A friend of mine is getting married in June. Her mother and I, who happen to share a taste for 19th century chick lit (i.e., Anthony Trollope, Henry James and Edith Wharton), decided to resuscitate an old tradition for my friend’s bridal shower: the trousseau.
Like the modern wedding registry, the bridal trousseau was a gift of material goods for use in married life. But the similarity ends with monogrammed bed and bath linens. Instead of All Clad pots and Kitchen Aid cake mixers, the trousseau consisted of items personal to the bride. For a well-to-do bride, this meant an entire wardrobe of new clothes, including new underwear. According to Godey’s Lady’s Book, the most widely circulated women’s magazine in mid-19th century America, a proper trousseau included 10 different day and evening dresses, cloaks, bonnets, jewelry, French scarves, Indian shawls, Spanish lace mantillas, morning robes, breakfast jackets, and “the many beautiful little articles of lingerie, which add so materially to the attractiveness of the toilette.” Typically, the bride’s family paid for her trousseau.
For our modern update on the trousseau, we gave my friend a set of lingerie and sleepwear essentials for her wedding, honeymoon, home and professional life. Splitting the cost among her mother and four bridesmaids, it came to $88 per person, plus tax. (Not too bad for NYC, but of course you can adjust up or down depending on the bridesmaids’ budget.)
1. A chemise that can do double-duty as romantic sleepwear and a slip under a skirt suit or dress.
2. Dressy camisole is a go-to top on a honeymoon in a hot climate and the perfect underpinning for everyday suiting.
3. Who wants to worry about visible panty lines (VPL) on their Big Day?
4. Something blue.
5. The perfect match, now and forever (well, at least for a long time, if treated carefully).
6. Just for fun.
7. Sexy, beautiful, comfortable basics.