When I sat down to write this post my aim was to share with you the predicated trends for 2021. But after some thinking I realised that it would be far better to share with you the best parts of each decade and allow you to create your own unique dress. After all, modern fashion is always inspired by fashion of the past.
The 20’s are well known for their signature drop-waist silhouette. Wedding dresses were no exception to this trend. This silhouette is very unique, especially in modern times when most brides prefer a more form-fitting shape.
Due to the simplicity of the dresses, incredibly long and intricate veils were popular at the time. Often these veils were paired with cloche hats, a widely adored style.
The ‘boyish’ look of the 20’s has now gone and made way for a much more form fitting and ‘feminine’ style. That being said, modesty was still desired so many wedding dresses had high necklines, long fitted sleeves and floor length hems.
Due to the Great Depression many brides couldn’t afford the glamour that was so popular at the time. Rayon was often used as a cheaper alternative to silk. Long, lace veils were still popular.
The war had a large influence on fashion at the time. The military uniforms influenced women’s dresses seen in their wide shoulders and more masculine and boxy shape. This shape can be seen in wedding dresses at the time. Due to rationing veils were less common and far shorter.
Again, because of the war, weddings became less formal and often took place at lunch. Brides would often simply wear their best dresses or their mother’s old dress.
Thanks to Christian Dior the 50’s was all about the ‘New Look’; fitted bodices, tiny waists and full skirts.
Brides wanted something modern but modesty was still desired especially considering majority of weddings took place in churches. Brides began to wear strapless dresses or dresses with wide, round necklines (sweetheart was very popular). But they would also wear bolero jackets to provide the desired modesty.
Accessories and lace were very popular. Gowns were either full length or ankle length.
The 60’s brought with it the ‘Youthquake’ movement. In terms of wedding dresses, the 50’s style lingered for a while only changing slightly in that sleeves became shorter as did hemlines.
Eventually the mod-style seeped into the world of weddings and dresses became a lot simpler and to some extent, reflected the fashion of the 20’s. Skirts were narrow and were either floor length or sat daringly at the knees. Long sleeves were popular again.
Jewellery was less popular as it was seen as old-fashioned and not in line with the youthful style
Modesty at weddings is now popular again. Hemlines become less daring, sitting at floor length. Sleeves are commonly long now and are also loose. The waistline is high, similar to previous years, though is not as cinched or as focused on. Most brides prefer a looser and more flowing fit. Necklines are now high, somewhat mimicking the style of the Edwardian era (1901-1910).
Princess Diana’s influence on 80’s wedding gowns is undeniable. Her jaw-dropping wedding dress inspired many fantasy weddings.
The 80’s was all about glamour and statement pieces. Skirts became fuller and trains longer. Sleeves were still long though they became tighter and shoulders became puffier.
The high neckline seen in the 70’s was still popular but other styles were experimented with (Queen Anne, sweetheart, V-necks, etc.)
Wedding dresses simplified during the 90’s though the influence of the 80’s was still seen for a few years. The simpler dresses were full length with skirts narrower than the 80’s but still full. Bodices were often small and fitted. Off the shoulder was a common trend and this style was often seen paired with long, fitted sleeves.
By the end of the 90’s many dresses were simple and sleek, with few embellishments or detail.
With the increase in fast fashion, styles and trends move faster than ever before. Because of this it becomes harder to pin-point a particular style to encompass an entire decade.
We are not tied down to modesty and one particular style anymore meaning brides have more freedom to experiment with their dress.
There are a wide range of ‘modern’ styles to choose from but if you look closely at those dresses you will begin to see that they are simply old styles, refreshed. In a wonderful way, we have collated the fashion of the past and kept it for ourselves, leaving brides with more freedom of choice than ever.
What dress, if any, are you considering? Has this post opened you up to new ideas?
For more wedding dress inspiration check out this amazing historical summary by Cosmopolitan.
By Nelly Bowyer, Little Ginger Co.