I feel like I’ve written before about my love of the idea of a trousseau. I remember as a child I was fascinated with the idea of having different dresses to do different activities. I wanted to tea dress and an afternoon dress and a morning dress. This all seemed very exciting to me. I’ve never given up my love of trousseaux or layettes or wardrobes and each time I do a paper doll, particularly a mix and match paper doll, I think about how each of the pieces can go or can’t go with each of the other pieces.
Several months ago, I hatched the idea of doing a neo-victorian/steampunk inspired trousseau, playing with the Victorian obsession with an “outfit for every activity”. I poured over old reports of trousseaux from major marriages of the guilded age, including Princess Beatrice whose style seems remarkably crisp and straight forward for such a frilly period. In the Ladies Book of Etiquette and Manuel of Politeness the follow information about a proper bridal outfit, or trousseau, is offered, “In preparing a bridal outfit, it is best to furnish the wardrobe for at least two years, in under-clothes, and one year in dresses, though the bonnet and cloak, suitable for the coming season, are all that are necessary, as the fashions in these articles change so rapidly. If you are going to travel, have a neat dress and cloak of some plain color, and a close bonnet and veil.”
Clearly, this is going to be a larger project than just this post. This is the first of what I suspect will be several pages of trousseau for Greta. We’re starting with her wedding dress, with a jacket, a dinner dress and a house dress.
The wedding dress could become a ballgown quite easily and that wasn’t an uncommon practice, because wedding dresses were often simply a women’s best dress. The dinner dress is more of a semi-formal dress, a step below a ballgown and right around the world of an opera toilette (don’t worry, she’ll get one of those two). Her house dress is, of course, the least formal with a book to read while she spends time at home.
All of Greta’s Trousseau posts are gathered together under the tag “Greta’s Trousseau.”