A trousseau is the collection of items that a bride brought with her when she married. This often specifically referred to clothes and household linens. Making and collecting pieces for her trousseau was a common coming-of-age ritual for young women up until the 1950s, and young girls often started embroidering these linens years before they were married. The items were often stored in a hope chest or dowry chest until the wedding.
While the central focus of the clothes a trousseau would be bridal wear, evening wear and day wear would included as well. Clothes play a vital part in each sphere of a woman’s life, and this exhibit explores the faces of each of those spheres.