One of our most favorite things about working with historical clothing is that we are constantly making new discoveries: while the 1870s – 1890s are seemingly very familiar to us, in many aspects it is jarringly different to modern sensibilities and especially so when it comes to wedding dresses and whole notion of the “white wedding.”
The white wedding was an ideal often aspired to by brides but often unachievable because of cost. At the same time, there was the countervailing idea that the expense of making a dress solely intended to be worn on just one day was simply wasteful and extravagant. The idea of the specifically designed “wedding dress” was a new one that slowly took hold during the later 19th Century, spurred on by the relentless growth of a consumer economy.
In previous posts (here and here), we have discussed in some detail the concept of the wedding dress and the one basic element is that “wedding dresses” were often simply the bride’s “best dress,” a dress she intended to use for formal occasions besides the wedding. The use of a best dress was fairly common among those with lesser means and especially in the more remote parts of the country which by the late 19th century meant the American West.
So what was a “best dress”? Simply put, it was a day dress that had perhaps been decorated in some extra way (orange blossoms were a favorite). Below are two examples of this:
Now, take a step with us just a little further…while we acknowledge that the idea of a non-white wedding dress can be viewed as somewhat extreme by today’s standards, we disagree. To our way of thinking, it provides an alternative to the idea that a beautiful dress created for a special day should simply be put on the shelf once that day has passed- a wedding dress is too beautiful and too special to be treated in such a way. Why not be able to wear that dress as a constant reminder of that most special and beautiful day?
Towards this end, we give you the first of several alternative takes on the wedding dress and all which are more than historically appropriate:
A BLACK wedding gown? YES! A thousand times, YES! <3
Constructed of a beautiful silk twilled dupioni Lily Absinthe gown with antique embroidery and soutache to ride off into the Old West sunset!
Below is a an image of the dress in black and white which gives off better details of the embroidery and soutache:
And with one of our dresses, you can ride off into the sunset assured that you will be the best dressed! Stay tuned for more wedding designs…. 🙂