As re-enactors of the old west I feel that over the last few years we have become to clean and well dressed. Like most of society I believe we have become disposable and no longer repair our gear neither patching or making do as we used to.
Nowadays we replace and renew far to quickly and much sooner than we ever did in the past.
I would appreciate your views on this subject, currently we re-enactors in the UK are discussing this very subject and at this time 85% believe we are too clean.
Depends on your persona. If you're a cowboy in, say, the 1880s, top hand pay was $40 per mo., bed & found. Yes, gold bullion was worth $12.50 per oz then, but a brand-new Colt SAA sold, west of the Mississppi, for about $15. A pair of bench-made boots would run you abt $25. A good hat would cost around $12.50. You patched & made do because that $40 per mo. didn't go far. If you were a typical cowboy, you probably blew half of it if not all of it every mo. on a payday spree.
On the other hand, if you were a townsman--business owner, banker, lawyer, doctor--you didn't have to patch & make do. Your clothes would look a lot nicer & there'd be no patches or worn spots on them.
Yes,that is a problem in the re enacting community.Working wear in that period was mended until it reached a point of no return and many now dress like a cowboy in new glad rags on payday!
I have a slightly different problem as I tailor mostly townie wear.I show my clients accurate period materials and cut and invariably many still lean toward the Hollywood old west look.I made a three piece suit that was a very accurate copy of one worn by Ben Thompson .It's a subtle plaid Chesterfield frock suit and many have told me the material was too modern!
BBB has an article in TW which pertains; in his case he is referring to long hair after the Civil War. As for clothes, the dresses and shirts for working stiffs, both urban and rural that were common in North America in the 1930s were made from flour bags, torn pack covers or tents (canvas or heavy cotton). Chaps and footwear were often made of moose, elk or bull hide. Those "dirty thirties" folks where only doing what their ancestors had taught them from the last part of the 19th century.
Repair work? Certainly! One needs boots to work cattle on horseback and, as they are half a month's pay, as CF points out, they get repaired a great deal.
As is the case today, agricultural workers didn't get paid as much as most other employment, but then, everything is relative. Bank tellers and store clerks don't get paid much in today's world either.
A lot of folks also re purposed dad's old clothing by taking it apart and making things for the younger members of the family.There was also a thriving trade in used clothing.Very often this was the only way for people of limited means to acquire better quality material.Also common was taking an item apart and turning it inside out so that sun faded surfaces could be hidden.
One can see clothing made from re purposed home decorating fabrics-old table covers and curtains for instance.It made for some very peculiar looking out of scale patterns and colors in shirts.
By the same token much decent quality garment cottons and woolens were widely available(far more so than today) at decent prices so lots of choices were at hand for those of lower middle class means.The really poor had a much rougher time of it.
For a long time large flolursa
Since I don't know how to delete one of these, I'll put up what I intended to put up.
As late as the 1950s the fabric on 50-lb sacks of flour was colored & had patterns in it. The lady chose the large sacks carefully, looking for a color that went well for her & a pattern she liked, because once the sack was emptied, the paper label removed, & the sack washed, it would become a new dress for her or a daughter or shirts for her husband or a son. She also saved the twine that closed the top of the sack. She could use it to crochet a decorative collar & decorative cuffs for a dress. 10 & 20-lb sacks were usually white & had the flour mill's trademark stamped on them. They were recycled into underwear.
Unless a farmer or rancher was extremely wealthy, that family was frugal. Nothing was thrown away that could be repaired or re-used. In 1954 I was at a 'social' in Briggs, Texas--most of Briggs was staunchly Baptist, so they had 'socials' rather than dances--& there was a very pretty 13-year-old rancher's daughter in whom this 14-year-old lad was very interested. She was wearing a blouse & full skirt that may well have been made from flour sacks, tho I don't know that for a fact. I do know her slip was made from a flour sack because a gust of wind blew her skirt up and her slip had 'Lightcrust Flour' printed on it.
Her family wasn't 'po' folks.' Their ranch was abt 2500 acres & had 3 springs on it, which means they had water which didn't have to be drawn from a well by a windmill. They weren't running but abt 100 head of mother cows because of the drought--'54 was the worst year of the 'big drought' of the '50s that began in '50 & finally broke in '57--but they were a long way from broke.
I'm taking a break right now from un-packing from my weekend trip and I will say a lot of folks do tend to look like they just came out of a dry goods store.
For myself I wear the clothes on a regular basis, one of the perks of the job. The stuff good enough to wear to work does not get worn at events, I wear the old patched stuff that won't do for work. As the camp cook I'm hard on clothes anyway, so I keep a bin downstairs that I toss the stuff that needs mending. I've got a pair of pants from this weekend that needs some work, something to do when I watch TV.
There are a lot of photos of the period that show working stiffs with patched clothing, I'll see if I can dig some out later. In fact one of my projects before work is to get a razor and clean up this mess that has been growing since the middle of June down to size, it's gotten to be a ragged beard rather than an unshaved face.
I believe "large flolursa" were those monster aliens from "Cowboys and Aliens." :)
For days I was being good and not touching this one but I'm pleased to see someone did.I understand though that large flolursas are really hard to clean.
As you know I'm fascinated with the history of word origins.Flolursa suggests a number of intriguing possibilities:
A name ,either descriptive or proper
A .Flo Lursa,a diner waitress in Taos,N.M.
B.FLOLURSA THE BOLD,CONAN THE BARBARIAN'S new squeeze.
C. An object,such as when Matt Dillon says"Miss Kitty,I really have a hankerin' for your large flolursas!"For those of you who have their minds in the gutter old Matt was referring to her justly famous version of Mexican flapjacks delicately shaped in the form of a flower.
D. Part of a vaquero costume as in he wore spurs with really large flolursas.
E. A particularly inaccessible part under the hood of my uncle Edwin's 1946 DeSoto.
F.A female grizzly bear.One may ponder whether this is of major or minor significance.
G. Those little oval holes in the fenders of aunt Nelly's 1950 Buick.
I'm sure other historical connections will come to mind as research is ongoing.
Your possibility C. really made me laugh out loud. My mind wasn't as low as the gutter, but just about chest high.
Choice F. sounds quite possible as it combines the female name "Flo" with the word "ursa" for bear. And the "L" between them could stand for either "large" or "little" (major or minor).
Another connection did come to my mind, as you predicted, but this one suggests that my mind is in the toilet, rather than the gutter. "Flolursa" may derive from "flow looser," which may have been a 19th Century cure for constipation!
I was hoping someone would figure out the humor logic of option F .and I'm glad that you did, Murray.Yes, a 19th century patent medicine is good and brings us back(in a loose way,all double meaning intended)to the subject of being clean.