The treasured trousseau - Bridal lingerie fashion by Vicky Pepys

PUBLISHED: 22:35 19 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:38 20 February 2013

Rigby & Peller
Silk ruffle bra sizes 30D to 36G and pants sizes S-XL, £89.95 each by Rigby & Peller

Rigby & Peller Silk ruffle bra sizes 30D to 36G and pants sizes S-XL, £89.95 each by Rigby & Peller

Bridal lingerie will flatter, emphasise and disguise all at the same time. Create the perfect foundation and you wear the dress. <br/>Words by Vicky Pepys

So much to think about. So much to do. So much to organise. Sso much to forget/deliberately ignore/decide its just not you?

Whatever your role in a wedding - as the bride, the bridesmaid, the friend, the mum, the auntie, theres a code - a dress code of what to wear and when to wear it and a choice of how you put the whole look together.

A Trousseau was, and is, much more evocative

For the bride particularly, the bridal outfit (and her honeymoon wardrobe) is something that requires thought and much preparation and it has much more in common with interior rather than fashion design.

Any painter and decorator will say preparation is key. The preparation of wood before the first application of primer, the first and secondary coats of undercoat followed by the glossstarts to sound sensible doesnt it?

When you think that when wearing the most beautiful dress in the world on the wedding day, the underwear must have the right structure (and mechanics) to hold us in shape to look picture perfect. The fact that our structured underwear used to be known as foundation garments tells us something, doesnt it?

Bridal underwear used to be part of a traditional Trousseau.

From as early as the Middle Ages young girls were given fabric as gifts to make their Trousseau, traditionally stored in a Hope chest. They began to sew and make items for this, the soft and more personal equivalent of a bottom drawer.

We all know what a bottom drawer is (any domestic object for setting up house) but a Trousseau was and is much more evocative. Its a very personal and treasured collection of garments which include a bridal dress, a selection of nightgowns, intimate apparel and finely prized household linens. It marked the transition from girl-to-woman.

By the Edwardian times a Trousseau became a little more sophisticated. Yards of silks given as gifts became chemises, demure nightdresses, a collection of day and evening dresses for the honeymoon as well as towels, sheets and finely embroidered tablecloths.

Yet still.and we dont want to scare modern day bridesone was expected to sew these items unless, of course, one had a seamstress about the house!

We are no longer given bolts of fabric and expected to stitch and the full trousseau is dictated by personal choice, budget and season but bridal lingerie remains a very personal choice and purchase.

Underwear must have the right structure (and mechanics) to hold us in shape to look picture perfect

It is as important as the bridal gown and will dictate how well the dress eventually fits the body; the piece or pieces (unless inbuilt into the dress design) will flatter, emphasise and disguise all at the same time. Create the perfect foundation and you wear the dress rather than the dress wearing you.

Be prepared when your chosen vendeuse asks that you take your bridal lingerie (and sometimes shoes as well) to dress fittings which can be almost a year in advance.

Its only when the dress begins to take shape on you that you can envisage how to style it with accessories. Less is definitely more.

The wedding handbag is creeping up in popularity. Brides have always relied on the chief bridesmaid for lip gloss and hankie but these pretty little bags are practical, something of an emotional prop and easily passed and eagerly held by the little flower girls!

Many brides admit to buying shoes first and then looking for the dress to match knowing how difficult the perfect shoes can be to find at the best of times. There are no specific rules but in order to keep smiling and jolly (think of all those cameras; YouTube and Twitter contributors) comfort is key.

Wedding shoe specialists as opposed to (fashion and high street) designer ranges have a variety of pale shades in fine satins and are often in half sizes too; an extra half size when youre on your feet all day can make all the difference.

Veil, hair band, hair decorations? Again, pictures of your dress taken well in advance to discuss with your chosen hairdresser will help you (and them) prepare the final styles.

Your new pre-wedding mantra? Dont put off till tomorrow what can be done today. Dont put off till next week what can be done this week. Dont put off till next month what can be done this monthand prepare to experience the very best day of your life.


Ayten Gasson is at Boudoir, Darlington: Flirtatious, Eldon Garden, Newcastle and
Charnos is at House of Fraser. Other stockists Tel: 08701 646356
Confetti by Panache is at Tel: 08444 932932
Emmanuelle by Fauve is at Petals, Hexham.
Diane Hassall and Rachel Simpson shoes are online at Tel: 08450 730033
Julianne is at Tel: 08701 646356
LK Bennett is at Fenwick Ltd and
Occasion by Elomi is at Petals, Hexham.
Olivier Laudus is online at Tel: 0208 374 1239
Rigby & Peller at Tel: 0845 0765545
Simone Prle is at The Boudoir, Darlington and Petals, Hexham
Triumph is at Satin & Silk Guisborough; Lady J Durham; Collinsons, Consett; Lillian Bateman, Whitley Bay, Petals, Hexham, Rutherfords, Morpeth and Silk & Sand, Alnwick Tel: 017937 20300
Rosie Willet designs (and Lara and Faye shoes) are at The Wedding Dress Company, Corbridge Tel: 01434 634444

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