Hoop skirts and crinolines make me so excited I get the wiggles. I was in ninth grade the first time I read Gone With The Wind. Scarlett O’Hara, while being a debatably lovable character in my mind, has inspired my absolute love of the 1860s, crinolines, hoops, and costume history ever since that first time I read the book. It only took once.
Years later, I am fascinated by costume, material, and social history. I get excited about the entire 19th century–but the only period that really gives me the wiggles remains the 1860s. There’s just something about women resembling giant moving cupcakes that is fascinating and inspiring.
There is something very dreamy about imagining the world these huge constructions moved through. The world had to adapt to these gowns: chairs for ladies had no arms and doors were wider to accommodate their skirts. Can you imagine wearing clothing five feet across? That’s two feet too wide to fit through a modern door! How does a person cope with that all day every day? Sometimes I can envision it and sometimes it just seems impossible. But these questions just remind me that THIS is why the 1860s are particularly fascinating to me.
Gone With The Wind is definitely a controversial story. I found this report to be an interesting and factual discussion of its merits and faults. It clearly states why it is such a classic story and how it glosses over reality. This blog also has an interesting post about Gone With The Wind, discussing if it is a “great American novel.”
As a side note, I love both the book and movie versions of Gone With The Wind. While both are moving, sweeping epics, the book has much more depth and character exploration than the movie. Thus, I encourage you to read Gone With The Wind for yourself and to be inspired by history and by skirts with a circumference of 124″!
- The American civil war re-enactment society | Diane Roberts (guardian.co.uk)