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October 14, 2009


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The inclusion of the seaside dress has me wondering if it's actually a nautical reference -- the lacing is certainly reminiscent of sail lacings...

FIDM Museum

You make a great point! The lacing is certainly reminiscent of sail lacing, but would that same reference be made in a more formal wedding dress? I wonder...

Becky D

I love love LOVE this dress. Your illumination of its dual personalities is wonderful. It's chaste, but alluring.

I am curious about the triangular shapes of the top hem and the collar. To me, it's almost patchworky feeling...like maybe the two personalities of the dress are meant also to illustrate how marriage weds a resourceful woman to noble purpose. Am I nuts?

FIDM Museum

Interesting observation, Becky. The triangular shapes around the neck of this dress have always reminded me of teeth...like jaws (or a toothed trap) closing on her neck! You interpretation is much kinder and more positive. I did a little research and found another dress from the same time period with similar trim. It's bit hard to see, but enlarge the image and you can clearly see similar trim around the neckline and cuffs.


Really fine antique dress for wedding and I have an idea about it to make dress like this design for my wedding in march. It is looking like a queen's dress. Thanks for post.


The dress is simply exquisite. I agree the lace is visually striking and beautiful. I must research the museum collections associated with Doris Langley Moore. Thank you for sharing such timeless information with your readers.


Doris Langley Moore exploded the myth of the 18-inch waist, which almost all Victorian women were supposed to have had, by measuring over 200 surviving dresses and bodices. Her survey revealed that the average 19th century waist measurement sat comfortably within the 20-30 inch range.

pat-photographer brighton

Speaking as a wedding photographer in the UK, we do occasionally get brides who wear vintage wedding dresses belonging to there grandmother's and occasionally much older. They really do make a fantastic change from modern wedding dresses which somehow seem less stylish. I suppose this is to do with the huge amount of work and skill that went into a quality wedding dress back in the Victorian era, skills which I imagine have died out in recent times. Interesting article, thanks. Pat

Chris @ wedding planning guide

I have a photo of my great grandmother getting married in a very similar dress around 1865 in Hamburg/Germany. It also has ribbons down the front, allthough they just come down to the (incredibly small) waist.

My mom told me that the material for this dress (a heavy kind of silk) was imported form Japan, where an uncle was working for a bank in Yokohama...


Wow,wedding dresses have indeed been to a lot of transformations. While brides of yesteryears were fully clothed, nowadays brides bare out more skin.

Caitlin @ Backlinker

Wow! That is a gorgeous dress! I love the intricate details from its pocket. I never thought wedding dresses from ages ago would be this beautiful because the details are hardly shown from the photographs.

Abbie Rich

Maybe the bride was marrying a sailor, having a seaside wedding, or wanted a nautical theme - the heavy lacing against that ecru color certainly reminds me of sails

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