Perhaps the biggest fashion decision a woman will make in her life is the decision of what to wear on her wedding day. The dress needs to be romantic, timeless, elegant – and most importantly, make the bride feel and look like a million dollars. Not a decision to be taken lightly, and it is for this reason that vintage inspired wedding dresses are the perfect choice. Looking to the styles of the past will automatically evoke a timeless elegance, to be treasured and admired for years to come.
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By choosing vintage inspired over true vintage, there are a number of advantages:
- You can ensure that the dress is in perfect condition with no tears to repair and no zippers to replace.
- It’s perfect, straight off the hanger.
- Vintage inspired wedding dresses come in a wide range of sizes. Hurray!
- We all know the frustration of finding that perfect original vintage piece – only to find it is not in your size. Oh, the heartbreak. But with vintage inspired fashion, that problem is nicely eliminated.
Practically speaking, it could be argued that vintage inspired shopping is a lot less time-consuming and stressful than shopping original vintage. With Modcloth, you can view the whole range of items at the swipe of your fingertips, or a click of a mouse. True vintage, however, can often be like looking for a needle in a very large haystack.
So which era are you drawn to? The glitz of the 1920s, the glamour of the 1930s, or the coordinated composure of the 1960s? Here, I shall show you an outfit option for each decade from Modcloth’s latest collection.
Thank you Modcloth for sponsoring this article, and even moreso for giving us some great wedding dress options.
The dresses here were available in 2016 but are now sold out. You can however, find many more amazing wedding dress at Modcloth.
1920s Vintage Inspired Wedding Dresses
The 1920s saw women embrace a much looser silhouette than worn in previous decades, which subsequently led to a change in the types of clothing worn. The evening and bridal wear of the decade was loose, skimming the figure rather than constricting it. Fabric was pleated, tucked, ruched and gathered to form decoration and visual interest.
Throughout the 1920s, beading was a popular method of surface decoration, catching the light and ensuring all eyes are on you. However, beading was incredibly expensive, and as such could also be considered a status symbol visually conveying information about the wealth of the wearer.
The To Have and to Haute Dress is a lovely vintage inspired dress which suits the 1920s perfectly, with its delicate beading and simple yet elegant cut proving itself to be flattering across many figure types. Paired with the So in Luxe With You Heel, the outfit can be finished to flapper perfection with the Deco Glow pin, pinned at the centre of the neckline, and the Best Things are Freedive Clutch bag.
1930s Vintage Inspired Wedding Dresses
The 1930s saw the introduction of a streamlined silhouette — the waist returned to its natural place, shoulders were emphasized, and the hips were slender. Whilst the 1920s may have adopted a carefree, fun-loving outlook, the 1930s were about sophistication and understated glamour. The bias cut became popular in this decade, a clever way of cutting the fabric to utilize the drape of the material to its best effect.
On a hanger, a bias cut gown may not look like much, but the magic happens once it is worn. Laying on the cross-grain, the fabric drapes and gently moulds itself to every curve, enhancing the femininity of every figure it envelopes.
The Mix and Matrimony dress enhances the shoulders with its slash neckline, whilst the lace fabric gently clings to the figure. The low back is a typical 1930s style, and could be further enhanced by wearing the hair off the shoulders decorated with the Leaves of Loveliness Hair Pin set. With its neat bow and Deco style cut-outs, the Brave Heel in gold perfectly finishes off this 1930s look.
Shop more 1930s style wedding dresses.
1940s Vintage Inspired Wedding Dresses
Much of the fashion aesthetics favored during the 1930s continued into the 1940s. The waist is still in its natural place and the shoulders are broader than ever. The 1940s also saw many changes, which reached into and influenced the world of fashion and clothing. Wedding and evening dresses of the period were full length, often featuring clever pleating, tucks, and panel details.
Towards the latter half of the decade, influenced by Dior’s New Look, women wore strapless evening dresses, with the skirts gradually becoming fuller as fabric restrictions lifted. Perhaps also as a result of Doir’s New Look, women’s waists became more waspish, refined through the use of clever underpinnings.
The All Award Dress is a lovely example of a 1940s style dress, the clever pleating details pay a modern-day homage to the 1940s designs of French fashion house Madame Gres. The strapless bodice is the perfect base for the Glisten to Every Word necklace and earring set, whist the Hopeful Heel adds a subtle hint of gold to the look.
Shop more 1940s wedding dresses.
1950s Vintage Inspired Wedding Dresses
Perhaps one of the most recognizable styles of the 1950s is the fitted bodice, nipped-in waist, and full circle skirt. This was fashion having fun again after the austerity of the war years. Women’s bodies were again shaped and sculpted to comply to the decade’s ideal, resulting in an image of a hyper-feminine perfect woman.
The 1950s were also the age of the teenager, the youth of this era suddenly had more freedom than those their age had in years before them, resulting in a fresh appetite for music, culture and of course – fashion. This demand is reflected in various fashion trends of the era, the bright colors, novelty prints, and full frothy skirts to wear to high school dances.
The Gilded Grace dress is typically fifties in style, the fitted bodice enhancing the nipped-in waist, and the full skirt perfect for twirling in! Paired with the Divine Dining Heel and Dreamy Droplets earrings, this outfit is truly a peachy-keen bride’s dream.
Shop more 1950s wedding dresses.
1960s Vintage Inspired Wedding Dresses
During the 1960s, more and more women started to carve their own career paths, resulting in a necessity for smart work attire. As women’s independence seemingly soared, so did the hemlines on their skirts. The 1960s woman wanted to look firmly towards the future, not back to the past of repression and rationing.
Easy-care fabrics became popular during this decade as the lure of crease-resistant, washable clothing was very attractive to the new independent woman of the 1960s. The early years of the decade saw a gradual move away from the fitted styles of the 1950s, and in its place came pencil skirts, shift dresses, and boxy suits a la Jackie Onassis with coordinating accessories. The later years of the 1960s saw women raising their hemlines and adopting looser styles – rather reminiscent of the 1920s. Even wedding gowns hit above the knee, with loose shift dresses both long and short proving popular. Towards the end of the decade dresses were mostly drop-waisted, or featured high empire style waistlines with the skirt skimming the figure in an A-line shape.
The Beyond the Bells dress is a concoction of both the early years of the 1960s and the later years. The sheath dress style with its free-flowing bodice recalls the free, liberated styles of the later years of the 1960s, whilst the fitted skirt is reminiscent of the more structured earlier years. The perfect blend of smart, feminine and fun. Paired with the low heel height of From Party to Finish shoes and Showtime Like the Present earrings, this is the perfect outfit for 1960s styled nuptials.
Shop more 1960s wedding dresses.
Shop more Vintage Inspired Wedding Dresses
Debbie Sessions has been teaching fashion history and helping people dress for vintage themed events since 2009. She has turned a hobby into VintageDancer.com with hundreds of well researched articles and hand picked links to vintage inspired clothing online. She aims to make dressing accurately (or not) an affordable option for all. Oh, and she dances too.