Buccaneer's Girl (1950) | Long Gowns and Trousers

So far for #SwashbucklerMonth I have stuck to the cavalier days of bucket boots and rapiers. But today we are going to advance in years a little.

DeCarlo in a formal white gown.

The early 1800s saw a drastic change in clothing for both men and women. Wigs were thrown out and full, thick skirts with it. The French wanted nothing to do with the aristocratic fashion at the end of the revolution. And as it were, what the French say in fashion goes. There are many portraits of women sporting the new style of gauzy dress that looked like something from the Greeks. Waists sat just below the bosom and the former rigid aspects of fashion, such as multiple petticoats, yards of fabric, and corsets, were tossed out as well.

Yellow gown from 1823

As the years passed, the style began to reform again and the material of dresses became thicker and more modest. The waist also dropped a few inches preparing for the fuller skirts of the Civil War era.

The film Buccaneer's Girl (1950) was based in this era. Yvonne DeCarlo wears straight gowns with moderately high waists, and Philip Friend wears the "modern" trousers instead of breeches, with the top hat replacing the cavalier hat.

This film is actually a recent addition to our swashbuckler addiction. After finding it on the internet a few years ago it quickly became another favorite, making our list of buccaneer films a little more extensive.

DeCarlo in a pink gown with black overlay.

DeCarlo plays a saucy lower class girl who has stowed away on a ship bound for New Orleans. She has the misfortune to get entangled with a gentleman playing the part of pirate for heroic reasons and soon becomes embroiled in the plot herself.

Madame Brizar (played by the always animated Elsa Lanchester) takes her in hand in an attempt to make her more genteel, but Debbie, as she is called, decides to get her the man she wants her own way.

The costumes in this film are grand, even if they tend to follow a similar pattern.

Friend in a light blue suit with a high collar. Dashing.

DeCarlo in a gold gown with Greek overtones. Friend in buccaneer costume, also dashing.

Men's wear changes slightly less over the years, it seems. Here the pirate Batiste wears the earlier breeches and boots, but at other times in the film he wears the more modern trousers and heeled shoes.

DeCarlo in a red and pale blue gown.

Of all the gowns DeCarlo wears, this one has to be my least favorite. I can't see why anyone would want to put a dark red with a pale blue.

Pale blue gown with red shawl from 1822.

Then I ran across this image. I was greatly surprised to see the colors so directly associated. Could the costumers have referred to this exact picture? Seems a little much to assume but who knows what inspired the designers of this film.

It is exciting to be able to identify time periods by costume or other little things. But after all, in the days when this film was put out, there wasn't always as much care for authenticity as I would like. Many times our heroine might wear an 18th century dress and then 1940's makeup and hairstyle. It's funny to laugh at, and I don't take it too seriously.

But on the other hand, modern movies have no excuse. I am very critical of any attempt to recreate a period. So it is very satisfying when they succeed.

What do you think? Are you very familiar with this periods fashion? Have you seen Buccaneer's Girl? Leave me a comment!


Portraits from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1820s_in_Western_fashion

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