Dresses by Decade
Fashioning St. Louis, Collecting and Resources. unCommon Threads: Stories of Missouri Brides. Missouri History Museum.Preserving, Collecting and Resources. unCommon Threads: Stories of Missouri Brides. Missouri History Museum.

Fashioning St. Louis

Satin Wedding Gown
“I have said my gowns were the most beautiful in the world.
I meant it then. I mean it now.”
--Samuel Harbison, 1946

Women have long pursued fashionable dress for everyday and special occasions. One might think that living in the midwest would limit a woman’s options when it came to finding the most up-to-date and fashionable wedding dress. But the reality is that St. Louis has a history of accomplished dressmakers, designers, and retailers offering women every option available when it comes to finding the best wedding dres

Cream Silk Wedding Dress

The Slater Sisters
Mary Slater worked out of her home as a dressmaker before moving her business to Washington Avenue in 1893. Several years later her sister Grace joined her in the business, which specialized in hats and wedding and evening gowns.

Mr. Harbison
Samuel Harbison began his fashion career in a department store in Neosho, MO. In 1902, at the insistence of his friend Richard Scruggs, he moved to St. Louis and took up residnece as the fashion designer for Scruggs-Vandervoort-Barney, a position he maintained for 45 years.



Directoire Style Wedding GownThe Schultz Sisters
Sisters Pauline and Ottillie Schultz worked as dressmakers in St. Louis around 1900. Much like the Slater Sisters, they originally workd out of their home on Cherokee Street before moving to 4650 Grand Avenue.

Organza Wedding Dress

Bridal Originals
In 1948, Jake and Vincent Nania began Bridal Originals, a small St. Louis company employing 30 people in the wedding and special occasion dress business. By 1906 the company had moved to a factory at Washington Avenue and 10th Street, where it employed more than 400 people and had one of the country’s largest plants specializing in ready-to-wear bridal clothing.


Washington AvenueWashington Loft District. St. Louis.
With a spot on the National Register of historic places the Washington Avenue Loft District in downtown St. Louis is an American treasure. Once the heart of nineteenth and early twentieth century garment and shoe production in St. Louis, the Italianate and Romanesque buildings that line the city streets have now been turned into artist and luxury lofts.




Visit Museum Exhibition Share Your Memories View Press Materials See traditional wedding gifts, accessories, and trousseau items. Dresses from 1800-1850 Dresses from 1800-1850 Dresses from 1850-1900 Dresses from 1850-1900 Dresses from 1900-1950 Dresses from 1900-1950 Dresses from 1950-2007 Dresses from 1950-2007