Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bridal Lingerie and the Trousseau: Reviving a Romantic Tradition

Bridal lingerie can be a thoughtful and lovely gift for any bride. Today’s selection of bridal lingerie runs the gamut from classic and elegant to racy and revealing. While nowadays, we think nothing of giving these garments as a gift, the presentation of bridal lingerie has had significant symbolic meaning in the past.

In year’s past, bridal lingerie composed a significant part of the wedding trousseau of a bride to be. The collection of such items for the trousseau represented the symbolic transition from bride to wife and from girl to matron. In Victorian times, a trousseau was considered to be a symbol of wealth and status. In addition to walking dresses, teatime outfits and evening gowns, hand embroidered bridal lingerie was a major component of the bridal trousseau. A typical trousseau of a Victorian bride might include traveling dresses, gaming dresses (for outdoor wear), separate ensembles for breakfast, lunch and dinner, several opera gowns and bridal lingerie including muslin and silk robes, slippers, pantaloons and corsets. It was not inconceivable for a Victorian bride to change her outfit 4-5 times per day.

Outfitting a trousseau with bridal lingerie and other items was a fairly common tradition well into the twentieth century. For the elder women in the family, the creation of bridal lingerie was an expression of love and care for the bride to be. It was not uncommon for a mother to spend years preparing her daughter’s trousseau. A single item such as a robe or evening cap could take months to embroider. In particular, the robe was one particular piece of bridal lingerie that received special care. A mother might begin designing the pattern while her daughter was still in babyhood.

Today’s bridal lingerie has lost much of its symbolic appeal. The purpose now is to excite and titillate, not to express a change in status. Bridal lingerie of the past was soft and romantic, with the focus on fabric and detail and not on revealing the female form. However, as notions of sexuality and the marital relationship have evolved, it has become progressively more daring.

Creating a trousseau with your own bridal lingerie can be a wonderful way to remember your wedding. Although gathering a trousseau is a custom that harkens back to Victorian times, there is nothing to say that you have to be Victorian in your choice. You can put together an eclectic mix, each reflecting various facets of your own personality. If you really want to follow tradition, you can fill your trousseau with items of hand tailored bridal lingerie.

If you are having your wedding gown custom made, you may want to consult your tailor about creating several items of bridal lingerie in the same theme and style as your wedding dress. For example, if your wedding gown is soft and romantic, bridal lingerie in the same vein can be a lovely and romantic addition to your wedding ensemble. If your wedding gown is more sleek and modern, you may want to create a simpler design. As with any piece of custom made clothing, hand tailored bridal lingerie is likely to fit much better than anything store bought. However, although having your own custom made and tailored is a romantic touch, keep in mind that the cost can be prohibitive.

Creating a trousseau with your own bridal lingerie, whether purchased or handmade, is a wonderful way to revive a romantic tradition. Years later, you can look back on the wonderful memories that you have created with items that are near and dear to your heart.

Kelly Reyes is the resident author and editor of the lingerie blog at . Ample Pleasure carries a wide selection of plus size lingerie and is committed to provided a secure, luxurious shopping experience.

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