“I Can’t…I Have a Reenactment…”: A Meditation on Hair

My dedication to the hair cause has always been a bit zealous. Back when I used to perform, I rarely cut more than an inch off my hair at any given time because I needed the length. As a ballet dancer, long hair is easier to style in a bun or french braid, and as an actor it was good to be able to do whatever a particular character required. Cutting my hair too short limited my repertoire.

Reenacting became an extension of that thought process, especially before I had fake hairpieces to help. Even still, fake hair can’t do all the work unless a person has the money to buy entire wigs. My difficulty is twofold, since I switch back and forth between military and civilian capacities. As a soldier, I can queue my hair without the aid of wigs or hairpieces like men must, and as a civilian I have the option to do something fancy if I choose. And now that I also act as sometimes-monarch with my 1839/39 impression of Queen Victoria, that hairstyle requires some length.

And thus, my lifelong struggle continues: If it’s reenacting season, I can’t do more than trim my hair. The real trouble is that, as I get older, my head grows increasingly intolerant of the weight on my head.  If my hair gets too long I’m prone to headaches. And yet, year after year, I am adamant about leaving my hair alone until November, my regiment’s last event of the year for which I absolutely need my hair. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment. Maybe I’m  stubborn. Or maybe I’m just so used to the status quo that it’s become a habit. I prefer to think that I’m dedicated enough to my impressions that I’m willing not to touch my hair until each season is over. I’m also maybe a little nuts.

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Polar Vortex: Old Enemy of the British Army?

I’m no real fan of hot weather, but boy has it been cold out.  I’ve seriously considered wearing my regimental when I go places because I’m pretty sure it’s the warmest coat I have.  But if you’re like me, you’re getting sick and tired of this “polar vortex” phrase thrown around by the media.  Evidence has been coming to light the past few weeks that not only is “polar vortex” really just another way of saying “duh…winter”, but they’ve been around before.

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Follow me? I’m trying, here.

In further efforts to try to expand my internet presence and hopefully gain more followers, I signed up for Bloglovin.  I realize I also should be posting more often, and I promise I will once the fall/winter show I directed is finished (this weekend).  I’ll have more brain to devote to blogging then.

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/11411793/?claim=jkx9vbfjvyp”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Beyond Bustles: Women’s Victorian Fashion

Editorial Note: All of the gorgeous dresses you’ll see here are on display or are in the collections of some of the great museums in the United States and Europe.  WordPress went nuts when I tried to include the URLs to their pages on the museum websites, so if you want to learn more about these beautiful garments, click the hyperlinks.

When I say “the 1980s”, what women’s fashions come to mind?  How about the 90s?  Or the 50s?  I’d ask what your answer are, but for one, I can’t hear you through the computer and two, you’ve probably answered “shoulder pads” for the 80s and I think we can all agree we don’t need to talk about shoulder pads.

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Admit it.  You wore them, too.

photo credit here

But I think I’ve achieved my point — mention a decade and people will readily answer with clothes that defined it.  And, thanks to Hollywood’s love affair with the period drama, the average person can usually point out that Jane Austen’s time period involved empire-waist dresses, the Civil War had hoop skirts, and the late Victorian Era was the home of the bustle.

The truth of the matter is that fashion is so much more interesting and oh, so much more complex than that.  Sleeve length.  Neckline.  Hemline.  Silhouette.  I could go on and on.  The lingo may be only partly familiar, or not at all.  I’m a historical reenactor; it’s my business to know these things.  But I started out like any one of you reading this right now – with absolutely no clue.  So I learned.  And so can you.

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Battle of the Hook

I have to admit that I almost forgot how much fun it is to be a civilian.  For one thing, it means getting to take lots of pictures!  Here’s a taste of the Battle of the Hook in Gloucester Point, VA, this past weekend.  Absolutely incredible two days.

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Sidelined for now, it seems. Looking toward the winter…

Injuring an ankle practically on the eve of the biggest event this year has taken a lot of the wind out of my sails. I already missed one event, and now it looks like I’m going civilian to the big one. Soft tissue injuries can take six, eight, or more weeks to mend, and I’d have an even bigger problem on my hands if I went out there and re-injured myself while I was still healing. Keep an eye on Instagram; if my dinky phone gets internet access where we are I’ll certainly post photos of my mates on the field.

Looking ahead to this winter, I’ve planned a mish-mosh of posts for both the soldiers and the ladies. Just like the article I wrote for my friends at CliqUnited, I have posts in the works regarding women’s fashion, etc., as well as more anecdotes from past events. If there’s something you’d like to hear about, let me know! I love hearing from people. It encourages me to write more.  Thanks for sticking with me while I’ve been in a lull, and stay tuned for winter fun!

Confessions of a Female Grenadier now on Tumblr!

Do you Tumbl? (Is that a word?) Follow me!

http://femalegrenadier.tumblr.com/

Basically, this idea came out of two things:
1) I’ve been looking for ways to get my blog out there, I’m a pretty new blog and I’m still trying to find ways to get noticed, and
2) I’m going crazy since I aggravated an old dancing ankle injury that means no reenacting for the present moment.

Don’t worry — this doesn’t mean I’ll be posting on this blog any less; I’m just looking for a way to ensnare more viewers. (If this is your first time, or if Tumblr brought you here, hi!) Tumblr will basically be a place for me to announce new blog posts on here, as well as posting/reblogging history- and reenacting-related stuff.
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