1800s Dresses

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I’m going to give you a (mercifully) brief rundown of some of the dresses I have worn through the years. Aunt Rebecca started it off with this very scratchy, fancy red Christmas dress when I was six years old. It made me itch all over. I splattered mud all over it, and Auntie was not happy at all. Thankfully, I only had to wear it Christmas Eve when we went to services and then again on Christmas Day. By the next Christmas, I had outgrown it and Mother told Aunt Rebecca she had already had a holiday dress made for me. Yippee!

Aunt Rebecca could never leave me alone regarding fancy clothes. For my eleventh birthday, she arrived on the ranch (unexpectedly) with this strange greenish outfit. I wore it to church only, even though Auntie insisted that all high-born children wore such outfits to school. It would remind me to behave myself (she was right about that). I had to wear this thing the week after I knocked Virginia to the ground. It certainly did remind me to act like a lady! (At least Mother did not make me wear the hat.)

Later, at my quincenera (age 15) birthday, after the cattle drive, I was more than happy to don a pretty dress (after weeks living in the dust). It was really pretty, but Cory and I collided, and guess what? He spilled my punch. But all was not lost. The red punch blended in so you could barely tell. But I am not fond of dresses that reach to your ankles.

The gown I really liked was made for Chad and Ellie’s fancy engagement party during the spring of 1885 at the Fresno House, the fanciest hotel in the valley. Sapphire blue, everybody said it matched my eyes. I would not have minded keeping that dress, but alas! Tiny glass splinters ripped the sleeves after Johnny Wilson nudged my elbow, spilling coffee down my bodice and skirt. Ooh! A double whammy! So, I wore that dress only once.

Another dress I have worn only once is my wedding dress. Satin, without ruffles and lace, it truly is magnificent. It’s one of the times when I am very grateful that my family could afford a white wedding dress. Most brides in the 1800s wore dark colors–red, purple, blue–so they could wear the dress again sometime. It would be the height of waste to wear a dress only once. If the girl was lucky enough to be married in white, then after the wedding she dyed the dress a different, more practical color. Ummm, I don’t intend to follow that tradition.

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

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