Do you remember when you were a little girl? You’d find the longest dress in your closet, throw a white pillowcase over the back of your head, and pretend that you were a bride.

A beautiful gown, the perfect hair and makeup, all eyes on you.  

There’s a reason why your wedding day is considered one of the most special days of your life. It’s the day when you get to be the center of attention, doted on by guests, adored by your husband-to-be, and let’s not forget… the envy of all your friends. 

While every detail of the wedding is important, the gown you choose will set the tone for the entire event, make your photos pop, and serve as a source of inspiration for other design decisions. Don’t be surprised if your wedding cake baker asks to see photos of your dress as they may mimic the texture and details to perfectly capture your personal style. But most importantly, your gown will determine whether or not you feel your most confident throughout the day. 

While entire stores are dedicated to showcasing the latest styles in bridal fashion, going the modern route isn’t for everyone. If you’ve ever gazed longingly at photos from the past, felt like you should’ve been born in a different era, or just wanted to stand out and be different, going vintage on your wedding day might make your special day even more special. 

Why Go Vintage

There are a variety of reasons why some brides decide to rock a vintage wedding gown when it’s their time to walk down the aisle. 

Be the Envy of All the Brides You Know

Let’s face it ladies, as much as we don’t want to admit it, it feels good when our friends are a little bit jealous. Wearing a vintage wedding gown will have all of your married friends wishing they’d thought of it, and all of your single friends hoping they meet the right person soon so they can go vintage at their wedding as well. 

Be Unique

While men see it as a job well done when they end up wearing the same outfit, women would rather be caught dead than in the same dress. While you probably won’t be sharing the day with multiple brides, there’s a good chance that your guests have been to other weddings recently or have been planning their own. 

Sure, choosing one of the “wedding gown styles of the year” will guarantee that you are fashionable, you’ll also risk looking like everyone else. Choosing a vintage gown ensures that you will be unique on your wedding day. Plus, modern dresses are often inspired by vintage designs so you’ll still be in style.

Look Your Absolute Best

There’s a reason why women spend thousands of dollars on the dress, the hair, the makeup, and the accessories. You will be standing in front of your family, your friends, and most importantly, the partner of your dreams. You’ll be looking at photos and watching videos of this day for the rest of your life. You have one day to feel like a princess (or whatever your version of a princess is)… make it count.

With so many decades and styles to choose from, you can wear whatever makes you feel the most beautiful. A properly chosen vintage gown will bring out your personality and your inner confidence so you can truly shine.   

Wear a Piece of History

There’s something incredibly special (and downright cool) about wearing a piece of history. A vintage wedding gown may have sat in storage for 50 years until it was found, restored, and given a new life. You have the opportunity to pay homage to times past and while you may not know who had the dress before, it’s even a nod to the original bride. 

Pass Down a Dress your Daughter Would be Honored to Get Married In

It seems like the perfect situation. Proud of your beautiful daughter who is all grown up and has found the man of her dreams, you offer her your wedding dress which you laundered and preserved for this very day. 

This unveiling (pardon the pun) can go in one of three ways. If your dress was an off-the-rack, boring, common wedding gown from a big box store, you may end up with your feelings hurt because your daughter doesn’t want to wear it. Or, she may choose to wear the dress so as not to hurt your feelings, but secretly hate it and feel resentful and sad about her wedding day.

Of course, if you chose a vintage wedding gown that was beautiful, unique, and represented a graceful time in history, you may have an excited daughter and one wedding task crossed off your to-do list. 

They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To

We’ve all heard that familiar noise… the popping of a stitch that alerts you to a tear in your clothing. Maybe it’s in an inconspicuous spot. Or maybe, you’re about to back out of a public place with a borrowed sweatshirt wrapped around your waist.

If you spend upwards of $5,000 on a high-end gown, you might get quality. However, lower-priced, modern-day wedding gowns are manufactured to survive one wearing and nothing more. Unfortunately, sometimes they don’t even last that long. Vintage dresses were made during a time when designers and seamstresses took more pride in their work and created gowns that would hold up throughout the day and for years (and decades) to come. 

Create A Theme

Most brides choose to have a theme for their wedding, but sometimes, this can be a difficult decision to make when your ceremony or venue location doesn’t have an obvious direction. Choosing the vintage gown that fits your personality will help guide your thematic decisions and pull the other aspects of your event together. 

Protect the Planet

Maybe your reason for going vintage is less about style and more about sustainability. If you consider yourself an eco-friendly bride, purchasing a vintage wedding gown is reuse at it’s finest. You probably know that the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, but did you know that one wedding gown is estimated to use 2,377 gallons of water to manufacture? Wearing a vintage gown allows you to stand up for what you believe in… while still looking super pretty on your special day. 

The History of the Wedding Dress

After months of searching for the perfect wedding dress (not to mention seeing it depicted in the media), it’s easy to think that gowns have always been white. After all, when you picture a wedding dress in your head, chances are you see a long, flowy, white symbol of “innocence and purity.” 

Believe it or not, white hasn’t always been the go-to color for a bride’s special day! In fact, since white was considered nearly impossible to keep clean, it was a sign of extreme wealth with most women wearing colored dresses like red, yellow, green, and grey. Many brides chose the color blue because it was the symbol of purity in those days. The popularity of the white wedding gown didn’t rise until Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe wed in London on February 10, 1840. White was the perfect color to highlight the handmade lace gown that Victoria chose to wear. 

From there, women’s magazines described the look as “innocent and simple,” and it became the norm. Wealthy women of high status throughout Europe and America followed Victoria’s lead and chose white as their wedding gown color. The average bride throughout much of the 19th century, wore her best dress on her wedding day, no matter what the color. 

This wasn’t the last time that practicality and the norms of the time factored into wedding gown styles. We’ll soon review vintage wedding gown styles throughout the decades. But first, take this quiz to help determine your style. 

Vintage styes 

Let’s take a look at how wedding fashion has changed through the years and how you can wear your favorite vintage wedding gown style today to achieve a traditional or modern look by adding accessories. 


The Great Depression took its toll on every aspect of living during those years… including the wedding industry. Many brides chose to wear the nicest dress in their wardrobe rather than spending excess money. For those that opted to purchase a new dress, gowns were simple and lady-like, and sometimes made from rayon rather than silk as it was more affordable. Styles included figure-skimming silhouettes, high necklines, and long sleeves inspired by Hollywood glamour. Dresses featured small trains and minimal ornamental designs. Brides frequently opted for hats instead of traditional veils. 

For a Traditional Look

For a Modern Look


As many brides saw their husbands off to war in the early 1940’s, wedding planning took a backseat. Brides often chose formal pieces already in their wardrobe or borrowed a gown. . Wedding gowns became a bit more casual and often fell higher on the leg. The popularity of slim-fit dresses continued along with high necklines and long sleeves.  

When Christian Dior’s first collection, “New Look” debuted in 1947, he introduced fashion with rounded shoulders, a cinched waist, and a full skirt. This style transferred over into wedding style, highlighting ultra-femininity. 

For a Traditional Look

For a Modern Look


With the full skirt of the late 1940’s still in fashion, brides began flocking towards romantic and femine ball gowns with scooped necklines and off-the-shoulder collars. Fingerless bridal gloves were a staple of this style, often made of tille, lace, or satin. Even women who were normally clothed in more sporty, casual outfits, desired a more formal “princess” look on their wedding day. For many brides, long, lavish trains were hooked on for the church service and then removed for the reception.  

In the late 1950’s, brides began to rebel against the high-necked, long-sleeved dresses of previous years with a more “risque” strapless dress. The 1950’s style continues to be prevalent in today’s fashion making it one of the easiest eras to incorporate into your wedding day. 

For a Traditional Look

For a Modern Look


Much like the counterculture revolution of the 60’s, the wedding gown industry saw a style upheaval. Where-as the previous decade saw ball gowns, modern brides of the 60’s were wearing slimmer-fitting column dresses, and above-the-knee (or just below) hems in a nod to mini skirts. The 60’s could truly be described as the “anything goes” era in both culture and bridal fashion. 

Colorful dresses made popular by Elizabeth Taylor showed a departure from the required “bridal white” gowns. Other trends included mutton sleeves, formal coat dresses, and mod, straight silhouettes and boat necklines. Some brides opted for dashing off to Vegas to tie the knot wearing short mini dresses and fitted cloche hats. 

With the hippie movement sweeping the nation, some brides chose long, flowing, Boho style wedding dresses and simple flowers adorning their hair. 

For a Traditional Look

For a Modern Look 


Once again, Christian Dior changed the face of bridal fashion with “big sleeves with a puff at the elbow,” and brides couldn’t get enough. Bohemian style made its way onto the scene with long, flowy sleeves for a more feminine and eclectic look. Hemlines were often long and skirts had lots of sheer layers. Flowing cotton dresses furthered the ethereal look. To showcase peasant-style, brides skipped veils and opted for hair ribbons instead.

For a Traditional Look

For a Modern Look 


The 1980’s wedding gown style matched the hair of that decade… big! Dresses included puffed or flowing sleeves, oversized skirts, cathedral trains and full-length veils. The wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981 made many brides strive for a “princess” look on their special day with lace trimmings and frills. 

The decade also saw strapless dresses as a fashion trend for bridal wear. 

How to Incorporate a Vintage Wedding Dress Into Your Wedding

Just because you’ve chosen a vintage wedding gown doesn’t mean that your entire event has to be themed around that era. There are a variety of ways that you can incorporate the vintage wedding gown of your dreams, while still having a modern wedding. Here are a few suggestions to add a hint of vintage glamor without going overboard:

For the Venue or Event Space

Food and Beverage

Your Outfit and Wedding Party

Highlight Family Traditions

Where Can You Buy the Perfect Dress

What happens when you drag your family and friends, AND your fiancee’s family and friends from bridal shop to bridal shop? Wedding dress shopping can be exhausting (both physically and emotionally). 

If you already know that you’ll be looking for a vintage gown, your cushy shopping experience in bridal boutiques now looks more like scouring antique stores and second-hand clothing shops for “the one.” You may not have the time, the energy, or even the access to a big metro city for your search. Plus, during our current pandemic, you may not even feel comfortable doing in-person shopping and potentially exposing yourself to COVID-19. 

Shopping online opens you up to a much larger pool of dresses, but without knowing where they’re coming from, the quality isn’t guaranteed. Are they irreparably stained, or rotted? Are there rips or tears that can’t be mended? How much work (and money) will you have to put into the dress to restore it to its original beauty? Not to mention, you are buying a dress sight-unseen and un-tried on… for the most important day of your life! 

Thankfully, there’s a better way.

The Vintage Eclectic is an online clothing store created by two vintage-loving ladies with a passion for making women feel beautiful and included, regardless of size, shape, height, skin color, or walk of life. As a green company, we believe in recycling old clothing to give it a new life instead of polluting our environment further with dyes and chemicals, using up more resources, and contributing to our already overtaxed landfills. There are beautiful pieces available and with a little tlc, they can be enjoyed by a whole new generation. 

Co-founder Dawn Kelly has worked as a professional wedding photographer since 2005… she knows wedding gowns and knows what will look good on each bride. That’s why every bridal gown customer receives a 30-minute consultation to find the right style and the right dress. Using the answers you’ve provided in the quiz above, photos you supply, and a conversation about what parts of your body you love and which ones you’d rather not showcase, Dawn will help you find the perfect vintage gown for your wedding day. We’ve got a large variety of gowns in stock in a multitude of sizes and in a variety of price ranges, however, if we don’t have the perfect dress, we’ll look for it. 

The Vintage Eclectic understands that ultimately, your gown will be on you – a real person – not a mannequin. That’s why we use real models for all of our dresses, allowing you to see how it hangs on an actual body. We’re also proud of our Photoshop-free policy. Every woman is beautiful in her uniqueness and her flaws. We choose to celebrate them rather than hiding them. To further the empowerment of our fellow female warriors, we donate 3% of our profits to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 

Wearing a vintage wedding gown from The Vintage Eclectic on your special day is not just a way to let your personality shine through, it’s a way to stand up for what you believe in. Allow us to help you feel beautiful, powerful, and loved on your wedding day. Schedule your free consultation today and make your wedding day memorable.