Clothing Guidelines for Painted Stone Settlers (Native)

This is a list of guidelines that we would like everyone to follow  for future events. We are trying to portray an appearance that is typical of the  Native Americans of the mid to late eighteenth century.
The following items are  acceptable because they best represent the norm for the period. All these items  are documentable through period narratives, images, or surviving examples. There  are many other items that to varying degrees can be documented to the period.  Since we want to represent an impression that cannot be argued with in any way,  we have decided to err on the conservative side and would like everyone to  follow this list. Knowing that everyone involved with this project wants to do  their best to educate the public in what we know to be an absolutely correct  appearance, we hope that everyone will do their best to follow these guidelines.

 The best way to protect yourself when making or purchasing an item is to do your  own research in advance. Read period narratives describing what you are going to  make. Look at period paintings and drawings to see how it appears and is worn  (if worn at all). Look at surviving examples of the items that can be documented  to the period.

 If you take these steps you will be less likely to buy or spend  the time making an incorrect item.
One last word when doing your impression,  most of us are trying to represent the common Native American Male or Female.  You can sometimes make a more striking statement by wearing a few items very  properly rather then a lot of items gaudily. Remember sometimes less is  more.


Should be made of leather and have center seams  with puckered toes. The flaps should be rectangular in shape. Everyday moccasins  had no frills. They may be decorated with quills, beads, ribbon, trade silver,  and/or cones with hair for ceremonial dress only


Side seamed and made of trade wool or leather.  They are to be very tight fitting and should tuck into the moccasins or be flush  with the top of the moccasins. They can be decorated with the same items as the  moccasins. No center seam leggings.

Knee garters or ties:

May be quilled, finger woven, or beaded (like  the ones in the American Indian Art, Winter 1991, West Collection Article). They  may be plain strips of leather or wool. No garter drops. Do not wear knee  garters tied above the elbows as arm bands.


May be trade wool or leather. They are to be no  wider than mid-thigh to mid-thigh. The length should be no longer than half way  down the thigh. They also may be decorated as the moccasins. Do not make an  oversized breechcloth that goes from hip to hip. If modesty is a problem make  sure your trade shirt is long enough.


Are to be in a time period appropriate pattern.  Bring your documentation if you have a wild material pattern that may be  questioned. Most trade shirts were white. Ruffled shirts are acceptable. Most  shirts were linen. Even though some women (and men) wore chemises we are trying  to get most people into trade shirts. If you wear a short gown or bed jacket,  chemises are acceptable.

Trade coats:

Are to be wool. There are many different  designs for these and you should bring your documentation to support the style  you wear.

Vests or waistcoats:

Are not to be worn without a trade coat or  shirt. (Men only.)


Are to be finger woven using the oblique  pattern. They should be a solid color or have a trim color running the length of  the sash. Appropriate colors are red, dark blue, black, light green, and medium  grass green. We would prefer women did not wear sashes.


Are to be made of wool. In the village for  ceremonies they were fancy, decorated with beads, trade silver, and/or ribbons.  On the trail they were just a piece of blanket, not fancy. They should be  approximately 5-6 feet square in size.

Women's skirts:

Are to be made of wool and should be folded  over and tied at the waist. They may also be decorated as matchcoats for  ceremonies.

Bed jackets and short gowns:

Worn by women. Be sure you have time period  appropriate material and clothing pattern.


Should be silver. Earbobs (a small ball or drop  on a wire ring) as well as ball and cones are acceptable for men and women. Men  may also wear ear wheels and triangular shaped earrings. Brass wires and  triangles are acceptable.

Nose rings:

Are silver. They may be bobs, ball and cones, or triangles. No crescent or gorget shaped nose rings should be worn since they  didn’t start to show up until around 1810-1830. Men wore nose rings. Women  rarely wore them and we would prefer if you did not.

Arm bands:

Should be of silver and worn only by  men.


Should be silver and may be round or crescent  shaped. They are to be worn by men only.

Bracelets and rings:

May be of silver or brass.


Are to be made of silver and worn by  women.


Are to be made of silver. The plain ring types  of ½ inch to 1 inch are the best. Avoid the large ones with a lot of cut outs as  they are not typical of the period.


Neck knives should be based on a period design  and be quill decorated. Period ones tend to be just a little wider than the  knife blade. Only men wore them. Belt knives should have very plain sheaths  without quill work.


There are many period types that are  acceptable. The most common colors were white, black, and blue. The plainer and  the less, the better. Have your period documentation to support what you are  wearing.

Men's Hair:

At least the front half of the head should be  shaved clean. If at least the front half is not shaved then your head should be  covered. This can be with a silk handkerchief (in a plain period color). There  are a variety of acceptable hair ornaments: wampum strands, quilled strips,  silver tubes or brooches, stripped and quilled feathers and beads. Hair roaches  of the small circular variety that are worn at the crown are acceptable. Longer  and larger tie on ones are not.

Women's Hair:

Parted in the center and pulled back. It should  be “greased” down. After being pulled back it should be clubbed or folded up  into a short tail. This tail should be wrapped with ribbon or red dyed eel  skin.

Women's Painting:

Vermilion in the part of the hair and on the  forehead is very typical. Vermilion circles on each cheek were also very  common.

Men's Painting:

Vermilion, ochre, black, green, yellow, and  white are all good colors to use. Look at period paintings to come up with an  appropriate paint scheme.


This is an area where less is more is an  understatement. For women a few facial lines or a straight row of dots are all  that are necessary for a few to wear. By this time period there were very few  images showing women with facial tattoos. Men would be allowed to wear a few  more, but do not over do it or it starts looking ridiculous. Stick with a few  simple designs so as to keep the tattoos from becoming overwhelming.


Beads should be no larger than a size 8 or 10  and most should be white. They should be sewn on with spaces in between the  beads. The patterns should be straight line geometrics. Beads that are in  touching running lines and floral patterns come in much latter. Please look at  original pieces to see what patterns are appropriate.


Any clothing items should be a medium weight  stroud type material. There were many colors in the trade. The most common  colors were red, blue, and black.


Should be tanned so that it has a slightly  smoky tan or golden color to it. When used for some items it was dyed almost  black with walnut. Research what items this is appropriate for before doing it.  Avoid chrome tanned (Cheetos colored) commercial leather at all costs.


Should be silk or wool. Red, yellow, green,  blue, black, and white are all acceptable colors, but no pastel colored ribbon.  The width may vary from inch to 3 inches wide. No modern man made silk  polyester ribbon.

Bags and straps are to be oblique  finger woven or leather. They are to be relatively small, 7 inches by 8 inches  is a large bag. A 5 inch by 6 inch bag is a very typical size bag. Twined straps  (made like tump lines) are acceptable. Bags and powder horns are to be worn high  on the side almost touching the rib cage. The bags did not have flaps. They also  may be decorated with the same materials as the moccasins. Women would have  twined bags to carry and not wear shoulder bags. No white beaded, cloth bags or straps.


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