Military Uniforms During the War of 1812

Fashion Flashback: Given that fashion was instrumental in the creation of Canada, this blog series explores the development of what Canadians wore one era at a time.

Three War of 1812 uniform examples. From British Forces in North America 1793–1815 by René Chartrand. Illustrations by Gerry Embleton. [Source]

Getting back on track with the historical fashion posts, we left off in the 1810s. However before we can look at the clothes Canadians wore during the Regency Era, there is a little matter of the War of 1812. As with any war, uniforms varied greatly on the battlefield to distinguish rank, unit, whether you were part of the infantry, cavalry, or navy, etc. This post will be looking at uniforms worn by British and Canadian soldiers during the 1812-1815 conflict from a general perspective, as well as how military uniforms reflected the overall trends of men’s fashion from that period. (Interested in pictures of American uniforms? Check out these two links).

Continue reading

Voyageurs and Coureur des Bois

Fashion Flashback: Given that fashion was instrumental in the creation of Canada, this blog series explores the development of what Canadians wore one era at a time.

Radisson & Groseillers by Archibald Bruce Stapleton. Two coureurs des bois who went on to establish the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Normally, my historical fashion posts go in chronological order but for this ~Special Edition~ we are jumping back in time a bit to take a closer look at those involved in the fur trade. Voyageurs and coureurs des bois both played significant, yet distinct roles in the expansion of the fur trade and hold a place in the mythology of Pre-Confederation Canada. Who were the voyageurs and coureurs des bois? What were their similarities and differences? Above all, why were they important and how does their clothes factor into Canadian history? Continue reading

Women’s Fashion During and After the French Revolution (1790 to 1810)

Fashion Flashback: Given that fashion was instrumental in the creation of Canada, this blog series explores the development of what Canadians wore one era at a time.


Woman’s Dress (Redingote) (c. 1790) [Source]

This week we continue our look at the fashion landscape in Canada both during and in the years after the French Revolution. With men’s fashion we saw that the decade-long political turmoil in France led to the beginning of the move to a more recognizably modern look. Now it’s time for the ladies. Did their apparel also move towards modernity?

Spoiler Alert: Nope. Not by a long shot.

So why is that? Continue reading

Men’s Fashion During and After the French Revolution (1790-1810)

Fashion Flashback: Given that fashion was instrumental in the creation of Canada, this blog series explores the development of what Canadians wore one era at a time.


Man’s Suit. (c. 1810). [Source]

To call the French Revolution a watershed event would not be an exaggeration. Lasting from 1789 until 1799, this period of tremendous upheaval forever transformed France and its effects stretched far beyond the French borders. In Canada (or rather British North America), changes could not only be felt politically and socially, but even in the fashion realm as well.

So how exactly did ten years of European turmoil affect clothing on the other side of the Atlantic? Let’s take a look at men’s fashion first. Continue reading

Men’s Fashion After the Fall of New France (1760s-1780s)

Fashion Flashback: Given that fashion was instrumental in the creation of Canada, this blog series explores the development of what Canadians wore one era at a time.

Suit. Made of wool and gilt metal. British. (c. 1760). [Source]

Now for the follow-up to last week’s post about changes to women’s fashion following Great Britain’s victory in the Seven Years’ War. This time around though, guys are in the spotlight. Continue reading

Women’s Fashion After the Fall of New France (1760s to 1780s)

Fashion Flashback: Given that fashion was instrumental in the creation of Canada, this blog series explores the development of what Canadians wore one era at a time.


Robe à l’anglaise
 (c. 1765) from the Costume Museum of Canada.

Great Britain’s victory in the Seven Years’ War in 1763 stripped France of the majority of their territorial North American possessions. They kept the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, but New France was added to Britain’s growing North American empire. Needless to stay, the restructuring of the continent was a massive geopolitical shift, so how was this reflected on the societal level for the formerly French citizens? Or more specifically (since this is a fashion post after all) how did this turn of events effect what people wore? This post looks at changes to women’s clothing; next week’s post will look at men’s fashion. Continue reading

Military Uniforms During the Seven Years War

Fashion Flashback: Given that fashion was instrumental in the creation of Canada, this blog series explores the development of what Canadians wore one era at a time.

The Seven Years War (1754-1763) was a real geopolitical game-changer because the end of the conflict saw the complete restructuring of the North American map. France ceded all of its North American possessions to Great Britain in exchange for the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. So, needless to say, the war was particularly devastating* to France…but hey, at least they looked good while losing! Continue reading

Fashion in New France (1700-1750)

Fashion Flashback: Given that fashion was instrumental in the creation of Canada, this blog series explores the development of what Canadians wore one era at a time.

Various Costumes, 1631-1750. By: Charles William Jeffery. Source: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1972-26-1156.

Originally, this exploration of historical Canadian fashion was going to be a one-time Research Q & A post. But when my brother and I started talking about the significance of fashion in Canada; how crucial the fur trade was to the colonization and economic development of New France, it was obvious that another blog series was needed. Continue reading