The Evolution of Wedding Dress Styles: 1920s to 1950s

Wedding dresses, today and throughout history, are always a peek into the culture and style of the time. The first recorded wedding dress dates back to 1406 when Philippa of England married Eric of Pomerania. Queen Victoria of England solidified the tradition of a white wedding dress when she married Prince Albert in 1840, and this has marked the style that we all know now. Since that time, wedding dresses have encapsulated the very essence of women as they evolved with each decade.

1920s Wedding Dresses

The 1920s marked a period of freedom and independence for women while bathing in the Jazz Age and the Roaring 20s lifestyle. Women were then wearing styles that were of the Flapper flavor which included low waists and shorter, more revealing styles. The clothes were also looser fitting giving women relief from corsets and the freedom to move.

Vintage 1920s Art Deco Bias Cut Satin Wedding Dress

1920s satin wedding dress

Wedding dresses of this era followed suit. The dresses were short and had hemlines that were longer in the back and shorter in the front. These wedding dresses were accessorized by a veil or a cloche-style hat. Most of the dresses were white with some taking on a more eggshell color. Some of the dresses had fringe and other details that reflected the jazz age, and most were layers of beautiful satins.

1930s Wedding Dresses

The 1930s wedding gowns saw the end of the dropped waist and the adoption of the bias cut gowns known for their slimming properties. The gowns were fashioned after the movie stars of the times but were created to be affordable for the depression era budgets.

The dresses were floor-length with long sleeves and high necklines. The jewelry to complement these looks was light but adorned with sparkles. Women had either tiaras or floor-length veils or sunhats. Because of the depression, many women wore tea-length floral dresses that could be used again after the wedding.

 1930s Bias Silk Satin Wedding Gown

1930s satin wedding dress

The Art Deco movement saw wedding dresses don chevrons and long panels and the period ended with ruched waists and gathered necklines that gave the women an hourglass shape. Most sleeves were long, but some women were daring enough to go sleeveless or to wear see-through sleeves over winged sleeves.

1940s-1950s Wedding Dresses

1940s fashion was marked by two periods: wartime and post-wartime. During the war, women often wore what they had or borrowed dresses. After the war, wedding dresses once again became decorative and detailed. The sleeves were statement pieces which was a nod to the fashion of shoulder pads of the time. The waist was in a “V” shape that slimmed the figure.

1940s Satin Wedding Dress

1940s Satin Wedding Dress

These dresses took women back to the 1920s idea of being unburdened by tight clothing. Women’s waists were accentuated but the skirt was long, flowing, and full. The sleeves were usually long and made of lace or satin and the neckline was a “V” neck or still retained the high neckline of the thirties

Vintage Early 1950s Ivory Lace and Satin Wedding Dress

1940s lace wedding gown

The wedding dress is a timeless tradition of brides but has changed over time to reflect the time period fashions. One thing is certain, wedding dresses have withstood the test of time and are always, beautiful, resilient, and adaptive just like the women who wear them. If this article piqued your interest in the world of vintage wedding dresses, head over to ThisBlueBird to explore more.