For some brides, vintage means lashings of lace and china tea cups. To others, it’s the 1930’s sleek sophistication of a Hollywood movie star. Whether your wedding will be a wonderland in the woods or the last word in city chic, you can steal some style from the past.
Go to a reputable vintage gown seller
Always go to a trusted seller where you will find gowns and veils that have already been professionally cleaned. Buying a bargain elsewhere that ‘smells musty from storage’ or ‘only has a few stains that will probably come out with cleaning’ is taking a big gamble. The cost of having any gowned cleaned can be considerable and may not have the result you hope for. Before thinking of having a go yourself, remember cleaning aged textiles can result in disaster for the item and may even be a risk your health.
Don’t be shy.
Ask about the seam allowance as gowns can often be let out as well as taken in for a perfect fit. There does tend to be a wider choice in smaller sizes but larger gowns are available and many styles can be adapted to be a little more generous.
Get the foundations right
For vintage gowns and dresses to look their best, getting the foundation right, especially your bra, is essential. The 1920’s bride kept it all flattened down but by the 30s the bust was on the way back up along with the waistline. For almost anything from the late 40s to the early 60s pointy and perky is the way to go. The late 60s and 1970s brides tended to have a more natural look but underwired push up bras were around and can work very well with empire line dresses. So take a couple of different bras with you when you try on vintage dresses. You’ll be surprised at the difference the right shape bra can make and you might save yourself some pennies on alterations.
Lastly enjoy the process of hunting down your perfect dress and try on as many different styles and era as you can. You may have in your head that you want a 1950s ballerina length but leave with a bias cut silk elegant 1930s dress. This way you will also see which style suits your body shape best.
This post was written by Erica Arnold from Real Green Dress who will be selling her beautiful original gowns at our London fair on November 8th.
Photos by Niki Nicolle