Blog: Forgotten Words!
by kerminator

Why white Wedding Gowns

The white gown symbolized prosperity, virginity and a lifetime commitment to one person. For most people but today, those meanings are gone.


Date:   10/12/2020 7:28:32 PM   ( 6 mon ) ... viewed 506 times


Although the first records of brides garbed in white reach far back into the annals of history, it only became standard fashion over last 80 years. With the arrival of ready-to-wear clothing, brides could order affordable, mass-produced gowns based on sample sizes that were then fitted for them: a custom-made gown at a ready-to-wear price. A large, traditional wedding with the bride outfitted in a princess-style white wedding gown became a symbol of the American dream.

From WWII through the end of the 20th century, the white gown symbolized prosperity, virginity and a lifetime commitment to one person. For most people today, those meanings are gone.

White is now the overwhelming choice for most American brides, with 4 out of 5 choosing to walk down the aisle in a white gown, a sort of bridal uniform. It has become an iconic symbol of weddings, an expected part of the celebration, and despite knowing the relatively short history of the tradition of a white wedding, it was my choice as well.

Marlise Schoeny is the Assistant Curator for the Ohio State Historic Costume & Textiles Collection, as well as a lecturer in the Fashion Retail Studies program at The Ohio State University.

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