Many of you asked to see more of the wedding dress collection yesterday.
We have a room in the museum called the Toggery. It is filled with clothing and hats. One area has vintage white/off white wedding dresses, hats and veils. Another area has wedding dresses that are dark colors. I do not have photos of the dark dresses..perhaps next summer I will take more photos in this room. This room is tucked away in the back of the museum. It had heavy red theater style draperies to block out the sunlight. Last September this was one of the rooms that I insisted must have special window tinting to block out the UV rays. I was very happy to take down the heavy drapes, even though the north view is not wonderful, the natural light makes a big difference. This room also has some men’s clothing and some children’s gowns and a collection of shoes that make your feet hurt just looking at them. Most ladies and little girls enjoy their visit through this room.
White was not always the color of wedding gowns. In the late 1800’s black was a common color. Why? Because black was a practical color, it would not show the dirt and the dress could be worn again for special occasions. If you were a normal everyday person your wedding dress was black or some other suitable dark color. If your family had money then you would most likely have a white gown.
These photos were taken within a year or two of each other. Taken by brothers that were photographers in Fargo and Moorhead. * Note both photos feature the same style dress, large upper sleeves but tight sleeves down the arm. The brides are wearing a wedding bonnet that has been decorated with flowers and greens. Very fashionable for the years 1893 to 1895.
The waists are really tiny and women for the most part were much shorter than we are now. Their waists were tiny quite naturally and this tiny look was aided by corsets. Nutrition was not what it is today. Fresh vegetables and fruits were seasonal at best, and then stored for the winter. The gown pictured above has the pigeon breast style of the early 1900’s. ( Think bird.. heavy breasted in the front often achieved by stuffing paper in the front of a dress or blouse that had folds of extra fabric in the front..some people called this a monobosom.)
Many of the gowns need repair…careful repair. Some gowns are packed away in boxes under the display cabinets. This room needs to be adopted by a group of ladies or men and given some TLC. I am fundraising for more mannequins or dress forms for this room. A Legacy Grant was applied for and refused last year. They thought we should update our storage areas instead of displaying more clothing. Sometimes I think that only idiots review grants.
I took these photos because I was making a wedding card for my niece, so they are just bits and pieces of the collection. The entire collection needs to be photographed..just one of the many things on my to do list:)