Jan 30, 2018
Whether you want a fully vintage aesthetic on your special day, or just some touches here or there, the easiest way to infuse your ceremony with some history is through your dress!
Fashion is such a large part of what we remember from eras gone by, so it's a super effective way to pay homage to your favourite parts of the past. Here are a few tips of what to look for while dress shopping, whether you want your dress to have just a touch of antique charm, or to look like it's straight out of a vintage catalogue!
While some cuts of dresses will pull more vintage than others, there is a way to make any silhouette fit the aesthetic, and it's all about the details. For the more fitted styles like trumpet, fit and flare, and mermaid, things like fabric-covered buttons along the back or down the train can add a timeless look, as can more delicate details like full lace sleeves or an elegant bateau neckline. When it comes to styles like ballgowns, sheath, or A-line, they can often feel a little more tied to history, as they were the prevalent styles for wedding dresses until about the late 60s. They can be a little easier to fit into the vintage aesthetic, especially with details like off-the-shoulder straps, lace appliques, or cap or full-length sleeves.
A great way to achieve that classic feel with your dress is to pay attention to the fabrics used. Something with a bit more texture or weight to it, like lace, crepe, satin, or raw silk can really sell the look, particularly for a more 40s or 50s style. Similarly, adding textures like beading or crystals can add a more Art Deco or Art Nouveau feel to your dress, if the 20s and 30s are more your style. Embroidery-style lace, particularly in floral patterns, can give you that 60s and 70s flower power vibe, if that's your preferred era as well. A trick when it comes to finding the lace that fits your preferred part of fashion history; the finer the lace, the farther back in time it will appear from, (think the delicate lace collars and cuffs of the early 1900s) and the heavier or more textured it gets, the closer to the present it will get (closer to the crochet-style lace dresses of the 1970s).
Though a little more of a daring choice, a super effective way to pay homage to past trends is with the length of your dress. Long, dramatic and lace covered trains will harken back to the Edwardian era, (the early 1900s) and even farther back into the 1800s, while dresses that have little or no train, stopping just at floor length, will have more of an Art Deco to Old Hollywood vibe, anywhere from the 1920s to the early 40s. If you're interested in something even shorter than that, a tea-length dress, coming to just below the knee, will give you that late 40s to early 60s feel.
While Ivory has always seemed to be the popular choice for a dress, it's not the only option you have when going for a vintage-inspired look! Creams, champagnes, and even blush or moscato tones were popular choices from the 1910s all the way up to the 70s, so feel free to experiment with shades to find the one that fits your style!
As mentioned before, buttons are a great way to give a dress a timeless look, particularly fabric-covered or pearl buttons, but when it comes to details on the back of your dress, they are not the only option. A corset will give any dress a Victorian or antique vibe, as well as offering a gorgeous hourglass look! Ribbons are also a beautiful way to add a delicate touch of history. A ribbon belt in a silk, satin or velvet, either tied in a bow, or just tied in a knot and left to trail down, are a classic touch that works with nearly any silhouette or style of dress.
Another impactful but simple way to give your look a timeless feel is with your accessories. A pair of dazzling chandelier-style earrings or a diamond necklace can give you an elegant Old Hollywood feel, while a birdcage veil or a fascinator will be a perfect tie-in for a 40s or 50s aesthetic. If Art Deco and the 20s and 30s are more your style, a sparkly hairpiece tucked into an updo, or a beaded headband are the perfect choice! Your shoes can also add to the look, kitten heels or anything with an ankle strap will give a vintage feel, and satin or patent leather have an old-school texture that will add some real authenticity to your look.
Really, there is no wrong way to have a vintage-inspired wedding, as long as you are picking something you love! The internet is a great place to find inspiration, there is no shortage of photos of dresses from decades gone by, and you are bound to find some styles you love. Look through some vintage magazines, watch some old movies, and have fun getting lost in the past! Here's to all my fashion history lovers and vintage afficianados, happy dress hunting!
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