The women during the Civil War had to keep things going at home while the men were away fighting, and they had to go to great lengths sometimes to do this.I am sure that all of you are familiar with Scarlett O’Hara and her “hi jinks”. Who could ever forget the beautiful gowns she wore, prior to and after the War?
Ah the styles. We bow to them today, but at least we don’t have to worry about the hoop skirts, the corsets and the evening gowns that kept the men at a distance most of the time! There was always the danger of fire too so they had to beware standing too close to the hearth.
The feemale nurses during the war did not wear hoops under their dresses for safety reasons and for hospital regulations, according to wikipedia.
All the women wore corsets however – ugh, I am glad I did not live back then. The term “loose women” comes from the allusion to “loosening one’s stays” (or corsets), indicating a lack of morality. Sarah Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, considered a women’s clothing to be: “an effective indication of her morality, and the corset was a requisite part of that appearance.”
Remember how bedraggled poor Scarlett looked by the time she got her entourage back to Tara? No hoop skirts for her then, and I feel sure she had likely ditched the corset as well, when she declared she would “never be hungry again”!!!