Dressing in pioneer clothing has an impact on the spirit of the trek. The following is a short description of what the pioneers wore as they crossed the plains. It also will help you prepare for trekking in our day.
Men's shirts were worn loose. They had a narrow neck band with no collar. Plain colors were most common, but stripes or plaids were also used. For modern day trekkers, light colors will be coolest. Choose something larger than regular fit, with long sleeves
Men's pants were also worn loose. Wool or linen was used. Colors included blue, black, gray, and browns (especially beige and tan). Trekkers in our day find that wool is too hot but that cotton, corduroy, twill, and canvas pants are good choices. Choose styles that are rather loose fitting through the bottom and thigh area to add comfort in walking.
Men's pants were held up by suspenders. Suspenders were buttoned on the outside of the waistband and crossed in the back.
Men's everyday hats ranged from pilot caps, straw hats, wide-brimmed low felt hats, and round crowned hats
A woman's basic dress was floor length. It could be plain or have many ruffles. The sleeves were full and long with buttons or bands at the wrist. Necklines were usually high with buttons up the front. Fabrics were made of cotton in solid colors or small print. Bright colors (excluding neons) were popular, especially bright yellow. Blouses and long skirts or jumpers could be used. Pioneer trekkers today have found that dresses and skirts should be mid-calf or above the top of a hiking boot in length (so the girls do not trip over their skirts while walking).
The standard apron was six to twelve inches shorter than the skirt length. It gathered at the waist and tied. The bib attached at the waist and was pinned to the dress bodice on the top two corners. Daytime aprons were made of calico remnants. Sunday aprons were made from white fabric and did not have a bib. For trekking today, large deep pockets are important to be able to carry different items along the trail.
Women wore bonnets whenever they were outside. They were made of cotton with a deep stiffened brim and a back ruffle to protect the neck. They could be white, plain colors or a print, but they never matched the fabric of the dress. For trekking today, bonnets or straw hats for the girls are important as they add protection from the sun.
These were worn underneath the dress and were normally white. Their length was usually between the knee and mid-calf. Wearing pantaloons helps maintain modesty in trekking situations.