For Greenheron whose interest in the sartorial matters is the motivation and impetus for this thumbnail discourse and mini concert about wardrobe:
South Carolina established its slave code in 1712, under its provisions,
no slave was allowed to work for pay; plant corn, peas, or rice; keep hogs, cattle, or horses; own or operate a boat; or buy, sell, or wear clothes finer than "Negro cloth.”
In Virginia the most common practice was to distribute clothes in twice-a-year allotments, with liveried (uniformed) and domestic slaves receiving higher-quality clothing than field slaves, who wore the plainest and coarsest clothing.
An anectdote about my attire:
Shortly after leaving the University of Hartford, where I had taught Law and Public Policy at the academic rank of Associate Professor for several years, I took a position in the Connecticut Treasury Department as Director of the Division of Special Funds and Unclaimed Property.
My executive and managerial responsibilities entailed overseeing the day to day operations of the Division and supervising the employees of the units that comprised it.
On my first day, I strode into the office wearing one of the suits I had grown accustomed to wearing while a classroom professor on campus.
Please note that I was the only black person who had acheived such rank and status in the State Treasury Department, even though the, newly elected State Treasurer was also a black man from New Haven, Henry (Hank) Parker. He also was a "first"....
When I took the seat at my desk, one of my subordinates, a young white fellow in his late 20's or early 30's approached me and asked:
"What are you all dessed up for?"
My reply was:
"I'm really not sure, so why don't you have a seat and tell me..."