Once Upon a Time Wednesday: Prairie Dress

Gosh, I can’t believe it’s been a week since I’ve posted. And I was doing better, too. Sorry y’all. But didn’t I tell you that having at least one scheduled theme post would help me? If it weren’t for today been Wednesday and Imustpostonceuponatime, maybe it would be another week before I posted. I can’t believe I almost forgot, too, because I got the photos for today’s post from my mom last week…

Annnnd… enter The Prairie Dress. I have always had a thing for Fashion. Always. When I was a bitty baby, not yet walking, we were visiting my grandparents and I disappeared. My mom found me in my grandma’s closet, sucking my thumb and cooing as I stroked her long dresses hanging down.

I have also always loved history. Maybe it’s my love of people and maybe it’s having grown up the daughter of a history major. Maybe it’s the opportunity I had of being taught in such a way that it came alive (thank you Mom!). Most likely a combo of all three. But anyway… my connection with history has always included a special fascination with what people wore during each time period.

When I was five-and-a-half, I got my first (of four) American Girls dolls, Kirsten (way back when there were only 3 dolls – and, hey, why is the Kirsten doll retired?). I loved being read the Little House books over and over. I was pretty sure I wanted to travel west in a covered wagon. Only problem was we lived in Oregon, so we actually ended up traveling east. In a minivan. But that’s another story.

I’m not sure how it came about, but when I was six my mom made me a prairie dress, complete with bonnet, pinafore, and eyelet-trimmed pantaloons. It was like my dream dress. I wanted to wear it EVERWHERE. And, honestly, I did. I probably wore it to church. The picture above was taken at the historical Carter plantation in Virginia. I do remember being a little worried about wearing it there. Not for the attention factor, but simply because I knew that it dated a good 80-90 years later than the time period of the plantation. I didn’t want people to think that I was ignorant of my historical inaccuracy. I think my mom convinced me that it wasn’t a travesty and lightening wouldn’t strike if I wore a late 1800s outfit to a colonial plantation.

I have one more photo to share of me in the The Prairie Dress. And oh, is it a good one!

This, my friends is a genuine, photographic specimen of what is known as The Princess Smile. I was convinced that princesses (and all other noteworthy females) smiled with this cheesy, lethargic-eyed, lip-pursed half-smile. It seemed elegant and somewhat tragic. Certainly dreamy. I’m sure Anne Shirley would understand.

The truth is… I would gladly wear historical costumes most days. Unfortunately, though, I’m now 26 and aware of social conventions. But I do let vintage wear take a place in my wardrobe, mixed with more modern pieces (er, or not). And give me any opportunity to dress up… I’ll be there. Perhaps one of my next posts should be about my Regency ball gown… (speaking of which, mom – will you send it to me?)



2 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time Wednesday: Prairie Dress

  1. this is my favorite post of yours EVER πŸ™‚ we are so the same!!! girl, my first American Girl doll was Kirsten too (i didnt know she was retired..so sad!) I LOVE your prairie dress πŸ™‚ My mom had made me one too and I loved reading Little House books and watching the shows πŸ™‚ Too bad we can’t wear calico and bonnets now πŸ™‚

    you’re so sweet and i’m thankful for you friend!

  2. Pingback: Once Upon a Time: Books! | Charlie + Lu

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