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In Their Own Words

July 21, 1865

Comments on Lack of Clothing During Reconstruction

Eliza Frances Andrews has some pointed comments to make about Reconstruction fashion in the South:

“We had no callers till late in the afternoon, which was a great relief, for I feel used up, and the weather is too hot for anything but to sit undressed in my own room. I go in deshabille most of the time, now that the house is free of guests, keeping a dress and coiffure ready to fling on at a moment’s notice, when visitors are seen coming up the avenue. I think it is dreadfully vulgar to go dowdy about the house, but what is one to do when one has hardly clothes enough to be respectable when one goes out, and no money to buy any more? And we have to do so much hard work, too, now that our clothes would not last a month if we were to wear them around all the time, when there is no one here. It is too hot to wear clothes anyway. I sometimes wish that old Mother Eve had not set the fashion for fig leaves… .”

Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 338-339.