She is most commonly known as a selfishly ignorant royal who lived with little to no regard for the hardships of her people. The truth of her life may have been distorted by the extremes of the Revolution that took place while she was still in power. When a country is ripe for a revolt, historians tend to make the visible rulers into the monsters responsible for the country’s current crisis. It’s often a deeply set need among the people to find a face to blame for whatever hardships they are facing.
In America, the current economic crisis as well as the war in Iraq are problems that President Obama has inherited not only from the previous administration (although it may seem that way) but from the beginnings of the economic foundation of America’s banking and mortgage lending systems. While he has been working hard to prevent a complete collapse of the economy, we are still close enough to catastrophe, that as citizens we can imagine a revolution. While there are many significant differences between twenty-first century America and revolutionary France, if the American citizens struggling to pay rent and healthcare imagine us under Monarch rule, it is possible to tap into some very deep seated visceral responses. Marie Antoinette was know to spend so lavishly on her wardrobe and accessories, that she significantly depleted the French economy. While her people were starving for bread she famously wore 3 foot high “Poufs” (powdered with tons of flour)as they were called on her head, adorned with veils and beads and jewels. The lifestyle of the Royals living at Versaille (the famous French palace) was notoriously opulent. The Palace and Gardens are now a museum and popular tourist attraction.
For these reasons, as well as for her simply notoriety, Marie Antoinette is always a great choice for a Halloween costume. She was also killed by guillotine which gives you the option to lend a particularly gory aspect to a fun costume. There are many websites online where you can find great full-skirted, corseted dresses that expose as much of the bosom as the fashions she made popular. It is most important that the skirt is full. This can be accomplished with a cage hoop and a petticoat. There are many different kind of hoops, and depending on the specific period in Marie Antoinette’s life, you may choose to use different ones. You’ll also want to make sure that you have a good petticoat (possibly ruffled at the hem) and a good long pair of drawers for authenticity.