We’re going pretty far back this Friday straight in to the 1880s with some beautiful bridal fashion illustrations taken from Godey’s Lady’s Book, one of the most popular and widely circulated magazines pre-Civil War. This well-known magazine was marketed mostly to women, and contained fashion illustrations such as the ones featured here in almost every issue. Godey’s also catalogued dress trends at the beginning of every issue, making them a great historical source for finding out more about the fashion of the late 1800s.
Godey’s covered trends from every day wear to bridal fashion. You can see from these illustrations that this was a rather conservative time for clothing, where women were covered from neck to feet and wore gloves to most functions. Despite these restraints, silhouettes were rather grand, and the skirts of many dresses were adorned with frills, bows, and intricate designs. Hats were also popular, many grandly decorated with feathers, flowers, and ribbon.
It might difficult for one nowadays to imagine wearing the style of wedding dress that was popular during this period. Long sleeves, large skirts, layers upon layers of frills and other intricate needlework, long trains, and of course long veils. This was also the time when white wedding dresses started to become tradition, as many scholars believe it began when Queen Victoria wore a white dress to her wedding in 1840, which was documented and widely circulated by the press. Regardless of how cumbersome and tight-laced the styles may appear, it’s hard to deny that the fashion had a sense of elegance and class.