Friday, January 29, 2016

Attire can tell a story, too!

Our stepmother soon came into the room. Tall and thin, except for her growing belly, she wore a voluminous, high-waisted, blue-striped gown. As always, her head was covered by a white lacy mobcap. Her neck was concealed by a ruffled collar called a “betsy” after Queen Elizabeth, who apparently had worn gigantic ruffs in her day. Sometimes I thought such queenly attire suited Prissy, especially when she made proclamations and expected me to obey. Sometimes I did feel like her lowly subject, a somewhat rebellious one.  - A Buss from Lafayette

When Priscilla, Clara's erstwhile aunt/new stepmother, first appears in A Buss from Lafayette, I decided she would be wearing a betsy. This made it possible for Clara to reveal some essential facts about their relationship. Later on it becomes clear that this betsy reveals something about Priscilla's self-image as well!

Here's what one version of the betsy looked like: