Unlike a good cocktail dress, which is designed to be a workhorse in a woman’s wardrobe, a white or cream-colored wedding dress need only dazzle its audience once. Unless, of course, it's a used wedding dress, either passed down from a beloved relative or picked up at auction or from a favorite vintage shop.
The trend for white wedding dresses started in 1840, with the union of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Prior to Victoria's wedding, most brides wore whatever fashionable hue they wanted, since they were likely to wear the dress on other occasions. Breaking with tradition, Victoria selected an elaborate white dress featuring a long train, a bridal veil, and a crown of white blossoms. Victoria's choice of white was viewed as quite conservative since it was historically the color for mourning (decades later, Victoria would make black the defacto mourning color when her beloved Albert died). However, mass-media coverage of her wedding made her style an instant sensation, influencing brides to this day.
At the beginning of the 20th century, with the Belle Epoque in full swing, Edwardian brides were synched into tight corsets, which were covered with wedding dresses made out of chiffon, lace, and taffeta. But by World War I, the practice of squeezing women into hourglass shapes was giving way to more natural looks. After the war, wedding dress hemlines had crept far enough off the ground to reveal a bride’s ankle.
Hemlines continued to rise throughout the 1920s, producing wedding dresses that were relatively revealing in the front with a flowing train in the back. Dresses got long again in the ’30s, were generally straight, and for the first time were equipped with a detachable train, which allowed a bride to take her solemn walk down the aisle but then cut a rug on the dance floor after.
The 1940s was a schizophrenic decade when it came to fashion, and wedding dresses were no exception. During the war years, wedding gowns followed the overall trend of boxy, broad shouldered, military silhouettes. By the late ’40s, though, all bets were off as miles of previously rationed fabrics were lavished on wedding dresses and gowns. In some cases, wedding dresses were even made from silk salvaged from surplus parachutes.
Wedding dresses returned to full femininity again in the 1950s, with tight waists and full skirts below. Sleeve styles ranged from full length to almost none at all, while necks could be left open or collared. These varied looks remained consistent into the next decade, except for those adventurous brides who chose to be married in short numbers that ended well above their knees. By the 1970s, some women dispensed with the wedding dress altogether, trading tradition for the sophisticated look of an Yves Saint Laurent white tuxedo-jacket suit.
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Recent News: Wedding Dresses
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Woman finds wedding gown thought lost to Hurricane SandyNew York Post, July 30th
A Staten Island woman miraculously found her wedding dress in the window of a dry cleaner nearly two years after she thought it had been washed away by Hurricane Sandy. Nicole Pagliaro, 30, took her beloved vintage wedding dress to South Beach ...Read more
How to have fun with photography at your weddingTelegraph.co.uk, July 29th
3. Timewarp. For a touch of nostalgia, hang vintage wedding photographs of family members around the venue or create a focal point by designating a table to display them. Alternatively, you could string pictures on a washing line or hang them from trees...Read more
ONLY ON SUNRISE: Vintage wedding dresses help seniors rememberWEAU, July 23rd
Menomonie, WI (WEAU) - Wedding season has arrived and one local nursing home is taking a trip down memory lane. Vintage wedding dresses and photos are now helping senior citizens recall, long-buried memories. "People are getting up and are like ...Read more
Vintage wedding had country-inspired themeGladstone Observer, July 20th
Kym Thomson and Jayson Hannant on their wedding day at Mount Larcom. KELLIE BLINCO PHOTOGRAPHY. KYM Thomson and Jayson Hannant's wedding day was nothing short of beautiful. The couple, who met at the Mount Larcom show, were married ...Read more
A Lady Gaga wifey? The singer spotted vintage wedding dress shopping with ...Mirror.co.uk, July 8th
Marry The Night! Gaga is spotted shopping for wedding dresses in Canada with her mother Cynthia, prompting speculation she could be set to tie the knot with long-term boyfriend Taylor Kinney. Share; Share; Tweet; +1; Email. Marry The Night! Gaga...Read more
How to Plan a Vintage WeddingWedding News, July 4th
Where Brides and Grooms can opt to centre their whole wedding on the vintage feel many choose to simply pepper their celebration with vintage-inspired trinkets, taking a minimal approach to decoration. Although vintage is old fashion it never dates, ...Read more
These Vintage Brides And Grooms Are The Epitome Of Old-School CoolHuffington Post, July 2nd
Our grandparents could certainly teach us all a thing or two about style, glamour and timeless beauty. And while they embodied many of these qualities on a daily basis -- in the clothes they wore, the way they spoke and how they styled their hair...Read more
Exhibit features wedding gown fashions from 1800s to todayGlobalnews.ca, July 2nd
Wedding dresses from the 19th century to now are featured in a new exhibit showcasing the evolving styles of American brides with more than 40 wedding gowns worn over a span from 1844 to last year. AP Photo/LM Otero ...Read more