A handy guide of fashion tips, taken from the examples, experiences, and mistakes of some of the ladies of period drama.
#1. If the Yankees have ravaged your home and taken all your clothing, and you find yourself in a situation where it is very important that you go to Atlanta looking like a queen in order to impress a certain gentleman who may be able to help you pay the taxes on your plantation, it may be neccessary to make a dress for yourself out of your mother's drapes. Yes, even if Mammy forbids it. It's necessary.
However, putting chicken feet on your hat is taking it a bit too far. I don't care how desperate you are; that's just weird.
#2. Please make sure that your dress fits you properly before wearing it out in public. We don't want your sleeves to fall off your shoulders and possibly cause a scene.
On that note, if your sleeves should happen to accidentally slide off your shoulders, PULL THEM BACK UP. NOW.
#3. When you are so kind and sweet and loving and selfless, no one really cares if you only have one dress.
#4. By the time you get to be Mrs. Jamieson's age, you're a little too old to be doing the dress-like-your-doll thing. Or, in this case, your purse dog.
#5. If you've singed the back of your dress as a result of standing too close too the fire and happen to be blessed with three sisters, it would be better to ask to borrow one of their dresses than to wear your ruined one to the ball and stand with your back to the wall the entire time. It looks awfully suspicious, and besides, you're bound to be found out eventually.
#7. If you are a young lady of considerable social standing and reasonable means, please try to remember what era you live it and dress (more or less) accordingly. For instance, if you live in the Regency period, don't go waltzing about wearing Georgian styles of decades past; people will think you are either very poor or else woefully behind the times, and that will never do in polite society.
|Look at that. They're all wearing Georgian styles, except for Jane.|
However, if you are very poor and do not posess the means to keep up with the fashions of the day, we understand completely. On the other hand, a grown woman of considerable means and social standing is expected to dress the part. We advise you to comply, our instructions should be clear, remember there are worse things than a....um, nevermind.
(There are exceptions to this rule: if, for instance, you live in the 21st century and you have always admired the fashions of the past, fondly wishing you could dress like that...go for it. :-P)
#8. Hats are essential to making dramatic impressions, whatever the circumstances, and have been known to help considerably in arranging meetings with prisoners. Never underestimate the power of a dramatic hat.
And besides that, they're just plain awesome. See what we mean?
#9. There is no such thing as too much volume when it comes to hoopskirts. True, it may be close to impssible to fit through the door with a skirt like that, but we all must make sacrifices for the sake of fashion. And besides, I think we are all in agreement that it looks AMAZING, are we not?
#10. And speaking of not being able to fit through the door: puffed sleeves are not very practical and are often a topic of controversy, but even the most practical of people can be brought to see that there is no harm in letting a young girl indulge in "ridiculous frills and furbelows" once in a while. After all, it is Christmas, Marilla.
#11. Ladies can wear cravats too! (Especially if your husband is an expert on them.)