Fashions and Wedding Dress Eras Over the Years

Classic Wedding Dresses from Timeless Bridal Couture. Wedding dress eras.

Every decade has distinct fashions and looks associated with it, and wedding dresses are no exception. The way the wedding dress is designed and worn has always classified wedding dress eras, and it is interesting to note some of the more prominent looks over the last few decades.

During the 1920s and ‘30s, the flapper dress was all the rage – waistlines were dropped and soft, flowing fabrics were used to create light and airy wedding gowns. During this time, dresses were elegant and flattering for almost all figures. The Great Depression and the Second World War also had an impact on the design of bridal gowns and fashions overall. During these lean times, brides often had few resources and had to keep designs practical, easy to make and cost effective, which meant that a wide variety of wedding dresses were seen. During the 1940s, weddings were often arranged in a rush to accommodate a boyfriend coming home on short-term leave from war, and dresses were usually borrowed or made in a hurry, which gave wedding parties very little consistency in their looks.

In the 1950s, lavish parties returned after the war-torn ‘40s, and the glamour of the silver screen dominated fashions, as dresses were elegant, glamorous and well fitted – think Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe! Weddings became elaborate affairs again, and brides wanted large weddings, breathtaking dresses and exquisite wedding cakes. A trend in shorter dresses with layered petticoats started, and strapless or halter-neck dresses also become popular wedding trends.

The ‘60s were particularly tumultuous, and this is evident in the wide variety of dresses from this era. No specific look typifies this decade, as trends ranged from Jackie Kennedy inspired looks, which were always elegant and dignified, to the low hems and flowing fabrics of the flower child, barefoot look in the late ‘60s. Veils were few and far between, and often a flower headband or wreath was worn instead. When Twiggy introduced the mini skirt, it set the fashion stage in a whole new direction and suddenly it became very cool to wear a mini-dress as bridal attire!

The fashions of the 1970s inspired a whole lot of looks that are still on trend today. The disco era breathed new life into pants suits, and bridal wear often included tailored pants suits paired with wide brimmed hats, instead of veils. Bianca Jagger got married in a classically tailored white YSL smoking jacket and this trend was picked up by many brides at the time.

The epitome of the 1980s dress was the dress Princess Diana wore, and suddenly the Princess dress was reborn. Long veils, glamorous frills, full skirts and lace-covered shoulders could be seen everywhere, and a lot of brides opted for fabrics such as taffeta and raw silk. In the ‘90s, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy got married in a silky sheath dress with a light veil. During this decade, brides favoured simpler styles that were more figure hugging. The early 2000s saw the introduction of the sleeveless dresses that are still very evident today, and during the later 2000s, brides often opted for classic or vintage styles, which is still relevant today.

If you would like to wear a wedding dress from a different era, contact our team at Timeless Bridal – our wedding dresses are timeless!