1882 Wedding Dress

Date: ca. 1882 - Material: Silk taffeta - Accession: 2001.191.1.067

Until the late 19th century and beyond, women traditionally married in their “Sunday best.” White wedding dresses were extravagances for the very wealthy because they could only be worn once. The narrow skirt and protruding bustle are emblematic of dresses of the early 1880s. The skirt has a draping overskirt and a narrow underskirt embellished with three rows of tiered box panels (accordion box pleats). The rear overskirt reaches the hem and forms a bustle in the middle of the back. The front of the overskirt has deep gathers on both sides forming an apron in front. The cuirass bodice has 21 fabric colored buttons for front closure, a high neck with evidence of broach marks, coat sleeves with cascading knife pleats on the outer half of the cuffs. The bodice has glazed cotton lining, and the back is embellished with pleated panel tabs. The dress shows much machine sewing.

Donated to the University of Illinois Bevier Historic Costume Collection by Mrs. James C. Anderson. Property transfer to the Illinois State Museum, 2001.