Thursday, March 10, 2016

Dresses I've Wished For

 by Shanna Hatfield

If I'm not wearing jeans and boots, I love to dress up. Yes, my friends think I'm weird, but what can I say... I totally am.

But I love dresses. Adore them, even.

This affection started way back in my childhood. Over the years, there have been any number of dresses that have left me completely enchanted.

Remember the dress Mary Poppins wore when she and Bert and the kids took a jolly holiday to the country?

The first time I saw this frothy white confection with the red accents and the fantastic red waist, I wanted it. I longed for it. I dreamed about it. I wanted the entire outfit, minus the parasol. It seemed trifling in comparison to this wonderful amazing dress, hat, and shoes.

Not long after my obsession for Mary’s dress calmed down, I saw Gone with the Wind. Oh, how I wanted to have Scarlett’s wardrobe. But more than anything, I wanted one dress in particular:

This beauty.

It may have been because of the color. It could have been because her waist looked so tiny and perfect in it and at that time mine was a whopping 19 1/2 inches (oh, how much I miss those days). Or maybe it was because she seemed so sassy and determined and I wanted to be like her.
Whatever the reason, I wanted this dress with a longing that went beyond description.

There have been many dress obsessions since the days of my teen years when all this longing began. Like the ice-blue Jessica McClintock dress I wanted my junior year. I tried it on multiple times, begged and pleaded with my mother, trying to rationalize why I needed a $200 dress to wear once and finally resigned myself to the fact that some girl luckier than me would be enjoying the beautiful creation.

My senior year, I fell in love with a mermaid style dress that was quite similar, in fact, to the bombshell design Rosemary Clooney wore in White Christmas.

She looked amazing. I loved every single thing about this dress from the dramatic neckline to fun mermaid skirt.

From there, my interest journeyed back several decades to  leg o'mutton sleeves.

I’m was so fascinated by them, in fact, I altered my wedding dress pattern to include the poufy design.

I love the beautiful details of gowns from the 1890s, like the one shown above.

 I've also got a place in my heart for Gibson Girl styles and the drawings of Charles Dana Gibson.

The women looked so undeniably feminine. Their clothes – they intrigue me so.

Gibson Girl was the first national beauty standard for American women. Her neck was thin and her hair piled high upon her head in the contemporary bouffant, pompadour, and chignon ("waterfall of curls") fashions. The statuesque, narrow-waisted ideal feminine figure was portrayed as being at ease and stylish.

Speaking of stylish,  who wouldn’t want to be dressed in Rose’s wardrobe from Titanic.

I’ve always wanted a hat that could take somebody out from three-feet away.

Seriously, though, I love the look and style of the Edwardian era. It's by far my favorite.
The clothes are so pretty...

So elegant...

And make me wish I had the opportunity to wear such amazing fashions.

I keep thinking I’ll get over my obsession with beautiful clothes. So far, it hasn’t happened. While I continue dreaming of some day attending a real ball, I'm hosting an online version instead.

I hope you'll join me April 7 for the second annual Petticoat Ball on Facebook.  In addition to games, giveaways, guest authors and oodles of fun, you can share a picture of the gown you would wear to the ball if it was something you could attend in person. One lucky winner will receive a $10 gift card and be named "Queen of the Ball."

To enter, just share the photo of your gown here:

And gents are welcome to post their formal wear, too!

Hope to see you at the ball! (I'm still "shopping" for my dress!).


USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic  is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

 Find Shanna’s books at:
 Shanna loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at:


  1. I'm with you Shanna! Love the Edwardian period and the Gibson Girl look too. If I could make my very "fine" hair stay up in a style like that, I would probably grow it out long again.

    1. Oh, Kathryn - I have uncooperative hair, too! Thanks for stopping by today!

  2. Couldn't have said it better. I'm lucky, for I get to 'play' dress up when I do shows. Knew being an actor had some advantages, plus when I do stand alone historic characters...heaven for the costumes.Loved the trip down clothing memory lane.And the ball sounds like a winner. Doris/Angela

    1. How super fun for you! So awesome you get to play dress up! :)

  3. Love your post-I can get you a copy of the Bar-B-Que Dress! Its been reproduced and available through one of my vendors. Contact me at

  4. Thanks for the info, Dianne, and for stopping by today! :)