I think Richard answered the quesiton of dress colour a couple of days ago.
This being a subject of interest to me, I will reinterate his reply.
Fabric and dress colours, on the frontier or in the city, were as diverse in
1812 (or 1750) as they are in 1999-- perhaps except for day glo, though some
dye baths came close. My usual instructions to individuals choosing civillian
clothing is to examine their personal tastes-- are you conservative, muted in
dress or fashinable and flamboyant? Personal taste dictated the style of dress
in the same manner in the early 19th century. Though we only have a small
cross section of society's clothes to examine, persons (even those of wealth)
wore garments of bright hues and fashionable cut as well as conservative
garments of drab colours and utilitarian fabric-- depending on the location of
their residence, the activity for which the garment was made, and their age
and station. Newlywed women often had conservative work clothes in their
stores and women of wealth and finery (and of advanced age) would sometines
wear more avant guarde styles. No concrete answer exists as to the types of
colors available or the range of styles-- ethnic dress tends to be more
colourful, but this also is not a rule.
My favorite exaples of colourful clothing come from native dress-- while
modern mentality suggests that one would want to blend with the woods, natives
adorned themselves in bright colours and (rather loud) bells to draw attention
to themselves in an otherwise chromatically challenged landscape.
Civillian dress is proboable the most difficult to reproduce effectively. The
nuances of uniforming are often apparent in extant examples, portraits, and
regulations. The variability of common or middlin' dress precludes any
simplistic rule of construction. And the trinkets and adornements (even the
wide array of fasteners) often exceeds available resources and skills.
The greatest barriers to relistic civillian attire, in my estimation, include:
-inappropriate fabric choices
-inappropriate foundation garments
-incorrect fit or patterned garments
-inappropriate attire for station or activity
-and incomplete attire (missing the integral every day pieces of clothing that
would complete a civillian's outfit-- wallet, cap, waistcoat, stockings, good
shoes, pockets (the early 19th century variety))
My original vein was in regards to legislating appropriate uniforms through
the U.G.. As a female in line, I often regret the lack of attention many fine
military units pay to the civillians (particularly women) in their complement.