The word trousseau derives from the French trousse, and refers to the bundle which the bride took to her new home in olden times. It now means the bride’s outfit of lingerie, clothes, jewelry and so on, part of which will be subscribed as gifts by friends, the balance being bought by the bride herself.
From the time of her engagement, the average bride is continually busy preparing her “bottom drawer “. At one time brides laid in large stocks of underwear and clothing of every description, but today such elaborate trousseaux would prove sources of embarrassment, as their owners would find themselves saddled with hopelessly outdated garments.
The modern plan is to have only what is necessary to carry the bride through the first year of married life.
In preparing her lingerie trousseau, the bride will be guided by the gifts that she has received from her friends. The most important part of the lingerie is the bridal set – negligee, nightgown, slip and panties. The bride should also have a second-best set, and a tailored set, suitable for everyday wear. Also the bride must remember not to send her lingerie to a laundry, where it would be ruined.
Bed linen is the most important part of the bride’s linen trousseau. Good quality sheets and pillow cases should be bought, and most of the sheets should be white.
The minimum requirements are: five sheets per bed and four pillow cases for each pillow; half a dozen face and bath towels; four dishcloths; six kitchen towels, plus glass and roller towels.
One linen tablecloth and four napkins are sufficient for the dinner table, with a damask cloth for best.
When choosing clothes for her trousseau, the bride should take into consideration the clothes which she already possesses, together with any special requirements which her new life may demand. She should exercise great care in her buying, and she should be careful to avoid the purchase of too many “fashionable” garments – which might be quite unfashionable the following season.
She should try to build up a wardrobe of clothes which match one another, for a careful color scheme makes even the smallest trousseau attractive.
If she is spending her honeymoon on a sea-voyage, this must be reflected in the bride’s purchases, while quite a different wardrobe would be required if she is spending her honeymoon camping out.
Apart from her “going-away” outfit, the bride should take a tweed or woolen coat and tweed suit, afternoon dresses and evening gowns, two twin sets, swim suit and beach hat – the last if the weather is likely to be warm.
Comfortable traveling shoes, town and evening shoes, suitable hats, gloves and handbags complete the honeymoon ensemble.
Several cotton and silk dresses are usually sufficient for the summer months. In spring and autumn, a suit should be worn. It is always wise to include one or two thin woolen dresses to guard against a change in the weather.