This gown drew me in and I can’t understand why I was compelled to buy it for my antique booth. Perhaps, the story it must contain fascinates me. It is surely from the early 1800’s and costly since the entire gown is lace. I know the gown was before the Victorians because blue was chosen for purity not white. It is a gorgeous blue lace that no longer exists in today’s fashion where only natural dye processes could achieve the umber of blue-gray with a black base. Oh, it has been reworked for certain with a zipper instead of the incredibly delicate and lengthy silk covered mother of pearl buttons. A different type of lace was added to the bottom to make it longer. This is where you can tell the differences in age and quality between the two laces. The lining was replaced and tulle was added in place of the extensive hoops and private under things of the period. Notwithstanding, the seamstress who refurbished the gown was highly skilled. While the gown was not offended by its modernization, I don’t know of anyone with a waist or arms so tiny that could do it justice. Keep in mind in the photo below I had to leave the back open to fit the dress form a full six inches to get the dress to fit over the top and couldn’t fasten it after it was on the form.
Now I am on a roll and finding all sorts of photos of wedding gowns. Blue was the prominent color and even today could make a comeback. I would consider it; especially considering, I had black floral bridesmaids dresses, big hair and very poufey long veil. (I am considering that which I just wrote about considerations!)
Queen Victoria is the one who started the whole white wedding gown thing because, before the Victorians, blue was the color of purity as the one on the left. Notice the detail work accenting the gown and the delicate lace at the sleeves. Lace was very costly back then. This gown belonged to a practical American bride who was not compelled to follow the British tradition of black; but, was more practical and would use the gown as her absolute best dress. It is circa 1880’s.
During Queen Victoria’s 63 year reign which constituted the Victorian era from 1837 to 1901, her husband, Prince Albert died. From that time, in 1861, she wore black. Honoring the Queen’s mourning , Victorian Brides chose to wear black wedding gowns as seen below. Notice what is in the hand of the bride. I believe it’s a bible or prayer book. This photo was taken in Illinois and would have been an upper middle class American around the 1860’s.
Below is Queen Victoria and her Prince Albert. They had nine children together. Her gown was pure white with her royal robes in fur and of course a diamond tiara or rather the real thing – the Crown of the Queen of England.
2 thoughts on “The Blue Wedding Gown”
Amazing history of these items! I was involved in the vintage fashion industry for years (1983-2002), and had never heard about the blue being a symbol of purity in the Victorian era. Fascinating!!
Hi Regina. I am so happy to hear from you. I would have loved to have seen your store in California. It must have been fabulous. We need one here in our area. You mentioned the blue dress as a symbol of purity and it was before the Victorian Era. The gown that I have was early 1800s. White came into being with Queen Victoria’s wedding and the Victorian Era was during her reign as Queen of England from 1837 to 1901. Thank you so much for visiting. I hope you come back.