There are so many gorgeous options when it comes to bringing vintage style to your wedding. It can be difficult to define one specific look, especially if you love both the slim lines of the 1920s and the frilly accessories of the 1950s. How’s a girl to decide?
It’s easy to be overwhelmed when planning your look. However, today’s modern woman can master any style she likes, mixing decades into a cohesive, effortless look. Let’s take a closer look at a few styles from past that may inspire you.
When you think of the style of the roaring twenties, you probably imagine the free spirited flapper. Slim, boyish figures were in and restrictive corsets were out, emphasized with sack dresses and dropped waistlines. Egyptian themes were all the rage, and these influenced the strong geometric lines of Art Deco, which were reflected in clothing and jewelry.
But in spite of the flat chests and bobbed hair, women still wanted some femininity. For weddings, the simple straight cut of the sack dress was balanced with fluid silk fabric, intricate detail, beading, and trim at the hemline. Headpieces drew attention from the body to the face, with many brides choosing to wear a cloche hat or long, trailing veil.
For this look, think of the pixie-ish beauty of Clara Bow, the sultriness of Louise Brooks, or the vivacity of Josephine Baker. Try beaded trims, fringed hemlines, a very long net veil, wreath-like headbands of gilded and beaded leaves.
In the more troubled thirties, many women turned to Hollywood for their dose of glamour. Screen sirens such as Jean Harlow showed off their curves in draped gowns of shimmering silk that covered up yet revealed everything. The 1930s saw a turn to a slightly more feminine, soft aesthetic with waved hair, slinky gowns, and sparkly costume jewelry.
Brides wore long gowns in slim silhouettes, often cut on the bias in silk charmeuse or crepe. The look was glamorous, but streamlined. These modern gowns might be further adorned with rhinestone and silver jewelry, dress clips, or belt clasps.
For this look, a bias-cut gown in a flowing silk is the main event. Dress it up even more with rhinestone dress clips, jewelry, or a clasp at the waist. Add a faux fur wrap for drama. Get soft wavy hair with pin curls or marcel waves.
During the war, styles for women took on more severe, military-inspired lines with broad shoulders and small waists. Hair was often worn in elaborate rolls that suited women’s new role in the workforce.
Headpieces for brides suited these hairstyles, with higher, crown-like pieces and attached veils. Shining satin continued to be popular for dresses, though the movement was toward rayon rather than the silk that was needed in the war effort. Wedding dresses were still simple and modern, but with more structure and less drape.
For this look, try a long silk gown with a sweetheart neckline and puffed long sleeves. Hair could be worn in rolls, or for a more subdued look, a simple pageboy style or soft Veronica Lake style waves. A beaded snood or half-crown headpiece would complete the look, and don’t forget the peep-toe shoes!
Needless to say, the fifties brought in full-force femininity. From Paris, Dior’s New Look inspired women to adopt full skirts and ultra-nipped waists aided by some serious foundation garments.
Wedding attire also emphasized the hourglass shape. From simple satin and fluid fabrics, the fifties moved into an abundance of lace, tulle, and frills. The strapless frilly confections you might associate with 1950s evening gowns were popular, though perhaps with an added lace capelet or bolero for modesty during the ceremony. Just look to Grace Kelly‘s wedding for the epitome of 1950s bridal style.
For this look, you could try a strapless dress and bolero, plenty of lace and tulle, short white gloves, a cocktail hat with veil, or a high neckline with a Peter Pan collar.
Jackie Kennedy inspired legions of women in the early sixties with her pristine style. Her fitted sheaths, bare arms, and box-cut suits were refined and glamorous, a striking contrast to the hourglass shapes of the fifties.
Wedding dresses in this style might be made in a simple sheath or a-line shape, and done in a heavy fabric that suits the structured look. For this style, try a structured sheath with matching coat or a boxy silk suit. Accessorize with a pillbox hat, short gloves, a birdcage veil, and kitten heels.