Shopping for Vintage Wedding Dresses

November 16th. 2015

So you have your heart set on a vintage wedding dress? The bad news is, most genuine vintage wedding dresses are teeny tiny and usually beyond most modern shapes. But the good news is that vintage styles are so enduring that most designers will reference decades gone by with their own design, so you get the best of both worlds. Vintage style usually references the last 100 years of design, decade by decade, so we’ve compiled some of the most popular looks to help you in the search for ‘The One’ (the dress that is – you’ve already bagged the Fiance!)

1910-1920s: Easy To Wear Glamour
This period is characterised by the slim column style that was a direct rejection of the more restricted corset and bustle that was previously favoured. A the years went by the waist line dropped down until women were in full flapper mode with a waist below the bum! Silk and light satin were everywhere and usually cut on the bias with spots of embellishment throughout the dress and an abundance of accessories. Flapper brides loved the Juliet cap veil (as worn by Kate Moss on her wedding day) and a mix of pearl and diamante jewellery added plenty of pzazz.

The epitome of 1920s glamour this dress features a drop waist and all over sequin embellishment.

The epitome of 1920s glamour this dress features a drop waist and all over sequin embellishment.

1930-1940s: Simple yet stylish
The style around this period was a little more understated than the excesses of the previous decade with the onset of the war. Womenswear became more tailored to match the men and wedding dresses followed suit with more structured tops, sleeves, collars and buttons. While designers don’t follow this period to a tea, you will often see elements of this decade in simpler style wedding dresses.

This slipper satin dress is inspired by 1940s style, with its tailored top, simple finish and button neckline.

This slipper satin dress is inspired by 1940s style, with its tailored top, simple finish and button neckline.

1950s-60s: Turn the volume up
The war is over and one designer is bucking the trend for less is more with his New Look dresses: Dior. His circle skirts and abundance of fabrics means women are celebrating fashion again and this can be seen in bridal wear too. The full circle skirt is what we remember best about this decade. Shorter skirts liberate women’s legs as the Hippie movement takes hold and cinched waists are popular again. Thanks to influences such as Jackie Kennedy, there are still elements of tailoring with collars and sleeves making appearance, but brides are definitely having more fun with their wedding dresses.

A full circle skirt and chic tailoring in the silk organza jacket canbe found in this Lou Lou Dress, available at Lilac Rose Bridal.

A full circle skirt and chic tailoring in the silk organza jacket can be found in this Lou Lou Dress, available at Lilac Rose Bridal.

1960s-70s: Hippie Chic
Womenswear came fill circle during this period, rejecting the streamlined look of the previous few decades. Hippie brides turned to the empire lines, high necklines, puffed sleeves, tiered skirts and column silhouette of the Edwardian period, with heavy doses of folk, including florals, lace, and au naturel hair and make up. Modern reinventions of this trend have been labelled Boho, which relies heavily on the loose fluidity of these dresses as well as plenty of floral head wreaths and flapper style head bands to complete the look!

vintage wedding gowns in Ireland

The familiar high neck and empire line of 1970s style. Available at Lilac Rose Bridal.

1980s: Bigger is better
Understandably there are many elements of this decade that modernĀ  designers have avoided (shoulder pads anyone?) but there are certainly subtle references to be found in todays bridal design. Sheer backs and sweetheart necklines as we know them today made their first appearance in the 80’s, and are as popular as ever. The full prom dress, exposed boning (thanks Madonna) and off the shoulder necklines have also endured, as well as the decade’s love of big bows, big tulle and big flowers.

Rose Clara Soft off shoulder drop waist dress with delicate tulle skirt, pleated tulle bodice, lace trim and button back. Available at Lilac Rose Bridal now.

Rose Clara Soft off shoulder drop waist dress with delicate tulle skirt, pleated tulle bodice, lace trim and button back. Available at Lilac Rose Bridal now.

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2 comments on Shopping for Vintage Wedding Dresses

  1. Wedding in Ireland

    Every single dress is an amazing inspiration:)

  2. Nora Gallagher

    Now more and more people choose vintage wedding dresses for their big day.

    http://www.missydress.ie

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