For those of you who have the off-white outfits consisting of the split skirts & white blouses where did you find them?

Linda Dibenedetto

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Hi Tobi, we are in Mancos, Colorado, and I can be contacted by phone at 970-560-3070 (although I do not know the US Country Code), by mail at 12744 Road 38, Mancos, Colorado, USA 81328, or by email at I still have yet to come up with an "authentic" or original photo of a white Damas dress, and I am still curious as to why. I am equally curious about what is traditionally worn under the skirt - we antebellum riders are required to wear pantalettes.

And thanks, I have ridden my own rebuilt antique sidesaddles (my first rebuild was originally made in 1845, and I rode it until the early nineties, when I sold it) and have designed and made my own costumes since 1983, so I think that does kind of qualify as experience. I was fortunate to have been stationed in a part of the US that afforded me access to tons of research material about our pre-civil war period. Can't tell you how many hours were spent crawling around stacks of antique fashion magazines and some salvaged period clothing stores, but the passion was kindled by an invitation to become an "observer" at our small town civil war re-enactment group's skirmishes. An oddity of the American Civil War was that towns people would ride or take carriages and picnics to the early battle fields much like a football game and observe the actual battlefield during the skirmishes. The early phases of the war were, um, quite "civilized". The re-enactment groups in the US must total in the millions of historic zealots, and I guess I am still on that fringe in my passion for historical correctness, but I maintain an eye for safety for the rider.

Unfortunately, I do not yet have a website yet. I recently retired from my "regular" job, and have been remodelling our new house, as well as taking care of our six horses and living alone while waiting for my husband's retirement from a municipal law enforcement job in Nevada this July. However, you can probably still have a look at proofs online at Just find the site, follow the prompts - "view my proofs", go to Denver Celebration July 2009, and then scroll down to our names - Chris and Dimitri Schlotter. You can see my latest black aside habit and my black Tennessee Walking Horse Stallion. All the chaps we wear are also mine. Marie Lanier is also wearing one of my aside creations - a hunter green chenille skirt and burnout hunter/old gold chenile and satin reversible jacket. Unfortunately, she left her blouse at home and the one she is wearing is not original to the outfit. She should be riding a palomino American Gaited Mule. I made several of her western vests as well. You might also peruse the photos for Amanda Speaker, who is the trainer I mentioned in my original comment. She was also in the aside class, but still struggling to upgrade her aside attire. She is a very tall woman, like me and has trouble getting fitted. But as a young mother of two, I haven't yet convinced her how easy on the pocket book I can be. And she just doesn't seem certain if she wants to go with traditional Peruvian, Antebellum, Edwardian, or more modern. I think her,and your options are a bit more open than ours. The Tennessee Walking Horse was developed in the pre-civil war south as a plantation owner's mount, so the history sort of flows from that periodand even though I have lost classes to some ladies in rented bosom bearing ruffled tulle dance dresses, pretending to ride aside, I chalk it up to naivite on the part of the judge.

Thanks for the response, I thought maybe I had killed the stream. I was really hoping for someone to guide me to the true Damas dress, I am still going to convince Amanda to let me fit her. PS, I have been following a saddle maker's offerings on EBAY - he is turning out some exquisitely ornate sidesaddles specifically designed for Peruvian Folks. They are pricey, but not completely out of reach, you might check him out, just plug in "sidesaddle" at the EBAY search engine. Also beware - some of the modern english sidesaddles on ebay are cheaply made/poorly balanced Indian reproductions. You can get seriously stung.
I am interested in knowing more. Do you have a catalog, pictures etc.
Hi Linda, Again, sorry no catalog, I am just getting started doing clothing and chaps for the general public, and I am terrible at loading photos onto the internet. I do have tons of photos and would be happy to fax several to you if you can receive them that way, or will copy and mail them snail mail if that works better. I am assuming that you are primarily interested in side saddle dresses? If you will give me a email address, I may be able to immediately forward a photo taken by a friend - Veryl Goodnight - in front of her gallery at a little local parade last summer. Veryl is the sculpture artist who did the monument given by Presidents Reagan and Bush to the Berliners after the wall was torn down. She is very much into western style art and recently did a monument of an 1880s woman in period costume. I am hoping for a website soon, but need to get permission from several photographers to use their professional pictures in the site. It is hard rounding up some twenty years of show photogs for their blessing. Dimitri
Okay, I now have a handle on the traditional DAMAS dress, and I know how to adhere to tradition and sort of give it a sophisticated look. This is so cool, and so easy compared to a full antebellum habit. Someone is just going to have to trust me enough to make this happen. God, hire me now, before I start charging and arm and a leg. I also have Las Vegas costumer/hatter friends, so I can get appropriate hats at a better cost. Locally, Nathan's is the go to custom hatter, but plan on spending about a $1000 for a great hat, although it would be one you could wear forever with the correct care. I do hand milnery to make the hat convertible from traditional classes to sidesaddle/split skirt girlie riding. Sorry ladies, this is exciting. D
I am in as I really am going to need a Damas dress. Everyone is still talking about your wonderful dress from the Celebration show! I will keep in touch with you on this.
Heh Amanda, do I have your address on anything? I have a couple of sketches, and have got a really pretty, heavy, tailored white diamond edged eyelet that should look amazing and still adhere to the heavy white fabric look on the skirt edge. Found a couple more with straight edges that match - one with a tiny floral pattern down the center, and slimmer version with only cutout dots down the center that I could use on the tiny bodice ruffle. It would be very understated, but just enough to set off the entire outfit. Thought I would try weaving the eyelet with a thin - 1/8" gold braid to give it a richer look.


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