American Revolution Costumes

Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Early American men and women who lived in the era of the Revolutionary War dressed in clothing that were heavily influenced by different European societies. Since the colonists had strong ties with Europe before the Revolutionary War, many English and French fashions and garments were commonly seen in the various colonies. Wealthy colonial men and women looked to Europe’s aristocratic society to keep pace with the latest fashion trends and the poorer citizens wore simple clothing that mimicked those of high society.

Revolutionary Styles

Waistcoats and overcoats were popular attire for men during the years of the Revolutionary era. From the years 1775 to 1800, men wore short trousers that ended at their calves, stockings and a decent pair of leather boots or shoes with buckles. Coiffures were a type of wig that was worn as a fashion for men during the era and various cocked brimmed and top hats were sported as well. During the years of the Revolutionary War men’s clothing styles were inspired by military-styled dress. Women adorned themselves in extravagant head-dresses, covered their torsos with bodices, placed frilled undergarments under their hoop skirts and covered their feet in high-heeled and buckle-styled shoes.

Changing Styles

Styles during the Revolutionary War began to change about the time the war had ended in 1783. Aristocratic society had simplified its style of dress and many common people wore simple garb to reflect this change. Men wore wrapped scarves around their necks which were tucked inside of high-standing collars. Women styles included wide and very curly hair and the bodice was still a fashionable piece of clothing for most women at the time. Many of the fashions from the Revolutionary War era went out of favor by the start of the 19th century as neoclassical clothing trends began to take root within American society.


Halloween is a time for costumes and disguises and Revolutionary War costumes can be outfitted during this time of year. British officers were a common sight during the Revolutionary War era and this 18th century military costume can be worn during the Halloween holiday. Patriots fought in the political realm and on the battlefield during the Revolutionary War and costumes are available that come with top coats, cuffs, shoe buckles, tri-quarter hats and replica muskets. Colonial women were dressed in their petticoats and gowns and these colonial styles and fashions can be worn as costumes.

Movies and Re-enactments

Movies such as “The Patriot,” “The Crossing” and the documentary known as the “The Revolution” are films that depict the style and garb that was once worn by people who lived during the Revolutionary War. There are some historical re-enactment organizations and societies that perform battles that occurred during the Revolutionary War and they wear the appropriate 18th-century clothing. John Adams was a Revolutionary War patriot, and a television miniseries about his life was produced in 2008 and the costumes used in the film depict the different styles and dress during the Revolutionary War.