Little women is one of my favourite books, and although I love all the characters, Amy is my favourite and I find to like how her life turned out at the end. I never could help it wonder ”what did Amy March wear ?” Since I entered the magical word of history of fashion I have been able to answer my question, and now I’ll answer this question to all of you who were wondering the same.
Amy March wore simple and casual dresses when she was a child. The Marches were poor and simple family and it’s only natural that they didn’t put much emphasis on clothing and fashion. Amy is twelve years old at the beginning of the book, so unfortunately she missed most of the civil war era balls that Meg went to. Amy was too young at the time so she always stayed home with Beth.
1863. Children’s fashions, La Follet.
”Little Raphael”, as her sisters called her, was in a fair way to be spoiled because everyone pampered her indulged her often selfish wishes. But there was one thing, however, that quenched her vanities. She had to wear her cousin’s dresses.
Now, Florence’s mama hadn’t a particular of taste, and Amy suffered deeply at having to wear a red instead of blue bonnet, unbecoming gowns, and fussy aprons that did not fit. Everything was good, well made, and little worn, but Amy’s artistic eyes were much afflicted, especially this winter, when her school dress was a dull purple with yellow dots and no trimming.
She hated her purple school dress with yellow ”skyrockets” on it. Seriously, who wouldn’t ? Now, let’s take a look at some fashion plates from the Civil war era:
1864. Children’s Fashions for October, Godey’s Lady’s Book.
Descriptions for the four girls:
”Fig 1 – Gray poplin dress, trimmed with a fluted ribbon of Tartan colors. Gray straw hat, trimmed with plaid velvet and gray feathers.
Fig 2 – Solferino merino dress, trimmed with black silk and Solferino braid.
Fig 3 – Napolean blue cashmere dress, trimmed with rows of black velvet. White muslin guimpe, finished at the throat with a worked edge. White muslin de laine petticoat, trimmed on the edge with a fluting of the material. Above this are three rows of black silk braid.
Fig 4 – Gray cashmere skirt, trimmed with a bias band of white cashmere, edged and braided with scarlet velvet. Garibaldi and sash of white cashmere, bound and braided with scarlet velvet. Scarlet cloth jacket, braided with white and trimmed with black drop buttons.”
Now, I know that the beginning of the story was set in December 1861. but this particular fashion plate shows the dresses which a twelve year old Amy would most likely be wearing. At the age of twelve girls wore dresses just little bellow the knee. Amy was just between being a child and a woman; she was indeed a little women.
Although the dresses of little girls highly resembled their mothers, I’m sure that Marmee would never force Amy into wearing huge crinolines that were fashionable at the time. Amy’s dresses were probably more simple and comfortable than these fashion plates suggest.
As Amy grew older she started wearing more elegant and fashionable dresses. At the age of sixteen she was very beautiful with big blue eyes, perfect porcelain skin and golden locks. Although her dresses weren’t the newest or the most fashionable she knew how to use the best out of them. Amy also had a sweet, almost angelic personality so everybody liked her, especially aunt March who decided to take her to Europe as a companion. Aunt bought her some dresses and bonnets in London because she packed herself in a rush and forgot half of the things.
”Aunt Mary got me some new things, for I came off in such a hurry I wasn’t half ready. A white hat and blue feather, a muslin dress to match , and the loveliest mantle you ever saw. Shopping in Regent street is perfectly splendid. Things seem so cheap, nice ribbons only sixpence a yard. I laid in a stock, but shall buy my gloves in Paris. Doesn’t that sound sort of elegant and rich ?”
In my opinion, pastel colours would enhance the beauty of Amy’s porcelain skin the most. I love the part when Laurie visits Amy in Nice. Nice was equally beautiful seaside town in the nineteenth century as it is now, but the best part of Nice was fashion. French elegance combined with seaside fashion – the best thing imaginable !
I can already picture Amy taking a walk with Laurie on Promenade des Anglais on a beautiful sunny day. In my head she’s wearing elegant rose-coloured seaside dress with little white dots; french simplicity with evocation of the Regency spirit from the beginning of the century.
Amy’s evening dresses were superb; she wore a lot of tulle and decorated her gowns with roses which grew in every garden in Nice. I think her evening gown could look something like the pink one above. I feel like Amy would look the best in pink. Just look at beautiful that dress above; look at that gorgeous colour, nice smooth cut, beautiful white lace and tulle details and crown at the end – lots and lots of pink roses; almost like a fairytale.
The last two dresses are perfect for Amy’s long walks in the gardens and painting sessions. Simple dresses with youthful and elegant designs are best for sweet little Amy. True beauty and grace will shine trough any kind of clothing, and that’s the case here – Amy could look young, sweet and effortlessly beautiful in any dress, whether fashionable or old and warn out.