It’s appropriate for Valentine’s Day to celebrate romance. And blushing brides are rediscovering the glamour of the 1920s. In again are the swinging silky, satiny silhouettes inspired by Art Deco patterns, and Egyptian motifs (popular by the discovery in 1921 of King Tut’s tomb). From cap-sleeves to beaded bodices to capes to pearls, the 1920s beckon the 2020s bride. As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this week, let’s look at some examples of vintage bridal fashion from the 1920s, and dresses inspired by the 1920s.
If you are looking for a vintage wedding dress online or in resale shops, here are some tips:
- If shopping online, read the descriptions carefully. If there’s only one picture, be wary. There may be hidden stains or damage.
- Buying in a resale shop? Look over the lace and sequins carefully to see if any repairs are needed. Look for tears and stains.
- The description should note the size of the dress, as well as the depth of the seams (for alterations if needed).
- Be ready to have the dress altered and repaired professionally if needed. The older the dress, the more fragile the material.
- Make it the dress of your dreams!
Enjoy your old-fashioned day of romance!
Be careful when washing delicate antique clothing, especially ones embellished with lace, sequins and fragile fabric. Spot clean if there are obvious stains. Remove metal snaps or hooks since you will be soaking the dress and it may cause some rust to get on the fabric. Be very careful with silk or satin. They react to chemicals. Handwash in a tub of lukewarm water and soapy detergent, like a gentle Ivory powder or Woolite. If the dress is yellowed, add about three scoops of Oxi-clean if it’s appropriate for the fabric. (Do your research first about your fabric!) Gently stir the water with your hands for a few moments. Let the dress soak for up to 24 hours.
Eva off-white beaded flapper dress / wedding dress, Art Deco style decoration, Great Gatsby and Downton Abbey inspired, $178. Photo: Etsy.com / Jywal
Vintage silk wedding dress, handmade, beaded, 1924, $164. Photo: Etsy.com / FarmsteadVintage
Art Deco-style wedding dress, beading, tassels, sequins, inspired by the 1920s, $494. Photo: Etsy.com / VintageLaneBridal
Vintage silk beaded flapper dress, Great Gatsby style, 1920s, $213. Photo: Etsy.com / CrimsonQueens
Wedding dress and headdress, silver lamé with silver glass beads and iridescent sequins. Worn Aug. 12, 1924. Photo from 2012 Western Reserve Historical Society exhibition in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: WRHS / Cleveland History Center
Wedding gown with attached floor-length cape, hand-beaded mesh, Adrianna Papell, Macy’s, $479. Photo: TheKnot.com / Macy’s