Friday, July 3, 2009

A Short History of the Wedding Dress

As my neighbor came out of her house last weekend, white wedding dress complete with beading, tulle, and satin flouncing around her, it reminded me that wedding dresses have not always been white. Wearing white (for western brides) did not become fashionable until Queen Victoria donned one (she was probably not amused). This flamboyant gown made people note her status, and soon after brides began to copy her. It was certainly not a virtuous color, and was seen as a symbol of wealth since you would not have to wear the dress again.

In ancient times, here are some of the customs that were followed:
  • Roman women wore a dress similar to the robes of Juno, goddess of marriage. They were modestly draped and would cover their heads with a red square of cloth to appear pale and statuesque.
  • Grecian women would wear long, elegant dresses (like the peplos). Their dresses were closed with two clasps, and the more expensive and ornate the clasps, the more wealthy the family. They covered their heads in gold to symbolize virginity, joy and happiness (the color of the sun).
  • Russian women wore red to symbolize joy and beauty. The dresses were similar to today's sundresses and they wore their hair plaited with ribbon.
Today many cultures continue to wear colors other than white (Asian cultures still prefer bright colors), and with a move towards non-traditional marriage, weddings and lifestyles, perhaps in the future of western weddings, we may begin to see a rainbow of possibilities.

No comments:

Post a Comment