Practical ladies from the end of the 19th century often used their wedding dresses (or parts of the costume) several years after the wedding. It was worn as a visiting gown, an attire for special occasions, etc. So, how did those bridal dresses look? Let us have a peek at the 1880’s Natural Form era bridal gown. This one is ivory-colored, though dark colors were also very popular.
Starting with the usual – a chemise, drawers, stockings, boots, and a corset.
Bustle pad provides the needed derriere enhancement.
A flounced cotton petticoat is next. This model closes at the side with buttons. The flounces help to support the skirt and to create the silhouette. In the Bustle eras, when worn on the bustle cage, it also helped to hide the outline of the boning.
Camisole (corset cover) to protect the bodice from the corset and body oils as well as to hide the outline of the corset.
All the cotton undergarments would be washed frequently. Petticoats would be starched, too.
The skirt in duchess satin, lined with cotton. It is the first layer that will be seen.
Next, an apron-fronted overskirt with back drapery, side flower decorations, and a silk fringe. Also in matching satin, lined with taffeta.
This duo of skirt and overskirt was a very popular one – and could be worn as an everyday outfit, too.
A wedding requires something a bit more special, however – a detachable train. It may have tapes for bustling it up for dancing later.
The train is in satin as well, lined with silk taffeta, with lace and a wide ruffle. And some flowers. A lace balayeuse (dust ruffle) under the train protects the silk from the dirt.
A matching silk bodice. Since most weddings took place during the day, long (or at least ¾) sleeves were a must. The bodice has a waist tape – it keeps the bodice in place and prevents too much strain on the buttons.
A silk tulle and Chantilly lace veil is used to cover the head.
And a bridal tiara – wax orange blossom was all the rage.
Gloves to protect the hands.
And I think I am ready to meet my husband to be.
Close up… the veil in place.
Ivory, cream, and light colors were popular but many bridal gowns were more practical, in darker colors – as, often, the couple would travel after the ceremony. The bridal satin would be worn for official occasions in the next 2 years. Dark gowns would become visiting attires and worn often, too.
And a photo with the husband.