To B or Not To B?
Throughout the eight seasons that Bewitched was filmed, Samantha Stephens' style metamorphosed. Her clothing, hairstyles, and attitude became a cultural wallpaper of the times. As addressed elsewhere on harpiesbizarre.com, Samantha was introduced to Bewitched as a young witch longing to be a housewife with a late-1950s flipped-styled hairstyle, simple dresses, and the sweet pave heart necklace that became her trademark accessory. She even wore prim hats and gloves when going out to lunch with her mother. This is particularly amusing as it was the mid-1960s when the show was being taped. Eventually, Samantha's style caught up with the times as the series moved to color and she became an active mother on the show. She began wearing straight pants and tennis shoes and her hair got longer and was often pulled back into a ponytail or pigtails.
Samantha's style seemed to evolve 10 years in what was actually 4 seasons of Bewitched. By 1967, the fashions and hairstyles were representative of the mid-1960s. In 1968, Samantha's kooky cousin, Serena, sported the peace sign beauty mark at the lower corner of her eye, mini skirts, and Go-Go boots that so many associate with the free-spirited 60s. There were even shows about hippies protesting and references to drug use that illustrate how the times were changing.
By season eight, Samantha's hair was longer, blonder, and parted down the middle as was typical of the early 1970s. She wore choker necklaces, and bell-bottomed pants. Many fans have commented on Samantha's more "relaxed" look in the last season. Whether this was a political statement about Samantha feeling oppressed about the use of her witchcraft in her own home or just something that women of that time felt was more comfortable or fashionable, many viewers watch shows like # 231 wondering why?
In researching this fashion trend, it is interesting to note that many historians believe that there never actually was a bra burning in the late 1960s. Apparently, during the Miss America beauty pageant in New Jersey in September of 1968, there was a feminist protest in which demonstrators threw objects that they believed to be symbolic of repressive ideas of beauty, such as curlers, high-heeled shoes, and even a bra into a "Freedom Trash Can" to express their displeasure with the pageant. These items were never burned, but reporters seemed to associate the act with the draft-card burnings at anti-Vietnam protests and the story spread faster than a lit bra that had been soaked in a vat of whiskey.
Speaking of such things, there is also the urban legend of Prunella Summers and the burning bra. The story goes that young Pru was attending a feminist rally in the 1960s and accidentally spilled whiskey down the front of herself during the excitement of the demonstration. She allegedly attempted to dry herself off while holding a lit cigarette. The combination of the alcohol and burning embers sent her clothing up in flames and she is reported to have whipped off her bra and waved it in the air to extinguish the flames. We're not sure how true this story is, but an amusing tale nonetheless.
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