As I’m writing these posts about bodices, I can’t help but wonder why we are even having these discussions in 2013, since the inaccuracy of this article of clothing has been common knowledge for years. Certainly, they continue to be an issue because they are still sold by sutlers.
To their credit, Jas Townsend has now added a disclaimer to their bodice offering,
“This item is not considered accurate by many organizations, if you are working with an organization or will be wearing this at a judged event please check with them before purchasing this item.”
They would be doing their customers a greater service if they just stopped selling them.
Smoke and Fire? All I can say is shame on you! They’ve taken a real squirrely approach and instead of calling the bodice what it is, they are referring to it a “sleeveless jacket or unstayed jump”. Really? I’m calling you out on this one, that’s an English bodice and you know it!
Some of the smaller sutlers, etsy and ebay sellers are the worst offenders. There is one in particular, who knows bodices are inaccurate and sells them anyway because she thinks they are more attractive than short gowns.
|"18th Century Rev War Ladies English Waistcoat"|
(A Rose by another other name........)
She admits to it in her disclaimer: "I will not answer indignant inquires by some women insisting I should only sew drab floppy shortgowns for the reenacting public" nor can she "be responsible nor accept excuses after the sale that style or colors are unacceptable to the commander or director of your group". Mmmmm, maybe she's had some issues with returns due to inaccuracy?????
There's another vendor on ebay, who includes the phrase. "Colonial Williamsburg" when describing her items. I hate to break it to her, but that's a brand name that implies a certain level of quality. A little trademark infringement perhaps?
My favorite is the one that sells a "colonial, civil war era french bodice". I guess the American Revolution was a civil war, but somehow I don't think that's what they meant.
|Colonial, civil war french bodice|
Don't get me wrong, I don't care that they sell these things. This article of clothing might make a really good boho look paired with a vintage jacket and a pair of jeans, but don't pawn it off as 18th century for reenactors, s'il vous plait.
Once again, it comes down to us. As members of the reenactor community, let's make sure that we are supporting the sutlers who do their homework and offer accurate, quality goods and to eschew the ones who'll pawn off anything as "period" to make a buck. In addition, if you are involved in organizing an event, take the time to vet your sutlers -- you'll be doing the community a big favor!