Bridal Fashion History

Something Old, Something New..

Every bride looks for her “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” to include in her wedding attire.  However, not everyone knows why they follow this tradition.  Also, few know the saying continues with “…and a silver sixpence in her shoe.”  With so many brides planning, and putting so much emphasis, on their wedding attire to satisfy this old English rhyme it is interesting to discover where and how this tradition began and why it has such an influence on modern brides.


The saying “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe,” is repeated and followed for good luck.  Originating during Victorian times, each something signified an importance in the bride’s life. 


The something old represented the connection with the bride’s past, including her family ties.  Many brides today wear a piece of jewelry considered a family heirloom. 


The something new represents a new life and is said to bring good fortune.  Today, the bridal gown is usually used as the new item.  Wearing a new item on your wedding day expresses the message that you and your husband are creating a new union that will endure forever. 


The something borrowed represents the still present family ties.  Although the bride is now starting her new family, her past family and friends will always be there for her.  Today, many brides borrow something from friends, such as a veil or jewelry to signify this bond. 


The something blue represents the loyalty, love, and faithfulness the new couple will provide to each other.  This tradition is first seen in ancient Rome.  The Virgin Mary was often dressed in blue, representing purity.  In the 19th century, wedding gowns were often worn in blue which started another proverb, “Marry in blue, lover be true”.  The color blue was then associated with this virtue and now often seen on the garter. 


And finally, the most forgotten part of the rhyme, the silver sixpence in her shoe.  The father of the bride would give her a silver sixpence, a British coin minted in the 16th century and equal to about six pennies.  The only place to put it was in her shoe.  This exchange was to bring the bride wealth, both monetarily and in happiness with her new husband. 


Today, many do not follow this tradition.  Silver sixpences are no longer available as currency, so the tradition disappeared with the silver sixpence.  This tradition could be seen to have taken on a new form of a wedding budget.  Now, instead of the parents giving the bride a silver sixpence, they give her a budget for her wedding.


Not all, but most traditions have stayed strong through the years.  Brides today consider the “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” traditions within their wedding attire.  Whatever traditions you follow, make sure there is meaning behind them.  A wedding is such a special day, simple traditions add to the importance and the significance the love between the new couple, friends, and family.


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