Styling Tips for the Vintage Bride

Styling Tips for the Vintage Bride


Bridal Tips

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"Fashion fades, only style remains the same," - Coco Chanel.

Find your vintage style amongst the trends! Perhaps you're looking to add a touch of elegance and old world glamour to your custom-created wedding gown. Or perhaps you're searching to find the perfect vintage original. With the countless options, styles and designs available today; choosing the perfect wedding gown can quite easily become overwhelming.

To help make sense of the options available to the vintage-inspired bride, we called in a group of bridal-wear experts from across the globe and asked them to share a few of the key styles and trends to look for when visualising the perfect vintage wedding dress ensemble. Read through their key insights as featured in our free Wedding Magazine & Bridal Guide - The Vintage Edition.

The Classic Vintage Bride

Lovely Lacy 'Sweet Nothings' Wedding Gown from The Bridal Atelier | Shot by: Nikole Ramsay Photography | (Above Right) Modern vintage-inspired beaded open-back white lace gown with diamante detail around the neckline by Cindy Bam | Shot by: Gavin Casey Photography
  • Lace, lace and then some more lace: No matter the era you are looking to replicate, it is unanimous that lace is the fabric to reach for, to achieve a vintage or romantic feel to your wedding gown. Dolly Thicke, owner of Dolly Couture, based in both LA and New York, US says that this season sees the lace illusion neckline, made popular by their classic "Avila Bay" and "Santa Anita" gowns. As revealed by owner and designer Biji and designer Laura Stewart, from Biji Couture, in Gauteng, South Africa, Fine French Chantilly and corded laces are currently en vogue, with one now being able to source embroidered nets that mimic lace at a very reasonable price.
  • Dramatic Brocade: Although lace appears to dominate the vintage wedding dress scene, if lace is not your fabric of choice, all is not lost. Other materials perfect for tiered and ruffled textures and more dramatic fabrics such as brocade are becoming more sort after, says London-based wedding dress designer, Elizabeth Avey.
  • Chiffon and Crepe-Back Satin: To add that touch of softness and romance to your wedding gown, the Biji Couture team advises the use of veiling or soft meshes and tulles. Indeed, light weight fabrics like chiffon and crepe-back satin are also high on trend, says UK bridal gown designer, Kate Edmondson.
  • Hand-Woven Silks: When using precious fabrics such as hand-woven silks, Marlize Coetzee Boshoff, from Immagika, in Pretoria, South Africa recommends that one adorns them with vintage haberdashery, trinkets, Swarovski crystals and costume jewellery.
  • Glitter and Ice-Like Fabrics: Alternatively, a sparkly look can also be achieved with glitter and ice-like fabrics, which are making an appearance, says Erin Juchima, owner of The Bridal Atelier, in Geelong West Victoria, Australia.

(Above Left) "Honeychurch Heaven" A French Chantilly lace over ivory silk Charmeuse bodice and Chantilly lace flutter sleeves by Elizabeth Dye via The Bridal Atelier | (Above Right) "For Emily" Vintage inspired gown using silk shantung, a French Chantilly lace illusion bodice with an English tulle overlay by Elizabeth Dye via The Bridal Atelier
  • Covered Bridal Silhouettes: When it comes to design, even after the debut of Duchess Kate's Alexander McQueen wedding gown, silhouettes in general continue to gravitate toward coverage, says Cindy Bam, Cape Town-based wedding gown designer. Sometimes showing a little less can really be more, as Dolly, from Dolly Couture explains that a higher neckline allows for one to see some of your gorgeous wedding dress in your wedding headshots.
  • Convertible Wedding Gowns: Cindy Bam lets us in on a little secret that is becoming quite popular with brides - the convertible wedding gown! Cindy divulges that the convertible gown can have a removable skirt, train or cape, which can quite literally transform your vintage dress into a care free little number for dancing the night away at your reception.
  • Drop-Flare Dress Styles: Brides struggling to decide between a straight dress and a full-on princess style ball gown, will be happy to learn that the vintage skirt trends are most reflected in the drop-flare dress, says the Biji Couture team. These are generally cut all in one with the bodice fitting lower on the hips than previously and then kicking out to have fullness and volume towards the hem.
  • Peplum Skirts: If airy and ethereal is more your style, you're in luck as Peplum skirts, embellished with ribbon, oversized bows and floral details also seen to be offering a high-fashion escape, making a dramatic impact on runways this season, says Cindy.

(Above Left) Goodness Gorgeous! Full length, sweetheart neck gown by Elbeth Gillis | (Above Right) "Edith" V-neck design in silk crepe and Chantilly lace overlay with capped sleeves and Swarovski crystal embellished waistline by Elbeth Gillis

Oh Great Gatsby!

(Above Left) Lady Wedding Gown by Kate Edmondson Bridal | Shot by: Hannah Mia Photography | (Above Right) "Amazing Anastasia" Duchesse satin gown with Chantilly lace straps and cascading frills, a sweetheart neckline, silk sash and brooch detail by Elbeth Gillis
  • The Twenties Vintage Style: Thanks to the popularity of costume dramas and films set in this period such as The Boardwalk Empire, The Great Gatsby and Gangster Squad, Ciara Mullan, from Dita Florita, in Kent, UK and Elizabeth Avey both agree that dress styles from earlier in the 20th century have as a result, become much loved. "Picture the glamour of the 1920's with the casual elegance of a garden party," says Erin, from The Bridal Atelier. "The beautiful drop-waisted flapper-style dresses with lace insertions and fine beading all reminiscent of the 1920's is what you should go for," adds Paula Cooperman, from Millcrest Vintage, in New Jersey, US.
  • Crystal Embellishments, Layered Dresses and Ornate Belts: Cindy further elaborates that the 1920's-inspired style dresses is rich in crystal embellishments, which create the shimmering illusion of ice. In addition, this era also saw layered dresses crafted from tulle, whether one-shoulder or strapless styles accessorised with ornate belts, which she says creates that classic feel.

The Forever Fabulous Fifties

(Above Left) Sparrow Gown and Treasured Veil from The Bridal Atelier | Shot by: Caitliin Bellah Photography | (Above Right) Beverlywood Vintage Wedding Dress by Dolly Couture | Shot by: Alice Hu Photography
  • Classic 1950's and 1960's Silhouette: Both Elizabeth and Abigail Haughton, from Abigail's Vintage Bridal, in East Midlands, UK, concur that the classic 1950's silhouette with a nipped waist and full ballerina length skirt is a trend which renews itself each year. Although, "the figure still determines the style of the dress" Cape Town-based designer, Ilse Roux, believes that there is a tendency toward a more fitted look that creates slight volume from the middle of the thigh downwards.
  • Lovely Lace for the Fifties and Sixties: Ciara, from Dita Florita tells us that the lace trend continues to be extremely popular amongst brides searching for lace wedding dresses from the 1950's and 1960's.
  • Sassy Short Wedding Dresses and Tea Length Bridal Gowns: Also inspired by the 1950's comes sassy short dresses that would be perfect for partying all night long, says Cindy. Merging the 1950's and 1960's together, brings the trend of tea length dresses made from lace and tulle, which Paula, from Millcrest Vintage says maintains their popularity among brides as the quintessential vintage bridal look.

Vintage Neutrals, Champagne and Mint Trends

  • Mint Green: Once a popular colour for home and personal items in the 1940's and 1950's, mint green has grown to become a prevalent vintage trend, say Cape Town-based designer, Cindy Bam.
  • Ivory and Champagne: Laura, from Biji Couture points out that ivory and champagne tones look richer and more antique. "These are popular colour choices for the modern bride, most of whom do not suit a stark white gown."
  • Neutrals and Soft Colours: In addition to gold and silver fabrics being in demand, neutrals and soft colours are also catching on, says Elizabeth Avey.

Whichever vintage era of you preference, make it your own by bringing your chosen vintage look to life and combining it with your unique style to ensure that you stand out on your big day. In your search for your dream wedding gown, be sure to grab these expert tips for Fitting & Selecting a Wedding Gown {Wedding Planning Series}.

Grab More Vintage Bridal Style Tips!

Find more bridal and wedding ideas and tips from our free digital Wedding Magazine & Bridal Guide - The Vintage Edition. Filled to the brim with vintage wedding inspiration, planning your vintage wedding will be a cinch!

Founding Editor: Storm Buckingham

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