The Evolution of the Wedding Dress

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Since all the way back in 1910, the trends in wedding dress styles has evolved with regular fashion. Brides from one decade wore drastically different styles than brides from the next.

Today, wedding dresses on sites such as range from risque to minimalist, and both are a far cry from the flowing, modest styles that were popular just 100 years ago. Sleeves have passed through the idea of stylish; the voluminous skirts of the past have changed to provide a narrower silhouette and vice versa; and hemlines have moved up and down significantly through the years.

Keep reading to learn more about the evolution of the wedding dress through the decades and how the current stylish look has been created.

The 1910s

One hundred years ago, wedding dresses were focused on layers, ruffles, petticoats and rucks. Dresses were made of thin cotton with long flowing skirts and full sleeves. The loose and flowy designs allowed the bride to move with ease, which was especially important since this was the decade when dancing at weddings became popular.

The 1920s

The dresses in the 1920s were influenced by the style of the flappers, with many brides choosing to wear fashionable beaded dresses. Most of the dresses featured a drop-waist, narrow silhouette, along with mid-calf hemlines. Juliet caps and cloche hats were also popular accessories during this decade.

The 1930s

This decade was a time of economic uncertainty, and many brides turned to a more romantic style for their dresses. This decade saw dresses with long sleeves and high necklines. Brides who were unable to afford satin or silk chose more affordable rayon dresses, which mimicked the more expensive materials.

The 1940s

Considered a luxury during World War II, wedding dresses were often made by hand or shared among friends or family members. The style of these dresses included padded hips, corseted waists, and V-necks. Makeup was minimal and silk was the most popular material used.

The 1950s

After the war, there was a return to the romanticism and extravagance seen before with wedding dresses and a return of the sweetheart necklines and full skirts. It was during this decade that strapless wedding dresses also became popular, but it was a trend that was slow to catch on.

The 1960s

Called the “Space Age,” during this decade the wedding dress styles slimmed down, and veils shortened to more bouncy and bouffant styles. At this time, the mini skirt wedding dresses were introduced, and many of the dresses had a “space-like” look.

The 1970s

This decade was a staunch contrast to the 1970s with dresses turning to a more nostalgic feel and taking on style trends of older styles. The dresses were long, flowing, and featured high necks with lots of layers. Most had full sleeves, and hats became as popular as veils.

The 1980s

During the ‘80s, the idea of “less is more” was nonexistent. Brides of this decade preferred huge and voluminous gowns with puffy sleeves and the longer the veil, the better. The popularity of sleeveless gowns really took off in this decade.

The 1990s

While the 1980s was all about “more,” the dresses from the 1990s had a more simplistic feel. This is when dresses began to slim down and deflate a bit. It’s also when the silky, sheath dress became extremely popular for brides.