I'd use either some of the McIan (Chisholm, Faser, MacDonell of Glengarry etc) or almost any of the MacLeay prints.

  9. #9
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    Ok, good replies all around. Dancing is best without extraneous items. Good to keep in mind, Jamie. Thanks. It looks like Argyle jacket will work splendidly, so I won't have to work too hard to get specifically perioded up. Finding (and affording) a goat hair sporran will be the hardest part; maybe I'll pick up a cheap horsehair in the interim. Although I'm not keen on the length of most horsehair. Due to the reduced formality of the Argyle, I will go with thin ghillies. For neckwear starters, I have black cravat or bow tie. I can expand from there.

    ~Thomas

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