Event—Public Programming

What to Wear...to the Royal Wedding!


The upcoming wedding of His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales to American actress and Northwestern University alumna Meghan Markle has ignited anticipation in fashion circles around the world.

Threaded through the speculation of who will design the bridal gown, there is a lot of curiosity about the dress code for guests. Will men be instructed to wear Uniform, Morning Coat, or Lounge Suit? Will women conform to the formula of pastel dress and jacket, augmented by a truly fabulous hat? What does “morning dress” mean? What’s the fascination with fascinators? Where did these rules come from and why are they still in force?

Just in time to spruce up your wardrobe, this talk traces the origins of wedding wear conventions in a lighthearted overview of the decorum and dictates, the rule makers and breakers, and the most sensational fashion faux-pas from the time of Queen Victoria to the present day.

Download a PDF flyer for this event to post and distribute, and explore related Newberry collections with our Quick Guide.

Author Debra N. Mancoff explores the interconnections of art, fashion, and culture, with a focus on Britain. She is a Scholar-in-Residence at the Newberry Library, where she regularly teaches in the Seminars Program. Her newest book, The Face: Our Human Story, written for the British Museum, will be published later this year.

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Excuse our dust!!!

Beginning January 2018 the Newberry is undertaking renovation of much of the ground floor. Ruggles Hall will not be affected, but please check this link frequently for the latest conditions - which exterior doors are open or closed, where to find an accessible entrance, which restrooms are available, etc.