Style Guide : 1920’s Vintage
Flapper dresses, feather boas and giggle water; we are of course introducing the roaring 20s.
This post-war era saw a revolutionary evolution in fashion. Thanks to the Jazz Age following the gloom of war, numerous parties where enjoyed to embrace this new age.
The arts, such as music, literature and fashion were very much at the heart of social revolution.
Fewer restrictions, including the end of rationing and the introduction of elaborate parties, resulted in a more flamboyant approach to life. The fashion scene was no different.
The women were liberated in numerous ways. They had just got the vote in 1918, the corsets came off and skirts got shorter. One of the most notable fashion designers of the time – Coco Chanel – introduced the first of trousers for women.
In fashion, the term ‘vintage’ is used to describe clothing that was made between the 1920’s and ‘80s. Clothes created before the ‘20s are seen as ‘antique’, whereas items created after the ’80s are deemed ‘retro’.
The Wedding Dresses
During the 1920’s wedding dresses tended to be loose, draping and fairly simple yet were often teamed alongside beautifully embellished long veils.
The dresses themselves were quite simple in shape; however, they were usually worn alongside beautifully elaborated and embellished veils. Elbow length gloves and elaborate head wear was also a popular accompaniment.
Take a look below at some wedding dress style icons.
Clarissa Churchill, 1921
Couples can marry at the Churchill’s family home: Blenheim Palace
The (future) Queen Mother, 1923
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon’s elaborate gown was created from ivory chiffon moiré and decorated with pearls and silver embroidery.
Footage of King George VI and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon celebrating their wedding day, 1923
Anne of France, 1927
Norma Shearer, 1927
As time moves on, there is an increasingly popular trend for brides to wear gowns that are reminiscent of romantic eras gone by, such as the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.
Many modern brides long to wear a 1920’s vintage gown, or even a 1920’s-inspired dress, and modern couturiers are constantly recycling old designs in order to meet the growing demand for vintage charm.
As we’ve mentioned, boned corsets and full skirts were out and women favoured relaxed fits.
The drooped waistlines and knee-skimming flapper dresses ultimately remain the iconic image of 20s fashion.
We have Coco Chanel to thank for numerous fashion developments – the LBD (little black dress), skirt suits, costume jewellery and of course palazzo trousers.
The hyper-small waistline was forgotten and more boxy silhouettes were favoured.
Women ditched the tight and intricate up-dos and took ownership of their hair by embracing sophisticated and sleek bobs.
Still very far away from the introduction of the bikini, swim and sportswear was experimented with. However women could actually move in the apparel and could even show some leg!
Finding a Vintage Wedding Dress
So, you’re striving to find the perfect vintage dress for your wedding? Just be prepared as it could turn into a frustrating and somewhat expensive venture!
First things first – check your local vintage and charity shops, and carry out a web-search for vintage wedding dresses in your area. Ask everyone and anyone if they know where you might be able to find one – you never know, someone’s granny may even be able to lend you one!
Use websites such as Ebay and Facebook for sourcing vintage dresses. Look through wedding dress blogs to see if any of them can point you in the right direction.
Whilst searching for dresses, bear in mind that if you purchase a vintage gown, it can be altered so that it fits perfectly. However, if you are simply borrowing one, this may not be possible – so make sure it fits!
With a little effort, you can find that perfect ’20s dress, and remember – the time and trouble will all be worth it in the end!