Monday, October 26, 2009

The Personal Trousseau

The Modern Book of Etiquette, by Eleanor Ames (copyright 1940) outlines what is properly contained in the bride's trousseau. To make a point, the trousseau should supply the bride with enough to wear for a full year. Ms. Ames cautions about buying too many dresses, coats and hats in advance because of changing styles, but everything else could be bought for future use.

For the average city-dweller bride, who plans to have an "average" social life:

Outer garments (Spring-Summer):
1 dress coat
1 sport coat
1 ensemble or suit for city street wear
1 crepe and one chiffon dress
2 pastel colored frocks (note that these are frocks, not dresses)
2 wash sports dresses
1 dinner dress
2 dance dresses (one crepe, one summer cotton)
2 or 3 hats for general wear
1 special afternoon hat
1 simple evening coat
1 cardigan or slip on sweater.

Outer garments (Fall-Winter)
1 fur coat (if possible)
1 fur trimmed dress coat
1 sports coat (optional)
1 heavy ensemble or winter suit
2 crepe dresses
1 dressmaker suit or dressy cloth dress
1 sports frock (of bright wool) -- note again, a frock, not a dress
2 evening gowns
1 dinner dress
1 Sunday night or cocktail frock
2 afternoon dresses, 1 velvet, if possible
3 hats for general wear
1 dressy afternoon hat
1 evening wrap

3 slips
1 evening slip
4 brassieres
6 pairs of bloomers, step ins or shorts
6 vests (if you wear them)
2 dance sets (for evening wear)
6 nightgowns or pajamas
2 sets of silk and wool underwear for sports wear
6 pairs of silk hose
2 pairs of sports hose
2 pairs of evening hose
1 pair of street shoes
2 pairs afternoon shoes
2 pairs evening slippers (to match dresses)
4 pairs of suede, kid or fabric gloves
2 pairs of white kid gloves (for formal afternoon wear)
1 pair long white kid gloves for evening wear
2 dozen handkerchiefs
2 bags for street costume
evening bag.

The average bride will also need 3-4 house dresses, 2 or 3 tea aprons, and one large apron for kitchen work. The bride who expects to entertain women friends extensively and who moves in an extravagant set should also have a tea gown or lounging pajamas.

I wonder what the men brought with them?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's a lot of stuff! I don't even know if I have that much stuff to wear in a year.