The Mary Dickinson store has an impressive selection of hats for ladies. They have numerous styles that can be personalized with a variety of ribbons. The prices range from $18 for a plan straw hat up to $70 for a truly personalized and highly ornamented hat. If it is a blustery day, you can also pick up some hat pins ($3-$5) here, which were invaluable to me over the weekend. You can also find a variety of different caps ($12-$20) here (to be accurate, you should always wear a cap, even under your hat). There are different styles, so make sure you try on different types to find the one that suits you.
Probably the most interesting to me was the different sewing notions that you could purchase in the shop. I picked up a turned wood needle case for $1.25, which I thought was a great buy. They also had some beautiful bone sewing accessories (I loved the bone thimbles) and nice scissors and chatelaines. You can also pick up various styles of colonial jewelry, which beckoned me. I resisted, however, because the woman I portray would not have been able to afford such fine decorations (and, frankly, neither can I!)
Lastly, there are the clothes themselves. Now, most of this stuff is hand-finished, so be prepared to pay for it. Here you can pick up a complete colonial wardrobe, but it will be basic stuff (you aren’t going to find a silk ballgown here). This stuff was a little pricey for my taste, but I make most of my own period clothes. You can get a pocket for $19 and a shift (or chemise) for $42. I didn’t even look at the other stuff because I didn’t need it, but they did have gowns in the back that were somewhere around $300.
Mary Dickinson’s is located right on Duke of Gloucester Street. Just hang a right after palace green and you will see her sign hanging up. The shopkeepers were very helpful, too!
by Taylor Shelby
Charleston, South Carolina
June 29, 2005
From journal Occupied Colonial Williamsburg - Under the Redcoat