This past Saturday, the hubby and I went to a Southern ball in a historic home. I got to dress in a gown that made me realize exactly how lucky I am to be living today and not in the 1860s (among many other reasons, of course). But, it was quite fun to be dressed so differently. To realize that hoops are flattering, in fact. Those Victorian-era women weren't dumb. A dress with a big bell and a cinched in waist makes you appear more slender than jeans. 🙂 Who'd a thunk it?
My dress is kind of a replica of Scarlett's curtain dress, though you can't tell it from this picture. There is a cape attached to the back, which you can't see, and some gold cords that hang from it and from the sash (which had to be tied in the back because it was too small to close around the front — or I'm too wide, but we won't go there…). There is also a hat, but since I was going to a ball, I wasn't supposed to wear it.
I'm holding a fan, and I definitely needed it after dancing the Virginia Reel in a velvet dress. Whew! Oh, and I won best ladies costume, which surprised me because there were some beautiful dresses there.
Riding in a car with a hoop skirt on was quite interesting. I did learn how to sit so as not to flash folks, though. One woman at the ball, however, learned it the hard way. 😉 Let's just say I know why pantaloons were required attire under these things. If I ever decide to go back to writing historicals, I'll know firsthand what it feels like to wear hoops. And my cat found it fascinating. She liked to get under it and attack it from the inside.
Hubby was splendid as a gentleman, don't you think? His outfit was far easier to don than mine. I kind of wish men still dressed like this sometimes. I thought it was so elegant. I'm glad, though, that women don't wear hoops anymore. Can you imagine running errands in that getup? No wonder they sat around and fanned themselves all day.