Clothing during the Civil War, like clothing from many other distinct time periods, is well known. Without much thought, Civil War clothing may bring to mind Gone With the Wind and conjured images of the Southern Belle. Since most men were called to service during the Civil War, it's not difficult to imagine them in Calvary coats and uniforms. However, women's fashion was as distinct as ever.
Civil War clothing merely refers to the fashion of the period. Women wore different dresses for different occasions. Their dresses were layered over hoops for more formal occasions. They would often have one dress for chores and morning duties and then a slightly more formal dress for afternoon tea or other engagements. The dresses for day to day life did not require hoops, they were usually closed tightly at the cuff of the sleeve, and often included an apron front.
In the afternoon and evenings, they would change into dresses with more trimmings and adornments that were made from finer materials such as silk, since these dresses were worn less often than their day to day ones. The most formal engagements required the biggest hoops underneath the dress.
Children's Civil War clothing was a bit more practical and young ladies weren't required to make much of a fashion statement until they were of courting age. Young children's clothing would be made from cotton or wool that was easy to clean and easy to mend. Their outer garments usually attached to their undergarments in some fashion.
Original Civil War clothing can be found in museums across the country. Reproductions of Civil War clothing can be purchased from specialty retailers and costume designers. Women who commissioned a new dress during the Civil War were usually being treated to something special or had an occasion for which they needed one. A reproduction of a Civil War era dress would cost hundreds of dollars today.