Back in style: Fashion show at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park features Civil War-era clothing
by Hilary Butschek
June 29, 2014 04:00 AM | 3901 views | 3 3 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Heather Sheen models a Roswell dress during the Civil War Fashion Show at the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park on Saturday.<br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Heather Sheen models a Roswell dress during the Civil War Fashion Show at the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park on Saturday.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
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From left, Jeannie Rucker, Sherry Key, Penny DiPalma and Holly Sheen participate in a question-and-answer session about their Civil War-era clothing.<br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
From left, Jeannie Rucker, Sherry Key, Penny DiPalma and Holly Sheen participate in a question-and-answer session about their Civil War-era clothing.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
slideshow
Tom ‘Cornbread’ Key portrays a mule skinner.<br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Tom ‘Cornbread’ Key portrays a mule skinner.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
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Chris Rucker wears a Civil War-era smoking jacket.<br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Chris Rucker wears a Civil War-era smoking jacket.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
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Penny DiPalma models a swimming gown popular 150 years ago.<br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Penny DiPalma models a swimming gown popular 150 years ago.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
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Trish Hasenmueller models a Metropolitan Gymnastics Costume.<br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Trish Hasenmueller models a Metropolitan Gymnastics Costume.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
slideshow
KENNESAW — There was one question asked more than any other to men and women dressed in period clothing at the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain: “Aren’t you hot?”

At a fashion show featuring about 10 reenactors Saturday afternoon in the midday sun, the women in seven layers of cotton handled the question with grace.

“We’re no hotter than you are, standing out in 90 degree weather,” said Sherry Key, who modeled in the fashion show and has been participating in reenactments for 20 years. “All of (the) clothing works together, and you get an evaporative, cooling effect.”

In fact, Key said, there are benefits to the 19th-century uniform of long sleeves and long skirts for women and suits for men.

Key said she doesn’t get bug bites or sunburns because neither bugs nor the sun can get to her skin. And the long skirt allows a cooling breeze to come through every once in a while.

As men and women dressed in the styles of the 1800s paraded across a stage at the Kennesaw National Battlefield Park on Saturday, about 100 spectators watched in awe of their complicated style.

Katherine Bennett, who is a public relations specialist at Kellen Communications in Sandy Springs, said she didn’t know how the women onstage could take the heat.

“I feel sorry for those women,” Bennett said. “It makes me appreciate how far women’s clothing has come.”

One woman in the crowd, Rachel Camp, a 21-year-old senior at Emmanuel College from Smyrna, attended the weekend event in Civil War-era fashion by choice. She said she found a pattern for a dress, bought the fabric, paid a seamstress $160 to make it, bought a $20 hoop skirt and her outfit was complete.

“I’m still trying to decide which is hotter: seven layers of cotton or one layer of wool,” Camp said, comparing her clothing to that of the soldiers of the period.

Key, an executive assistant at Cherry Bekaert CPA from Aiken, S.C., said dressing up is her hobby, and she travels across the country to share information about clothing styles from centuries ago.

“I made pretty much everything I’m wearing, except my shoes and my corset,” Key said. “It’s a hobby, an avocation and a passion.”

A young spectator, Taylor Clay, 11, said she would only dress up in seven layers and a long-sleeve dress for Halloween.

“I don’t know if I’d be able to survive in those clothes,” Clay said.

The models in the fashion show agreed they enjoy teaching about the history of America’s style, as well as its culture. Chris Rucker, a physician from Boiling Springs, S.C., who modeled a white suit in the fashion show, said he goes to reenactments to entertain and to teach.

“I love to educate people,” Rucker said. “It’s important to know where you’ve been so you don’t go there again.”

Comments
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Old Timer
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June 29, 2014
The 150th Anniversary celebrations are too politically correct. The 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Jonesboro was much better.
Shelby "My" Foote
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June 30, 2014
There was a battle in Jonesboro in 1914? Was this a prelude to World War I? Please, tell us more as we will all be fascinated by this piece of little-known local history!
Old Timer
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June 30, 2014
No, I was at the reenactment of the Battle of Jonesboro on August 29, 1964.
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