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.
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Vintage Wedding Fashion show held at Nicholson Institute in LeekLeek Post & Times, March 26th
A Vintage wedding fashion show is taking place at a gallery and museum this week. Following a hugely successful sell-out vintage clothes show last year, Notty Hornblower, from Hope House Costume Museum, is returning to Leek with her wonderful ...Read more
YPF 2015: Malavika Karlekar's Old Wedding Photographs of IndiaThe Eye of Photography, March 26th
“Framing the Conjugal Bond” is an exceptional occasion to see the finest vintage wedding photographs from India collected and presented by Indian scholar Malavika Karlekar who is editor at Indian Journal of Gender Studies and curator of Re-presenting ...Read more
Over 200 people attend vintage wedding weekend at Soham Methodist ChurchEly News, March 23rd
More than 200 people flocked to a vintage wedding weekend at the town's Methodist Church on Saturday and Sunday. There were more than 50 wedding dresses on display from the 1800s to the present day, as well as vintage albums, photographs, flower ...Read more
50+ Vintage-Inspired Dresses For Brides Who Love All Things RetroHuffington Post, March 23rd
By Stefania Sainato for Bridal Guide. Blast from the past — retro-inspired wedding dresses are everywhere right now! Whether your vibe is glam '30s starlet, sweet and demure '50s or '90s sleek and chic, we've gathered some throwback options to...Read more
/Planning a vintage wedding for spring or summer? Alley Kats Art and Antiques ...Bloomington Pantagraph, March 21st
(309) 820-0777 pantagraph.com. March 21, 2015 10:13 am. Planning a Vintage wedding this Spring/Summer? Stay tuned to our Facebook page for ideas and find like items to make it happen right here at Alley Kats Antiques. Warehouse District Antiques...Read more
Vintage wedding fair returns to The Bowdon Rooms on SundayAltrincham Today, March 16th
Over 30 exhibitors from across the North West will come together on Sunday when The Bowdon Rooms hosts its Spring Wedding Fair. Everything from flowers, photography and cars to tiaras, dresses and wedding bands will be on show at the fair, which lasts ...Read more
Vintage wedding trend is suiting Great Glen firm perfectlyHarborough Mail, March 8th
Vintage wedding trend is suiting Great Glen firm perfectly. Ann Collick, of Great Glen firm Flora Button. Alex Blackwell. email@example.com. 12:00 Sunday 08 March 2015. 0. Have your say. The trend of vintage-style weddings is suiting one...Read more
Shhh... Secret Vintage Wedding Fair set to return to hidden Manchester venueMancunian 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