Many styles of wedding dresses brides wear today are influenced by decades of style choices and traditions. From the 1850s to present day, wedding dress styles have all built on each other and changed due to what was going on in the world at the time. In our previous post, we talked about the evolution of both wedding dresses and wedding traditions from the 1850s to the Roaring Twenties. Now we will look at the 1930s through the 1960s, all iconic eras of fashion that have an impact on brides’ wedding dress decisions today.
The 1930s are a continuation of the twenties rebellion and feminist movement. The bride became the focal point of the wedding instead of the groom. However, the popularity of wedding photos went down due to the Great Depression. Wedding dresses also did not progress much. Brides either wore their friend’s wedding dress from the 20s, their mother’s wedding dress, or simply chose the nicest dress in their wardrobe. This led to many different styles being worn in the same era, something we see with brides today.
The 1940s brought WWII and the weddings that resulted were the prerequisite to the 1950s Baby Boom. In the beginning of the era, couples had to get married fast before deployment and often only had a couple of days to get married. This resulted in courthouse weddings and brides simply wearing their nicest suit-dress and a hat. Because of the war effort, all materials were being sent to troops overseas. The most romantic part of this era – men would try to find and keep used parachutes to send back home to their girls so they could make a wedding dress out of the material. This is the origin of DIY. Brides would make dresses out of anything they could find, from old dresses to lace curtains.
After the turmoil of the 40s, couples desired the safeness of tradition and dignified weddings. Everything was formal again and brides did not have a “proper” wedding unless it took place in a church. After the scarcity of the 40s as well, every bride wanted elegance and luxury. Dresses were bought with care and attention to detail. Tea length dresses became popular to show off expensive wedding shoes. Brides who could not afford to buy a dress rented one to save money for elegant decor and fine china.
The sixties continued the short length trend with wedding dresses revealing more and more leg. Most dresses had high empire waists, reminiscent of wedding dresses from the early 19th century. The signifying style of a 1960s wedding dress was the pill box hat with a small attached veil.
Part three of my wedding dresses through the eras series will finish up with the 1970s into present day. You can find the post here!