What is a trousseau, I hear you ask. Well, this is what it says in the dictionary:
“trous•seau, n. [French, from Old French, diminutive of trousse, bundle. See truss.] The possessions, such as clothing and linens, that a bride assembles for her marriage.”
Apparently, in days of old, young women would excitedly put together a trousseau. They would gather stuff for their new married life in something called a “hope chest”.
The booty would include jewellery, lingerie, toiletries and makeup, and bed lines and bath towels for their new homes.
And since Victorian times, this bride-to-be treasure chest would include new outfits to wear on the honeymoon and during the first days of newly-wedded bliss.
It was a big deal for some. Victorian writer James D McCabe wrote the following about high society trousseaus in his 1872 guidebook Lights and Shadows of New York Life:
“The society woman must have one or two velvet dresses which cannot cost less than $500 each. She must possess thousands of dollars worth of laces, in the shape of flounces, to loop up over the skirts of dresses… Walking dresses cost from $50 to $300; ball dresses are frequently imported from Paris at a cost of from $500 to $1,000.”
It all seems a bit over the top if you ask me.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I’ve been gathering together my own trousseau, in preparation for my honeymoon.
It’s mainly just clothes and shoes, though – since me and J already live together I don’t need bed linen or bath towels.
As far as I was concerned I was just shopping for honeymoon stuff – till my friend Mulenga pointed out there was this fancy term for it. I didn’t realise it was this big tradition.
We are lucky enough to be having a lovely beach honeymoon. (And more on that later) So at first I just thought I would make do with last season’s summer wear.
But then my lovely mother-in-law Linda offered to take me shopping. What did I do to deserve her?
I’m not massively into labels so I stuck to the High Street – H&M, Zara, Mango etc. Your money goes so much further that way. No $500 velvet dresses for me.
And I’m certainly not keeping my new purchases in a hope box. But I’m thrilled with them just the same. All I need to do now is sort out some good books to read on the ebach and I’m all sorted.
Above I’m wearing: Left picture: Culottes (approx €25.00), top (€4.99) and scarf (€7.99) H&M, Shoes (approx €20) Musgo
Centre (Maxi dress, €24.99 Oysho, shoes: £35.00 Kurt Geiger
Right: Playsuit: €29.99, H&M, Shoes approx €30, Zara