The Bride Wore Broadcloth: Marilyn’s ‘Rebellious’ Wedding

The ‘informal and lowkey’ suit worn by Marilyn at her January 1954 wedding to Joe DiMaggio at San Francisco’s City Hall is featured in Hope Coke’s list of The Most Rebellious Society Wedding Dresses of All Time for Tatler. Marilyn, then on suspension from Twentieth Century Fox, didn’t wear white; and immediately after the ceremony, Joe was excommunicated by the Catholic Church (like Marilyn, he had been married once before.)

In other respects, though, her wedding outfit – designed by studio costumer Charles LeMaire, and sold at Sotheby’s for $29,000 in 1999 – was a surprisingly conservative choice, as Christopher Nickens wrote in his 2012 book, Marilyn In Fashion.

“Marilyn’s buttoned-to-the-neck, three-quarter-length suit was of chocolate brown broadcloth, relieved only by a white ermine collar and simple brooch. Its demureness caused as much comment as her daring necklines usually did. Where, reporters asked, was the customary Monroe oomph? Marilyn chose the suit in an effort to please her new husband, not the fourth estate. Joe didn’t wholly approve of her sexpot image, so she felt dignity was the way to go for this special moment in her groom’s hometown.”