Why wear costume? The decision to wear “traditional” costume was made after a number of years of crewing in modern dress. It was felt that whilst we were proudly demonstrating historical craft, we were ruining the image by wearing totally inappropriate “jeans and beach shirts”, to quote an early criticism. We like to be able to present a complete historical image when we are out on the cut. We do, after all, represent our owners, The Black Country Living Museum, all of whose volunteers are required to wear early 20th century costume – and do so with pride.
What is the cost of traditional dress? We are able to get fairly close to a 1909 boater’s costume from a modern wardrobe or at least the local charity shop. Waistcoats, flat caps and even collarless shirts are usually to be found at Oxfam. The alternative production of a collarless shirt is easily achieved with an old modern shirt and a pair of scissors… Most people have a pair of corduroys (ideally, as light coloured as possible) and a coloured neckerchief lying around. Bingo – you’re in 1909! We encourage you to wear a pair of stout or preferably safety boots.
What can Friends of President supply? If you enjoy your first trips and want to up-rate your costume, we can offer Oxford work shirts and coloured neckerchiefs, both at very reasonable cost.