Friday, October 15, 2010

Doppelganger Dresses, Part 7: Scarlett's White Ruffled Dress

Doppelganger Dresses returns from a small foray into accessories and back to our main focus--that's right, dresses! And this week we're highlighting one of my favorite dresses from Gone with the Wind, the white ruffled dress that Scarlett wears in the opening scene. It's such a great 'statement' dress, conveying volumes about Scarlett's pampered existence and coquettish personality from the very first moments of the film. I love it because it's so full and flouncy. It's also a familiar find in fashion plates.

After the jump, you'll find two period styles that resemble Scarlett's white ruffled frock. One exception to note, though: both of our look-a-like dresses are long-sleeved. Day dresses were universally long-sleeved in the 1860s. But don't let the discrepancy between history and Hollywood keep you from enjoying the fashion plates.  

And as always, we welcome your thoughts. Which one looks more like Scarlett's dress to you? Let us know in the comments. 

White dress, August 1862. Godey's Lady's Book.
A close up of the dress.
Description from Godey's Lady's Book: White muslin dress, with five embroidered flounces. Corsage high, and made with a yoke; sleeves only reaching the elbow, and the undersleeve just made sufficiently wide to pass the hand through. The neck of  the dress is finished with a box-plaited ruff. Green ribbon sash, with fringed ends. Belgian straw hat, trimmed with green ribbons and roses.

White dress, 1861. Petit courrier des dames.

Screenshots of Scarlett's white ruffled dress in Gone with the Wind.

Publicity still of Scarlett's white ruffled dress in Gone with the Wind.


  1. I think the white dress with the pink looks a lot like the one in the movie, but I am also leaning toward the one with the green sash too.

  2. I think the green sash one resemble Scarletts the most. Thanks once again for your wonderfull research.

    I do like the dress, however... As I remember it in the book Scarletts opening dress is the sprinkled green dress she wears to the Wilkes the next day as well isn't it. That akways bugged me... ;)

    Looking at the topmost fashion plate... the one to the right seems to me like somethin Miss Melly would wear... Sweet and fresh!

    And the cape coat in the last one is also really nice...

    Thank you ladies for keeping this blog fresh with new material at an amazing pace

  3. I think Scarlett would like the one the the green sash!! Both are good, though!

    Yes, in the book, when Scarlett is talking with the Tarleton Twins, it is the green sprigged muslin dress that she is wearing -- remember it was late afternoon, and that was an afternoon dress. I love when she is getting ready for the barbeque in the book, going through her dresses and deciding she will wear the "afternoon dress", even though Mammy admonishes her that she should "not show her bosoms before 3:00".

  4. Can I split the difference? For most resembling the dress in the movie, I like the top portion of the green-sashed dress, and the bottom portion of the pink-sashed dress.

  5. Great job! I love them! I vote for the second dress, the bodice also resembles the dress from the film. But I feel the novel's Scarlett, obsessed with green, would've been attracted to the first dress.
    Yes Merovia, I really like the blue coat too. Do you mean the floral dress on the far right? If you mean the blue trimmed one, I think it would be more Careen's style. I don't know if Melanie's dresses were ever too embellished. I get the idea she erred toward the side of simple (but I may be wrong). The only clues we get to Melly's wardrobe is that she wore a grey organdie dress to the barbecue and a yellow straw hat with cherry coloured ribbons and gold fringed earrings. She adopted matronly attire virtually immediately, she owned a gold chain, and Scarlett considered her post-war wardrobe tacky. I think Suellen would have liked the pink floral one to the left. I the girls' dresses would've been copied from the same fashion plates.
    Beth, I agree with you. That scene where she is contemplating what to wear is one of my favourites in the whole novel. Scarlett is so psycho! Hmmm, shall I wear the pink one? No, I wore it last summer and the bitch might comment on it. Should I wear the green plaid one? It is my favourite. No, it has a grease stain on it and even if I pin my garnet brooch over it, the bitch might have sharp eyes. Shall I wear the black one with the pretty lace collar? No it makes me look 100! I can't look like an old crow next that youtful bitch! Shall I wear that pretty lavender frock? No, it makes me look like a child! I can't look like a little girl next to that bitch!
    I know some people don't approve of the short sleeves on this dress, but remember, in the novel she was wearing a short sleeved, off-the shoulder gown at an appropriate time. So in reality it was quite permissable for her to have had her arms bare (I mean in the film version). She was dressed for callers and it was almost sunset. Scarlett blackmailed Mammy, she knew there wouldn't be time for Ellen to make her change, so presumably Ellen did see her and it wasn't such a sin that she couldn't possibly go out in such a state. I do think Scarlett would've had her shawl wrapped fairly tightly about her, or worn a light coat or cloak that would've been hung up when they got to Twelve Oaks, which MM forgot to mention!
    I think the dress with the black bodice is quite risque and revealing and it reminds me of a dress worn by Anna in The King and I. Does anyone know who did the costumes for that film?

  6. Does anyone know what the buckle on the belt is? It looks like plastic.
    And I don't know if anyone else noticed, but she is wearing the same brooch in a later widow scene.
    Oh, and what about this? In the final scene they didn't use in the movie, save a silhouette, when Scarlett goes back to Tara in her green dress with her chest out, she is holding onto the same bonnet she wore to the barbecue and wore upside down when she set out to find Dr Meade. I mean, come on, twelve years had passed and a war and reconstruction, and now she was rich (and still in mourning) and here she is holding onto a skungy battered old thing she wore when she was a girl? I don't think so.

  7. The hat she wore to find doctor Meade wasn't the same as the barbecue hat. It was similar, but it didn't have a crown and I don't think the brim was as wide, nor the ribbons.

    Compare, s'il vous plait:

    And in the final pullback shot, it is the second hat that she is holding. Of course, I'm sure we're meant to assume that she had purchased another large hat in the interim.

  8. I think the white dress with the lavender sash (in the picture above the still shots from the movie) looks the most like Scarlett's white ruffled dress. That dress of hers was one of my favorites from the movie too.

  9. It used to bug me that Scarlett wore different dresses in the opening scene and the barbeque scene, but I'm so greedy when it comes to the costumes in the movie that it doesn't annoy me anymore because this way, it's one more costume for me to drool over.

  10. I also love the scene in the book when Scarlett is trying on dresses. I love getting a glimpse into the way her mind works, her machinations, etc.--even though it's rather pitiful once we meet Melanie and realize she's not at all as Scarlett imagines her to be.

  11. I suppose I'll have to concede Andrew. Though what is going on with the hat she wears to the depot? Is it on upside down? Because when the wind blows it, it looks weird, and she has to hold it down. I actually thought it was the same hat because I thought it was intentional, like in Sex and the City - Carrie's fur coat that appears regularly throughout the series. I thought maybe it was Walter Plunkett's little detail - you know, a sign that despite everything that has taken place, she's still the same girl as she was 12 years before and she's still holding onto the same old hat with it's green velvet ribbons. That was my take anyway!

  12. I don't think they are the same hats, but yes, it is weird that she would have 2 very similar hats. And the hat she wears at the station looks weird too.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...