In the 1939 movie Gone with the Wind, the main character Scarlett O’Hara wore many, many lovely costumes. The style spans 12 years which range from wide hoop skirts of the American Civil War era to early Victorian bustles of the early 1870’s.
This page ranks the Top Ten Best Costumes worn by Scarlett throughout the course of the movie. They are ranked by memorability, beauty and how they reflect Scarlett as a character.
The costumes were designed by Walter Plunkett and Scarlett O’Hara was played by Vivien Leigh.
Gone with the Wind poll
The Shantytown Dress
Scarlett wears this dress called the Shantytown dress when she drives herself to her lumber mill which is beyond a shantytown. Along the way she is attacked which sets the gears in motion to leads to the death of her second husband.
The shantytown dress is a blue color that almost like a denim-like color. It a full skirt but less full than the Civil wars skirts. There is also black details all over the dress and on the sleeves. The black cording details gives the dress a lot of visual interest.
The Calico Dress
Scarlett wears the calico dress a lot during the course of the movie. She is first seen wearing it when she and Melanie nursing some soldiers. In that scene she wears it with a Civil War Era petticoat. She then wears again sans the petticoat when Melanie gives birth. when they have to escape the siege of Atlanta and during the poverty at Tara.
This dress goes through several changes over the time-span that Scarlett wears it. Calico is a type of cotton. The fabric is pink with purple circles and yellow designs. It has buttons down the bodice. For a while the dress has puffed sleeves but overtime the puff details disappear.
While this costume is by no means Scarlett’s prettiest costume even by her more casual attire standards but she wears but some the most memorable scenes in the movie
The Mill Dress
Scarlett wears this costume when she visits Ashley at the Mill and while discussing the past he consoles her which gets misconstrue as them having an affair.
This dress is an example of the Victorian bustle. The dress is white with a light blue velvet jacket with pleated chiffon at the cuffs and at the collar. The look is finished off by a lace bonnet with chiffon bustle-like detail on the back.
This costume is very pretty and very charming.
The Black Mourning Bustle
Scarlett wears this costume when she is mourning the death of her daughter, Bonnie. She wears it at the end of the movie when Melanie dies and Rhett leaves her. Given that she wears when the famous line is uttered and it is the last costume she is seen in, it’s very memorable.
Like the Mill Dress this gown is an example of the 1870’s bustle. It’s made from velvet. It had a standing collar and a shoulder cape. The gown has a large oversize cameo brooch to finish it off
Scarlett wears a lot different mourning gowns but this one is the most distinguishable and very elegant.
The Green Wrapper
Scarlett wears six different dressing gowns during the movie. This green one she wears when she tells Rhett that she has decided not to have any more children.
This dressing gown is made from rich green velvet and has lots of lovely gold details including beading, buttons and lining. The sleeves are very long and elegant.
This costume is very beautiful and speaks to Scarlett’s boldness. This is personally one my favorite costume from the movie.
The Red Wrapper
This dressing gown of Scarlett's might be her most famous dressing gown. She wears it after Ashley’s birthday party when she encounters Rhett. This is what Scarlett wears when Rhett carries her up the stairs.
This dressing is much simpler than the green one. It made from bright red velvet. There are rows of white ruffles along the collar and along the cuffs of the sleeves. The sleeves are circular flounce. There a red velvet buttons along the opening and there is a black band around the waist.
This gown was used in original poster for the film.
The Prayer Dress
In the opening scene of Gone with the Wing Scarlett is entertaining two young suitors and getting some local gossip about the man Scarlett is in love with, Ashley Wilkes who is going to marry someone else. She is sitting on the pouch of her family house, Tara while wearing this innocent ruffle dress. It’s dubbed as the prayer gown because as her family she comes up with a plan to marry Ashley.
This dress is a soft white color with a red belt at the waist. It has the wide Civil War petticoats and has layers and layers of lace ruffles and darling puffed sleeves. It’s a very feminine dress,
Originally the opening scene was shot with Scarlett wearing the Green Spring dress which she later wears to the barbecue at the Wilkes’s house. The producer David O Selznick wanted Scarlett to wear something virginal.
The Green Spring Dress
Scarlett wears this low cut dress to the Wilkes’ barbecue. The barbecue is where Scarlett meets Melanie and Rhett and is when most of the characters are in a single place. This is also the scene where the Civil war was declared
This dress was considered by Mammy to be too low cut for the occasion. It’s off the shoulder and has ruffles across the neckline with a green velvet ribbon going through it and little bows at the shoulders. The fabric is white with a green spring pattern enhance the name. There is also a green sash across the waist that is green velvet which matches the ribbons. The skirt is a classic wide Civil War era hoop skirt.
The Red Party Gown
Scarlett wears this gown to Ashley’s birthday party. Rhett forces her to go after she is caught with Ashley at the mill. She is meant to make a bold statement when she arrives at the party.
This gown reads more late 1930’s than Victorian but despite its inaccuracy to the time this gown is gorgeous. The gown has a sheath silhouette though it does has train. It made from a deep red velvet and has rhinestone details at the neckline and sprinkled all over the dress. There are also feather details at the shoulders and all about the the dress amongst the rhinestones. She wears red gloves and a chiffon wrap.
The Green Curtain Dress
Without a doubt Scarlett’s green dress she makes from her mother’s curtain is the most iconic of all Scarlett’s costumes. Scarlett wears this dress when she goes to Atlanta to seduce Rhett for money to save Tara.
This gown is made from dark green and olive velvet. It the skirt is a wide hoop skirt. The underskirt is the olive green color and the rest is the dark green. It has a v-neckline with a label. The sleeves are asymmetrical as one side has a drape that makes the sleeve look like an angel sleeve. The gown has cording details that harkens to the curtains. The look is finished with hat that has black feather and fringe from the curtains.
This costume gets parodies a fair amount because of iconic status. Famously it has been parodied by the Carol Burnett show and from the 90’s comedy cartoon The Critic. But despite that it’s still a beautiful and memorable dress that speaks to the length Scarlett will go for her home.
Scarlett Costume Poll
What is your favorite costume from Gone with the Wind?
Lauren on August 29, 2020:
the honeymoon gown. Black and White. stunning
royale on August 29, 2020:
the black and white new orleans riverboat dress should be on the list
Bettye E. Moore on April 06, 2020:
My favorite dress not in your poll. It is the scots plaid mill dress when she visits the workers at the mill
Cheryl Allen on February 20, 2019:
My absolute favorite dress is the one in the picture in Rhett's bedroom. The blue dress with the white shawl flowing behind her must have been Rhett's favorite too since he has it in his room. Plus it is the one he shatters a glass of liquor at it when he gets angry!
Carolyn@klemmedson.com on June 05, 2018:
I've always been fascinated by the white with maroon blouse she wore while bidding farewell to Ashley. It's intriguing how it was gathered and outlined by the velvet ribbon. There is another dress, not as elaborate, styled similarly worn by Mrs. Mead during the ladies vigil.
Mdavusflynn@earthlink.net on June 17, 2017:
Altho it was never mentioned and it is'nt my favourite, I can't forget Scarlett's wedding dress when she spitefully marries Charles Hamilton. It was over the top BUT rather exquisite.