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Top 3 Coordinated Couples Costumes - Southern Belle and Gentleman

Updated on August 3, 2014

Southern style

This lens will detail my three favorite looks for couples in the southern belle and southern gentleman theme category.

We love Halloween in this house. For the coming season, we have narrowed our choices to four possibilities with the old southern gentry look being the current front runner.

"Gone With the Wind" was the first romance novel I ever read. Being from the south, it held a special meaning for me. When seeing the movie, edited and on TV, shortly after reading the book, the dresses seemed to jump off the screen.

They were so beautiful with yards and yards of lace, ruffles, and huge hoops that all worked together to create wearable art.

As a young teen, I dreamed of one day getting to wear something so grand. Thank God for costume parties!

Halloween, Civil War reenactment festivals, and antebellum tours also allow for some of the few opportunities life affords a girl to get to wear something straight out of history.

Let's take a walk through fashion history in the old south, costume style.

Image credit; by Rubie's Costume Co.

Southern Belle Lolita Ball Gown Wedding Dress Style B
Southern Belle Lolita Ball Gown Wedding Dress Style B

The big three -

General southern looks we are considering:

  • Southern belle and Civil War Soldier

  • Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler

  • Antebellum not so lady like and Riverboat gambler

As with all costume looks, only half the trick is in the costume itself. The icing on the cake that takes the look over the top is the accessories. Below you will find our top selections for each category along with matching accessories to best complete the southern look, something I have dreamed of all my life.

I was born and spent many years in Vicksburg, Ms. Vicksburg is one of the historic sites of Civil War battles. As a child, I got to see reenactments, museums, antebellum home tours, and the Vicksburg National Military Park in a town that takes the authenticity of such very seriously. The costumes below, in my opinion, are some of the most authentic looking around.

Image credit;Janecosplay.

Movies are great visual inspirations for period looks. - My favorite of the era:

I like to watch movies on the period not only for the visuals, but also for the accents and mannerisms.

Gone with the Wind (70th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]
Gone with the Wind (70th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]

This is the original Hollywood classic that made the antebellum southern style into a visual image immortalized in pop culture ever since. They just don't make movies like this anymore. While it was not 100 percent true to the book, it was exceptionally close.If you want to immerse yourself in a period piece, there exists no better theatrical presentation nor visual depiction of the era.

 

Southern selection the first,

Southern belle and Civil War soldier

Softly scented magnolia breeze

Moss hanging in ancient oak trees

Honeysuckle wine steeped in thyme

Southern drawls whispering in time

Costume Accessories Gothic Black Umbrella Geisha Southern Belle Parasol Accessory
Costume Accessories Gothic Black Umbrella Geisha Southern Belle Parasol Accessory

A hint of the range of styles -

This sub category of historical fashion has a ton of range. Pre-civil war looks would be spectacular fashion displays rich in lace, ruffles, embroidery, velvets, brocades, and all manner of elegant fabric combinations.

From the point of the war onward, more choices in costumes open, especially for men. Obviously, there is the choice of Union or Confederate side uniforms, but further there are many ranks within each to consider.

On a true historical note, as the war progressed, both sides suffered fashion wise, which considering was the least of all sufferings. Cloth, thread, buttons and so forth became scarce the more the war drug on.

My history teacher brought us old photographs of a dress that was made close to the end of the war. It was full length, of course, but very plain. She said the buttons on the front had been made of acorns covered in fabric for buttons had become a luxury of the past when it was made.

Image credit; Rubie's Costume Co

One of the best Civil War era movies - There are so many drop dead period dresses in this movie.

North and South: The Complete Collection
North and South: The Complete Collection

This is a three part series. All three are wonderfully full of hoop skirted masterpieces of fashion. The story takes place on a grand and epic scale. Both sides of the conflict are well represented. A spirit of survival and hope for brotherhood permeates the relationship between the two main characters in a unique way. For hours upon hours of southern style eye candy, you will never beat this drama.

 

1.) Number one southern belle selection is... - Ironic to say the least

This dress is divine, simply stunning. Yet, the irony does not go unnoticed. This dress is one based on Mary Todd who of course married Abraham Lincoln. Obviously there exist a conflict here. The dress may be based on a northern first lady but it still is true to the time and exquisite to say the least. Ironic huh?

Deluxe Mary Todd Lincoln Civil War Era Theatrical Costume Dress, Large
Deluxe Mary Todd Lincoln Civil War Era Theatrical Costume Dress, Large

Note the attention to detail on the sleeves and the bottom of the skirt.The tiny flower patterns lend interest and color while vertical stripes provide a slimming affect.Lastly, the smallest breath of lace just below the shoulder is a perfect finishing touch.

 

Accessories to complete the look for the dress above:

The perfect accessory

Green Cameo Brooch Pin Charm Rhinestone Fashion Jewelry Necklace Pendant Compatible
Green Cameo Brooch Pin Charm Rhinestone Fashion Jewelry Necklace Pendant Compatible

This is so perfect to go with a southern belle dress. It fits in with the time perfectly.Better still, it is still very wearable today. Coming in a great color that works all year round, I love the setting for this cameo. From work to church to a

 

Antebellum style dresses.

Beauty never goes out of style.

High ranking alternative southern style selections:

I have to come down firmly on the side of the first costume, the sweet purple dress. Technically speaking, the red, white, and black number would be my first alternative choice save one thing, affordability. For the under 50.00 price point, the purple gown steals the show. If money were no option, I would be in the Mary Todd dress above, anyway.

Southern Belle Lilac Theater Costume Dress Large Lilac
Southern Belle Lilac Theater Costume Dress Large Lilac

What a great color, not too dark yet vibrant and full of life.

 

Top choice for men's Civil War soldier costume is...

These are hands down my only acceptable selections found thus far. No alternatives have been found, yet, that work for me. Mr. Vix is not so picky about his costume, but I am. If you're going southern soldier, look the part.

It is interesting to note that historically speaking, the grey of the Confederacy went to a butternut brown as the war went on and cloth become more rare.

Ashely Wilkes Gone with the Wind Costume size XL 44-46
Ashely Wilkes Gone with the Wind Costume size XL 44-46

Again with the irony! Ashely Wilkes, my least favorite character of the entire movie, has the best looking costume in this category.The jacket is far superior to any other I have seen in a costume. The length and tailoring give it an authentic look. I would replace the tie and add in riding boots for Mr. Vix.

 

Civil War reenactment - Check out the costumes. These men take them very seriously.

This is an annual event that takes place in the Vicksburg National Military Park, in Vicksburg, Ms. The park is huge, 16 square miles to be exact. As a kid, I did a walk-a-thon for the March of Dimes that went through the park, not the whole thing, but still. I can proudly say at 12, I walked the entire course. I have never been so sore in all my life! It's a beautiful setting where history comes to life.

Southern style selection the second -

From out of old time Hollywood...

Ruffles, satin, silk, and lace,

all taking pride of place.

A cameo, brooch, or diamond pin

can be worn over and over again.

2.) Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler

Nothing is more southern than Scarlett and Rhett. Hailing from the great state of Georgia, these beloved characters, brought to life originally by Margarett Mitchell, become American icons once immortalized on film. No matter how many times I see "Gone with the Wind", it amazes me every time.

The movie spans over six years of southern fashions giving any gal a good healthy bank of dress selections that stay true to the look. From the early, frilly, somewhat innocent gowns to the all out scarlet onslaught of southern sex appeal that is the famous red theater dress, this category has something for everyone.

First choice in Scarlette style selection is...

Women's Scarlett O'hara Burgundy Gown Theater Costume, Medium
Women's Scarlett O'hara Burgundy Gown Theater Costume, Medium

I love this dress. While it is by no means and exact replica, as you can see by watching the video clip below, it is a good approximation. The color works well for me and I like that it could be applied to other costume looks such as a saloon show girl. The train on the dress is just to die for. What fun!

 

The accessories...

Now, it is important to note, Scarlett was entirely in red during the movie when in this dress. I like the idea of some black accents, and they will blend well with other things I already have. Further, black is the color of the scary season. Since I could not find a scarlet wrap similar to the one Scarlett wore, I'm coming down on the side of black accessories.

The parasol and fan are easily incorporated into my decorating scheme when not in use.

Scarlette's famous red dress -

To understand the meaning in full context, one must remember that a lady of society would not have worn a screaming red dress to such an event in the day. It simply was not done.

Scarlett's most famous dresses -

Captain Rhett Butler number one costume selection is...

Men's Rhett Butler Suit Theater Costume, Brown, Medium
Men's Rhett Butler Suit Theater Costume, Brown, Medium

I really like this. While it's out of my Halloween price range, I think it's worth the money. Men's costumes are so different than women's. This would work with just a little accessorizing for Steampunk looks, Gothic and Victorian looks, all kinds of theater, vampire looks, and so on. It's amazingly versatile.

 

Southern style selection the third -

Not so ladylike antebellum...

Poker, whiskey, music, the high stakes party until dawn,

rising in the gambler's ranks takes a leader not a pawn.

Bluffs and lies behind smiles hide. As plantations ride,

men's fortunes change overnight. Care to bet a side?

Tabi's Characters Women's Medium Southern Madame Dress Costume
Tabi's Characters Women's Medium Southern Madame Dress Costume

If being objective about the fashions of the time in question, I must include the not so lady like grouping, which could turn out to be the most fun.

Just as there are risque fashions aplenty today, so were there back in the day.

The selections here can range from floor length to a much more revealing look. Think the entire gambit from old style riverboat showgirl to antebellum backdoor brothel. The look begs for lace, corsets, feathers, and curls.

Notice the dress in the picture.

The poofy short sleeves work two ways. This dress, as with many on this page, actually can be worn as an off the shoulder gown.

Wearing any such dress as an off the shoulder, depending on how off it goes, can take the dress to a less than genteel, high society place. I love it when things do double duty.

Image credit; Tabi's Characters.

Accessories to take it into perfection:

My number one favorite thing about all the accessories listed is that they will get used outside the costume arena. The bag is exquisite as is the umbrella,which will look great in home d├ęcor, as well as costume fashion passion jaunts.

No one pulls off the not so lady like antebellum look like Ashton - - From "North and South"

Best men's southern gambler look... - Torn between two choices.

Gamblin' Man Adult Costume - X-Large
Gamblin' Man Adult Costume - X-Large

I like the colors here. It could easily be adapted for a western steampunk look as well I think. Of course, as with any costume the trick to really pulling it off is the attitude of the wearer. Does the guy come with?

 

Sadly, our southern fantasy has come to an end.

Through the fashions shown you can transcend,

escape the boring, predictable costume trends.

Whatever you decide, have fun my friends.

(c) Vix a.k.a. Rhonda Enrayne

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    • Rhonda Lytle profile image
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      Rhonda Lytle 3 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @WriterJanis2: Thank you. It's so much fun to do costumes together. Shame there are so few opps to do it.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      What a special couple's costumes.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Lytle 4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @OhMe: Thank you. I always loved the duo myself, even in the sequel the critics trashed so. It was nice to see them get together in the end. God bless.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I think Scarlet and Rhett would be a great couples costume. Love the idea.