Laura Ingalls, fashion icon and bad ass

When I was seven, there were only three things I wanted in this world:
  1. Long, wavy, glossy blonde hair, like the girl in the Johnson and Johnson's Baby Shampoo commercial,
  2. A pony, preferably white, whom I would name Candy, and
  3. To be a rough and tumble prairie woman in a faded floral dress, crossing the country in a covered wagon.
As a young girl, my all-time favorite books were those from the Little House On The Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Did you ever read them? Little House follows the adventures of the Ingalls family - Ma Caroline, Pa Charles, Mary, Laura, Carrie, and baby Grace - as they travel through the Midwest during the nineteenth century, searching for a hospitable place to settle. The books are told from Laura's perspective, and they do a beautiful job describing the rigors of life in the nineteenth century; specifically, the struggles the family faced against disease, frigid cold, governmental regulations, and Native Americans competing for the same land and food. 

Although I loved everything about the books, Laura was what drew me in so deeply. I desperately, desperately wanted to be Laura. Because, let's face, Laura was kind of a bad ass, and she led a suitably bad ass adventuresome life. I wanted to call my father Pa, and help him build a dugout house from the side of a hill, and listen to him trill out a hillbilly folk song on his violin. I wanted to wear faded floral dresses and pinafores with petticoats peeking out.  I wanted a dog named Jack to scamper next to me while I chased frogs out of the pond.  I wanted an older sister to squabble with (no offense to my younger brother, with whom I shared many legendary battles.)  I wanted a mother as sweet as Caroline, who wore a bucolic smile while darning homespun dresses. But, mostly, I wanted to challenge that mean, nasty Nellie Oleson in an epic mudfight, just like Laura did. Laura was loving and affectionate, but also mischievous and scrappy. I wanted to be the same. Hell, I still want to be her.

I was thinking about Laura when I plucked this dress out of my closet. In another form or color, the floral print might be dainty. But here it kind of smacks you in the face. It's feisty and still kind of sweet. If Laura was around today, it's something I imagine she might pick out, now that she can shop beyond the mercantile.

Forever 21 denim jacket; Forever 21 dress; thrifted Gap turtleneck; American Apparel tights; Target socks; Frye boots; Plato's Closet leather bracelet; Fossil hoops.


  1. I love hearing the inspiration behind this outfit!
    I love how you dressed down this dress, and totally made it appropriate for winter!

  2. Found your blog through IFB! Love how you're inspired by characters in literature! I remember loving these books too. :)

  3. adorable dress, elissa!

    i was also a little house on the prairie fan. as an adult, i'm still figuring out the ways that the books contributed to my psyche. i had TOTALLY forgotten about the dog jack, so that detail really brought me back!

    i'd really like to write about laura ingalls as a model of girlhood sometime...she was so inspirational to so many girls of different generations. and you're right, she WAS a total badass.


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