Advice For Bridal Gowns - 1910
There was a time when there were but two materials that were considered suitable for the wedding gown; namely, silk and satin. However, today the wedding dress may be selected from a variety of fabrics some of which are very inexpensive but none the less lovely and adaptable to the rather simple and graceful lines that characterize this gown.
If silk or satin is chosen, it must be of the most attractive; crepe de chine is beautifully soft and clinging, but a lace gown is even more beautiful, while one of chiffon, chiffon cloth, or Liberty gauze is dainty in the extreme.
It may surprise some to be told that there are almost as many shades of white as there are of grey. The dead white satin of our grandmothers’ day that was so generally unbecoming is seldom seen now, and in its place is selected cream, ivory or someone of the many shadings of white most becoming to the complexion of the woman who is to wear the gown.
For the woman who has passed her first youth, the beautiful silks and satins of substantial quality and rich velvets are charmingly appropriate. There are beautiful trimmings, too, for these costly fabrics. For the youthful bride, however, there is a wide range of materials from which to choose.
While much latitude is permitted in the selection of the design, the princess wedding gown has become almost a classic, and, indeed, it is lovely; the long unbroken lines of the beautiful dress suggest the contour of a lily, and the dazzling whiteness of the satin its untouched purity, but such a dress should be attempted only by expert hands.
An Empire gown is also a lovely and enduring model from which to fashion a bridal gown, and either style will be safely chosen if the idea of preserving the dress as an heirloom be in mind.
Many brides of moderate means will choose, however, a wedding dress of material and fashionless special, and multiply its fortunate uses. For a gown of this sort, crepe de chine, chiffon cloth, taffetas or peau de soie will make up most satisfactorily.
Satin always means ceremony and state, and the gown simpler in effect than the princess, made less formally and with a detachable yoke, will afterward undergo easy transition and be serviceable as a dinner or evening dress for a long time.
For the bride who need not think of expense, there is nothing so desirable for the wedding gown as rose-point, Duchesse or Garrick Macross lace. Real Valenciennes is one of the choicest laces; however, there are many beautiful and comparatively inexpensive laces to be found in the shops that will supply effective trimming.
Point lace has from time immemorial been associated with wedding gowns, but not everyone is fortunate enough to possess this costly lace, and now other laces are equally fashionable. If possible, one should have the best, as lace from the wedding gown is handed down from generation to generation.
It is better to have a small quantity of lace of the best possible quality than an abundance of inferior texture. If mousseline de soie or any of the diaphanous materials are chosen for the bridal dress, Valenciennes and Mechlin are suitable laces to use.
A silk foundation is essential with the open-mesh fabrics, and, indeed, should be employed with the heavier goods, but it need not add significantly to the expense.
If one cannot afford a wedding gown of silk, a very charming one may be of finest organdy, with a transparent yoke of lace (for the wedding gown must be worn high in the neck with long sleeves); it will serve afterward for summer wear.
A slip lining of lawn fabric may be used instead of silk, and self-ruffles edged with Valenciennes lace will yield appropriate decoration.
That the wedding gown of inexpensive material may be a success, it is necessary that it be daintily and becomingly fashioned, and the present graceful styles make this entirely possible.
For soft fabrics, tucking, shirring and all sorts of beautiful handwork offer delightful effects, and old lace, too, should be used, if one has it.
A lace bertha or collar adds distinction to the wedding gown when there is harmony between the two.
Paris muslin makes a beautiful wedding gown and an inexpensive one as well; often the entire dress is very elaborately decorated with hand-embroidery. Either a silk or lawn slip is worn underneath.
Even the inexpensive India silks, in the ivory tint, are used for wedding gowns with exquisite results, adapting themselves to almost any desired trimming effect.
A pretty idea for a wedding gown is the development of a princess model in insertion and white satin ribbon. The long princess lines should always be followed in this gown, and it has this advantage, that while dainty and precious enough for any wedding gown, it is not so distinctively a bridal dress as to make its later wearing as noticeable as a white satin one, for instance.
The formality of the wedding regulates the length of the wedding skirt. For a ceremonious church function, a sweeping train of considerable length is correct.
That is, 90 inches is approved, although 72 inches is considered a good measure. Usually, a train of moderate length is to be preferred to an exceedingly long one.
White silk stockings and white satin, kid or lace slippers are worn with the white wedding gown. White satin slippers with knots of tulle or chiffon and tiny clusters of orange-blossoms or single white roses are among the recent novelties in footwear.
Buckles of paste, gold, or silver are useful. Butterfly buckles of white lace and silver wire are airy and beautiful.
White suede gloves, preferably with the mousquetaire wrist, are the conventional hand covering. The third finger of the left-hand glove is usually ripped so that the ring may be quickly slipped on.
This, however, is a matter of taste; and if the bride prefers to remove her glove, the maid-of-honor has to hold her bouquet during the removal. Frequently the glove is slipped off the hand and tucked in the wrist.
The handkerchief will be of fine hand-made lace with a beautiful linen center. The bridal bouquet or prayer book which the bride carries is treated of under individual headings.
The last word about the differing dress requirements of daytime and an evening wedding. A bride may wear full evening dress to her wedding, though it takes place at ten in the morning; but the bridegroom, best man, ushers and all the guests at a day wedding wear afternoon dress.
Clark, Jean Wilde, Ed., Weddings and Wedding Anniversaries: The Bridal Gown, New York, The Butterick Publishing Company, 1910, p. 18-21.
Note: We have edited this text to correct grammatical errors and improve word choice to clarify the article for today’s readers. Changes made are typically minor, and we often left passive text “as is.” Those who need to quote the article directly should verify any changes by reviewing the original material.