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 cinched 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.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

MyVintageVogue

MyVintageVogue

The history of 20th-century women’s fashion largely played out in the pages of magazines such as “Harper’s Ba… [read review or visit site]

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

The Fashion Columbia Study Collection (FCSC) is the digital home of the Columbia College Chicago’s fashion archiv… [read review or visit site]

1960s Fashion and Textiles

1960s Fashion and Textiles

Put on your go-go boots and check out this wavy, groovy tribute to 1960s fashion and textiles, courtesy of the Vict… [read review or visit site]

Vintage Fashion Guild

Vintage Fashion Guild

While primarily designed to steer buyers to online vintage clothing shops, this blog is chock full of interesting, … [read review or visit site]

Fashion-Era

Fashion-Era

Bursting at the seams with content, this site contains hundreds of pages of fashion and costume history, including … [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage 50s Original Lilli Diamond Chiffon Sequin Wiggle Dress Wedding 12 14 M Vtg 70s Ivory-white Lace Fiesta Mexico Wedding Boho Hippie Gypsy Maxi Dress MVintage 50s 60s Orignal 2 Piece Suit Wiggle Dress Jacket Blue Silk Wedding 8 10 Circa 1920 Wedding Tiara Wax FlowersFascinating Vintage Antique Late Edwardian 1910's Moire Silk Wedding Dress GownVintage 60s Original Harrods Full Length Beaded Wedding Dress 12 14 M L1920's Ivory Flappers Wedding Dress Silk Satin Alencon Lace Cap Wax Flowers Sz 8Antique Orange Blossom Wax Flower Tiara Headpiece Bridal Wedding Lace Net VeilVintage 50s Original Ballerina Length Wedding Dress Floral Sequins 8 10 S Antique Lace Ruffled Victorian Wedding Bridal Brides Dress Blouse Top Antique Aqua Silk Ribbonwork Pair Flapper Garters Wedding Ribbon Roses 1920s BoxVtg 60s 70s Floral Corset Boho Hippie Wedding Western Prarie Festival Maxi DressAntique Edwardian Wedding Silk Tulle Veil Wax Flowers Vines 1915 Bridal Flapper Vintage 60s Original Gold Wedding Dress With Train N Matching Bag 8 10 SFascinating Vintage Antique Late Edwardian 1910's Moire Silk Wedding Dress GownVtg 50s Nude Scallop Lace Beaded Mod Minimalist Pleated Mini Wedding Party DressVintage 1970s Cream Lace 2 Way Edwardian And 20s Style Wedding Dress - StunningVintage 70s Mexican Embroidered Wedding Flowers Boho Ethnic Hippie Dress CaftanAntique Lace And Satin Victorian Womens Fancy Bridal Dinner Dress Collectible Vtg 60s Ivory Empire Flocked Floral Juliet Sleeve Boho Hippie Wedding Maxi DressVintage 50s Original Cream Border Anglaise Dress W Blue Trim Wedding 10 12 S MVintage 40s 50s Original Lace Net Susan Small Full Length Wedding Dress 8 10 SVtg 70s Gunne Sax Red Velvet Baroque Victorian Hippie Bridal Maxi Dress 5 XsAntique Bridal Wedding Wax Flower Head Band Crown Tiara Head Dress Lovely! Vtg Oaxaca Mexican Folk Art Embroidered Blue Wedding Dress Ethnic Boho Hippie LVintage 50s 60s Original Wiggle Dress Wedding With Gold Floral Embroidery 8 10 SVtg 70s Baroque Maxi Dress Boho Hippie Bridal Gown Bridsmade Festival S-mAntique Bridal Head Piece PearlVtg 60s 70s Nos Robe White Sheer Dressing Gown Sleep Wedding Bridal Dress S-m50s White Net & Floral Embroidered Tiered Strapless Debutante Or Wedding Dress Gorgeous Vintage Flapper Era Style Wedding Veil With Satin Ribbons And FlowersAntique Ivory Satin Wedding Dress ? 1920sVintage 1960s White Long Polka Dot Wedding Dress With Stiff Underskirt -stunningVtg 50s 60s Vf Ivory Sheer Lace Nylon Bridal Wedding Sleep Dress Night Gown M Vtg Antique 40' S 50's Emma Domb Ivory Tulle Wedding Dress Shelf Bust Sz M 8Vtg 1950s Nude Pink Floral Embroidered Ribbons Full Skirt Party Wedding Dress 60s 70s Miss Elliette Vtg Aqua Blue 360" Chiffon Sweep Cocktail Wedding Dress MAntique Vintage 1947 Wax Flower Wedding Hairpiece Crown For Veil ~ My Mother'sNwot Underscore Xl Nylon Spandex Sissy Wedding White Support Girdle Vintage White Lace Renaissance Wedding Hippie Hobo Dress M-l1940s Chiffon White Wedding Rhinestone Party Cocktail Dress Tulle Taffeta Vintage 1970's Ivory Double Lined Wedding Gown Dress Sz SmallVintage New W/tags Lily Of France Peignoir Nightgown Set Bridal Lingerie Med/lgeElegant Vintage 1963 Wedding Veil W/ Floral Lace Pearl Encrusted Head Piece Vintage Bridal Headpiece Veil, And Ivory Satin Peplum Jacket And Skirt 1940's? Edwardian Wedding Bodice/waistAngel Vtg 50s Gorgeous Ivory Organza Fit+flare White Wedding/party Dress Xs/sWomens Gunne Sax Vintage Spring Wedding/garden Party Dress. 13. W/linerBridal White Satin Teddy Romper Panties All In One - Large - Excellent VtgWedding Dress With Train, Ivory Size 8Bride Wedding Gown Dress Candlelight Satin Alencon Lace Pearls Chapel Veil 8 10Vtg 60s Pearl White Silk Princess Coat Cape Bridal Dress Jacket Opera Coats MVtg Miss Swank Bridal Wedding White Bur Mil Satin 1940s Full Pin Up Slip Sz 38Vintage 70s Dress Cotton Maxi White Sheer Hippy Boho Wedding Festival EmbroiderdMagnificant Vintage Wedding Dress....size Small...1948 Xlint Condition CreamyKnit Wedding Vtg 60s Mod Cream White Crochet Hourglass Tank Sheath Dress MVintage Ivory Cap Bridal Veil Layered Tulle Head Piece Lace And Pearls1970s Nos With Tag Caressable Of Ca Dress -3x- Cotton Gauze ~ Beach Wedding50s 60s Silk Wedding Dress- Lace Bead Vintage Spring Summer Bride Audrey HepburnVtg Vanity Fair Bridal White Shee Sexy Lace Top Nylon Full Slip 42 44 2x 3x

Recent News: Wedding Dresses

Source: Google News

Greenmead hosts vintage wedding dress display
Hometownlife.com, March 2nd

Happily Ever After, an event showcasing vintage wedding gowns and photos, will take place 7-9:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at Greenmead Historical Park in Livonia. The exhibits will include the wedding gown, shoes and wedding planning book from the ...Read more

Shhh... Secret Vintage Wedding Fair set to return to hidden Manchester venue
Mancunian Matters, February 28th

Brides-to-be looking to the past for wedding inspiration will have the chance to re-visit all the eras under one roof next month as the Secret Vintage Wedding Fair returns to Manchester. The cute and quirky event, which promises to be packed with...Read more

Vintage wedding dresses tell a historical tale
Tampabay.com, February 25th

It was 2001, Brown believes, when she first shared her collection of 12 antique and vintage wedding gowns during a vow renewal celebration at another church. After the event, she had more than two dozen wedding gowns donated to her. About two-thirds of ...Read more

Vintage wedding class
Harwich and Manningtree Standard, February 20th

Essex Vintage Wedding Fair was held at the Minories in Colchester and the services being showcased included a singer, vintage china hire service and bespoke table styling. The fair has been travelling the county since 2011 connecting couples who love...Read more

Vintage Wedding Fayre returns to Sutton Coldfield Town Hall next month
Sutton Coldfield Observer, February 18th

BRIDES-to-be looking for some vintage inspiration for their big day can pick up ideas at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall next month. The Upper Clifton Road venue will be hosting a Vintage Wedding Fayre on Sunday, March 8 from 11am to 3pm. The fayre ...Read more

Walk Down the Aisle: Vintage Wedding Gown Exhibit in Gaithersburg (VIDEO)
Montgomery Community Media, February 6th

Walk Down the Aisle: Vintage Wedding Gown Exhibit in Gaithersburg (VIDEO). by Sonya Burke. The Kentlands Mansion invites you to “Walk Down the Aisle” this February and celebrate romance with an exhibition of vintage bridal gowns courtesy of the ...Read more

Vintage Wedding Gowns Exhibit
Frederick News Post (subscription), February 4th

Gowns from the Montgomery County Historical Society, from the 1940s WWII bride to the 1960s. Also open weekends, through Feb. 26, when the mansion is open for other public events. Contact Info. cost. Vintage Wedding Gowns Exhibit is a free event...Read more

Kirsty-Leigh Porter wants vintage wedding for Leela in Hollyoaks
The Press, York, February 4th

Hollyoaks star Kirsty-Leigh Porter has already pictured her character's big day – and it will be a vintage one. The 26-year-old actress' alter-ego Leela Lomax has proposed to boyfriend Ziggy Roscoe (Fabrizio Santino), after discovering her ex Cameron ...Read more