A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to be one of the Belles of the Ball — or maybe I should say Bell of the Ball! I was at the National Conference for AICP in Atlanta, Georgia, and since I was one of the past officers and also a sucker who can’t say ‘no’ when asked to volunteer for something — I got to go to a local costume shop and pick out my ball gown for the gala event. It was a Southern Theme and everyone was dressed as Southern Ladies and Gentlemen. When else was I going to get the chance to wear a HUGE hoop, lace gloves and carry a fan around with me all evening!
I now realize why women of that age had to take a nap during the afternoon and were considered ‘delicate’ — you were worn out from carrying all that darn material around with you – not to mention trying to maneuver around obstacles – and it is next to impossible to sit down – so you have to stand all of the time! These women were TIRED! Scarlet O’Hara was skinny because she did a Biggest Loser workout every time she took a step — not to mention dancing! The dresses of that era were made with heavy tapestry type material — hence, why Scarlet thought it was perfectly acceptable to make a dress out of those green velvet curtains – those women were tough!
The one good thing about wearing those hoop skirts is that no one had a clue how big anyone else’s butt was! Having been called ‘hippy‘ my entire life (and not because I was a teenager during the early sixties) – it was pure joy to see even the skinny women of the group look just as ‘hippy’ as I did! Again — you had to be a sturdy woman to survive wearing those dresses to a ball and dancing with every beau in the place!