Vintage style wedding dresses are a firm trend in the world of bridalwear fashion. For many, the idea of vintage wedding gowns conjures up an image of a demure lace dress with pearls and a veil, but the term ‘vintage’ covers over fifty years of fashion, and the choices are almost limitless!
Vintage style draws on the elegance and iconography of many different eras, from the flappers of the 20s to the hippy chicks of the 60s, the glamour of the 30s and electronica of the 80s. Whatever era your choose, take your inspiration from dress styles, accessories, music, films and jewellery to complete your wedding outfit. Why not mix and match your vintage style with a contemporary twist to really make your bridal outfit your own?
Here’s a quick guide to the main vintage looks you’re likely to find in a vintage bridalwear store:
20s design began to move away from restrictive clothing like corsets and introduced low waists, higher hemlines, lace and beaded detailing and straight-cut sillhouettes.
30s fashion was all about elegance and glamour – think of the classic movie stars with waved hair, figure-hugging silky gowns and smoky eye makeup.
The 40s were inspired by the military, adding a tailored look to suit dresses and knee-length hemlines. Pill box hats with veils were very popular during the 40s and 50s.
50s style was split between demure femininity and the freedom of rock ‘n’ roll! Try a 50s style short wedding dress with a full skirt and dance the night away!
Fashion branched out in many directions during the 60s, but iconic styles include mod, cocktail dresses and of course, flower power.
For a 70s look, go for a free-flowing maxi Grecian style gown or the opposite end of the scale with a mini dress.
To create a vintage look, first decide on your era, or the type of wedding dress you are after. Vintage wedding gowns vary from floor length, ankle length, tea-length and even shorter! The style is up to you – perhaps you’re inspired by your venue, or a classic film, book or celebrity. Browse antique shops and vintage markets for little touches for your reception and accessories to truly give your wedding a vintage feel. A simple wedding gown can be made ten times more impressive with the right shoes, jewellery, headwear and accessories! And don’t forget your groom – there are plenty of different styles of suit and menswear to choose from in order to match your vintage look.
Brides that want to have a classic wedding should look into vintage wedding dresses. A lot of vintage dresses are timeless, but still have something a little extra that makes it special. Sure the hottest dresses of the season that grace the covers of bridal magazines look great, but if you are looking for something a little more out of the ordinary, you might get it with a vintage gown.
There is such a broad spectrum of vintage wedding dresses, because each decade dating back to the early 20th century has a style that can still be current if worn correctly. In the early 1900’s the style was Edwardian, with long trains and veils to match. The silhouette is usually ball gown or A-line, the perfect dress for a bride who wants to look like a princess. By 1910 the empire waist dress became a big hit, everyone wanted to wear the dress with the higher waistline. Flapper style wedding dresses were iconic in the 1920’s. they were shorter and looser than dresses prior. Hats were the big accessory in the 30’s, worn with a slender collar dress.
Due to the war, wedding dresses in the 1940’s was nothing to write home about. The 1950’s gave rise to gowns with long sleeves and high necklines. Then came the 60’s, a decade that completely changed the way brides walked down the aisle. Cute above the knee length dresses were all the rage. That’s when these dresses became more fun and flirty.
Vintage wedding dresses of the 70’s and 80’s might be a little harder to accept in this decade. The reason is they were completely outrageous and will make you look outdated. Unless you are having a wedding theme related to those decades, you should find a vintage dress that is a little more classic. In the 1970’s brides were really into ruffled Victorian necklines and either balloon or bat-wing sleeves. The 1980’s were known for big hair that went with big dresses. Some of that carried into the 90’s, but for the rest of the 90’s until now, wedding dresses have remained pretty classic with a few modern touches such as one shoulder or halter.
There are a number of places you can go to look for vintage wedding dresses. Go to a couple of second hand stores around you to start with. Always ask the clerk if they carry any wedding dresses, because sometimes the dress it too big to be hung outside. Never assume the store does not have it if it is not out on display. Sometimes a family member will have a vintage dress that they’d like to pass down to you. Take a look to see if it has potential, these things can be modified if you can find a seamstress who knows how to work on wedding dresses. You can also try auction websites online, keep your eyes open for good deals.