An Afternoon at Ft McHenry aka Dress-Up Fun!

A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to kill several overdue birds with one stone: finally wear my blue silk spencer and olive green shako hat in a proper ensemble, get some proper photos of me wearing them and visit a new-to-me historical site. All of this courtesy of the lovely and wonderful Taylor of Dames a la Mode who invited me for an afternoon at Ft McHenry in Baltimore the Sunday of the July 4th long weekend!

With us came the delightful young Melissa, in her beyond charming blue dress and accessories. Melissa had been interning at the DAR museum for a month and I’m so glad timing worked out that she was still in town for this (or maybe Taylor planned it that way, I was actually away most the time Melissa was in DC, so I don’t know these things).

We met up with Taylor’s friend (Taylor – remind me of her name so I can put it in here!) who works for the fort as a living historian and she took us on a little behind the scenes tour before we went wandering the grounds on our own.

Taylor brought her awesome DSLR and so lots of photos were taken mostly by Taylor (although I’ve done some editing to the ones she sent me), here are just a few. Admittedly, they are mostly sort of me-centred, but you get some of Melissa and Taylor too!


My outfit is, unfortunately, a bit of a mish-mash of dates. The dress is my 1797 gown, the spencer more late teens/early twenties even and the Shako I guess anywhere from c.1800-1815. However, I think they all look pretty nice together anyway.

My hair was a challenge. I had made the Shako to fit over a wig, and didn’t think about how hairstyles were largely close to the head during the period they were most fashionable. I also didn’t have a wig or time to fashion one into a proper hairstyle for the 1805-1815 period. So, I dug around and around on pinterest for any indication of big/long hair worn with a Shako and found this one image:


It’s a bit tough to see as the image is on the small size and doesn’t enlarge well, but she does have long curls hanging down her chest on either side of her neck. So, this is sort of what I tried going for, using the wig I usually wear with the 1797 gown and the open robes. I’m probably stretching credibility with this but I’m calling it close enough!




Taylor’s awesome hat is from Shocking Bad Hats and has actually been named the Miss Taylor in her honour!




Do you think I should crop the above photo to remove the unfortunately positioned high-rise behind our heads?




I cannot get over how cute Melissa was.



Showing off some of my own Dames a la Mode jewellery.







So, just a few fun photos! It was wonderful to finally wear the spencer and hat, and thankfully it was mild enough that day that it wasn’t too hot for them!

5 thoughts on “An Afternoon at Ft McHenry aka Dress-Up Fun!

  1. Lovely, Lovely!!!! Thank you! One question – I thought spensers were always worn buttoned up. I guess that’s naive, since we don’t always button things up NOW! 🙂


  2. As a lady of the time, you would have assembled your best bits, as would your fellow guests. Liberties are always taken!
    So nice to revisit these and see them out in the world. A pleasure! Thank you so much.


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