Family Photograph

For this blog post I’ll be concentrating on my mother’s attire on her wedding day – 31st August 1987.

Fig. 1 – Mother’s Wedding Outfit (1987)

My mother wore a white dress made of “satin and voile” (Dookanwala, 2016) which had purple embroidery on it. The significance of the purple is only there to state it was her favourite colour. “I did not buy the dress ready made because we couldn’t afford it.” (Dookanwala, 2016) Instead my mother bought material she liked and had it sewn by one of her friends – a semi-professional seamstress. The inspiration for the dress came from Pronuptia – a brand who specialised in wedding dresses.

Fig. 2 – V-Cut Detail (1987)
Fig. 3 – V-Cut Detail (Pronuptia, 1987)











The bodice of the dress was made out of satin and had a “v-line shape at the waist ever so slightly” (Dookanwala, 2016), which was only visible when looking at her from a side view due to the bouquet.

My mother “wasn’t actually going to be having a bouquet” (Dookanwala, 2016), partly due to the extra expense so when she had the dress made she added the v-cut because “the style of dress was appropriate” (Dookanwala, 2016). The bouquet my mother ended up holding is from two years beforehand when my grandmother’s youngest sister got married. “She suggested I could have hers to borrow so I took her up on it.” (Dookanwala, 2016) It’s known as a “bouquet of tumbling roses” (Worsley, 2000, p. 67) or a “loose cascade bouquet” (Worsley, 2000, p. 288). These were in fashion at the time and proves to be a “romantic option for a traditionally dressed bride” (Worsley, 2000, p. 288). A similar style of bouquet was also chosen for two of my aunties in the 20th century.

My grandparents were strict when my mother got married and they were going through “hard times” (Dookanwala, 2016), they “didn’t have a lot of money” (Dookanwala, 2016) and so there were many restrictions in terms of what they would spend money on and where they could save money by using alternative options.

Fig. 5 – Hair Piece (Pronuptia, 1987)
Fig. 4 – Hair piece and bouquet (1987)










My mother and her friend got together to make the hair piece attached to her scarf. The hair piece is made out of ribbon and beaded stems. “Flowers, embroidery, ribbons and beading can be added to a plain veil to provide interest; it is particularly effective when worn with a plain dress.” (Worsley, 2000, p. 290) The majority of my mother’s dress was plain with detail on the bottom half of the skirt. Her choice for the veil then helped to “complete the outfit” (Dookanwala, 2016) and made it feel more cultural. She couldn’t find a matching scarf so she had it embroidered in India; hence the embroidery is different in style and colour to the voile used on the dress.

My mother’s wedding dress is in the style of an A-Line which “has a fitted bodice and flared skirt.” (Delamore, 2005, p. 94) By definition the A-Line has a “horizontal seam at the waist” (Delamore, 2005, p. 94), however my mother’s was adapted to have a v-cut on the waist which can be looked at as an “antique” (Parker, 2013, p. 313). This is a very classic style of dress and it is “as popular now as it was 50 years ago.” (Delamore, 2005, p. 94)

Fig. 6 – Lace-edged frill (1987)
Fig. 7 – Lace-edged frill (Pronuptia, 1987)








The skirt was “fully gathered with as much material as we could spare” (Dookanwala, 2016). The dress was three-quarters length as the material she chose was “end of the line” (Dookanwala, 2016) and she “liked it too much” (Dookanwala, 2016) so she made the sacrifice of having it short. This gave it more of an Indian look as she is wearing churidaar trousers with it. These are like leggings but made to gather up at the ankle so they are purposefully made longer. The voile had a “lace-edged frill” which was very popular in the 1980s – Princess Diana also wore this on her wedding (Rokit, 2016).

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Fig. 8 – Leg-of-Mutton Sleeves (1987)
Fig. 9 – Leg-of-Mutton Sleeves (Pronuptia, 1987)












In a time period where “everything was big” (G, 2007), her sleeves were “leg-of-mutton” (Dookanwala, 2016) which are “puff to the elbow and slim to the wrist.” (Delamore, 2005)

She wore open-toed heels and wore gold jewellery including a necklace, earrings, bracelet and bangles.

In the 1980s it was common to have this style of dress. However, the way it was made up and the cultural additions make it more unusual to be seen both in the UK and in India. My mother would have liked to wear a proper English dress for her wedding but circumstance and financial issues didn’t allow for it. At the time in India, “brides wore a more traditional lengha suit. If I was in India I definitely wouldn’t have worn white.” (Dookanwala, 2016)


DELAMORE, P. (2005) The Wedding Dress: A Sourcebook. London: Pavilion Books.
DOOKANWALA, R.B. (2016) ‘Wedding Dress’. Interview with Khadija Dookanwala for Family Photograph, .
JULIE (2000) More 80s Fashion and Music. Available at: (Accessed: 2016).
PARKER, S. (2013) ‘Fashioning Michael Field: Michael Field and Late-Victorian Dress Culture’, Journal of Victorian Culture: JVC, 18(3), p. 313.
ROKIT (2016) The History of the Wedding Dress. Available at: (Accessed: 2016).
WORSLEY, H. (2000) The White Dress. London: Laurence King Publishing.

Image References

Fig. 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 – Home Photos
Fig. 3, 5, 7, 9 – PRONUPTIA (1987) Available at: (Accessed: 2016).

 Word Count: 768


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