We encourage women to participate in any role they wish, be it as a fine lady, a working class woman, a poxy tart with toxic parts, a sailor, or even a Marine. The most common role for women would be as officers’ ladies, the gunner’s wife, the carpenter’s wife, etc.
We will encourage you to research the role you wish to portray and to be able to discuss your life portrayal with the public.
We try to stay within the 1750 to 1780 range on fashions so try to make your dress accommodate this time frame. A fine lady’s dress is much harder to make and very much more uncomfortable to wear, especially on hot days. Working class clothes tend to be looser and in layers, which can be added or subtracted according to your comfort.
This is a typical ladies fine dress of the period. It would be made of fine fabrics unavailable to the common classes.
Here are two very typical common women’s outfits available from Jas Townsend and Son. These would be appropriate for any shipboard woman’s role.
We ask that if you choose to portray a man that it be done in a believable manner. No makeup or anything which would betray your subterfuge. If you decided to be a Marine, you would be following in the footsteps of the likes of Hannah Snell, who passed as a Marine for over two years. Hannah Snell had concealed her true sex while serving in a regiment of the Royal Marines. She had sailed to India through great storms and fought in mud-filled trenches at the siege of Pondicherry. She claims to have been severely injured in the battle and that is when the surgeons discovered her true sex.
An excellent book on women at sea by Suzanne J.Stark called “Female Tars” covers the subject much better than we can and we highly recommend it.