Title: Wedding Outfit

Date: ca. 1900
Culture: Osage (Great Plains, North America)
Credit: Gift of Fred and Monte Eiserman
Material: Wool, silk, satin
Size: 95” H
On View: No

Osage bride outfits are one of the most unique cultural expressions in North America. The outfit starts with a traditional, wrapped skirt adorned with ribbon-work. The bride adds an elaborate, military-inspired coat complete with piping, epaulets, and contrasting colored cloth. The coat is secured in place by a finger-woven yarn sash. The ensemble also includes a pair of Osage moccasins and a top hat, complete with feathers and a German silver hat band.

According to oral traditions, women began wearing these outfits after their husbands were presented with military coats during visits to Washington, D.C. Supposedly, the coats were too small for the men to wear and they gave them to their wives. At some point, the coats became heirlooms and gained prestige, which ultimately led to them being worn during wedding ceremonies as an indication of the family’s status.