What Did Colonial Women Wear?

Colonial women wore items such as petticoats, waistcoats, stockings, stays, smocks and caps. Women's best dresses were black and were kept for special occasions. Clothing worn every day was generally red, blue, brown, gray, white or yellow.

The typical clothing worn by colonial women covered a wide spectrum.

  • Stays were stiff, corset-like garments worn over smocks to support and shape the body.
  • Waistcoats resembled close-fitting jackets with long sleeves. They were often constructed of canvas or wool.
  • Petticoats were skirts worn under gowns and jackets for warmth. They were often made of linen, cotton or wool.
  • Caps were worn to protect women's hair and dressed their head without needing to style the hair. Hats were worn over the caps.

Other items worn by colonial women, depending on the occasion, were aprons, boots, shoes, cloaks and mittens.