Miller-Spillman, K. 2015. “Civil War Re-enactors’ Dress as a Symbol of Political Beliefs.”

Miller-Spillman, Kimberly. 2015. “Civil War Re-enactors’ Dress as Symbol of Political Beliefs.” Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion 2(2+3): 163-182.


Online qualitative and quantitative survey from 200+ CWRE on their political beliefs, willingness to “galvanize” – switch sides and thus, costumes.


Most CWRE are college-educated, politically-conservative white males. Commemorative events help to construct national identity (Frost and Laing 2013). Purposes or goals of CWRE: to entertain (the re-enactor), to educate (the re-creator), and to replicate the life of a CWsolider (the replicator). Education as a primary reason for participating in re-enactments.


Eicher (1981): Dressing for public, private, and secret selves overlaps with dressing for reality, fun/leisure, and fantasy (Eicher and Miller 1994). Eicher et al (1991) – high school students dressing for reality to express public and private selves – however, discomforted in discussing dressing the secret self.


Many CWRE are willing to galvanize, but this is also somewhat dependent upon political beliefs. Open-ended questions tie unwillingness to galvanize (on either side) to ancestry, anti-slavery political beliefs, sentiments of “superiority” or aloofness of “other side”, etc. Unwillingness to galvanize (or change costumes) is sending a literal message from their clothing – “announced by the uniform they are wearing during a re-enactment” (179).



Eicher 1981 – see cites elsewhere.

Eicher, J.B., S. Baizerman, and J. Michelman. 1991. “Adolescent Dress: Part 2. A Qualitative Study of Suburban High School Students.” Adolescence 26(103): 679-686.

Eicher, Joanne Bubloz and K. A. Miller. 1994. “Dress, and the Public, Private, and Secret Self: Revisiting a Model.” Pp. 145 in Proceedings of the International Textile and Apparel Association, edited by C.M. Ladisch. Minneapolis, MN: The International Textiles and Apparel Association.


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