From the plucky gals in the silent films of the 1920s to the seriously vampy ladies of the 1940s, these wedding dresses will have you scanning Netflix for your favorite black and white.
These demure beaded dresses are perfect for brides toying a bit with an Art Deco theme. Even though there are lots of beads and detailwork on these gowns, note that the silhouettes are relatively unfussy. This was not the era of the princess gown. Instead the skirts fall into natural sheaths, with bodices either slightly blousoned (above) or with minor illusion necklines (below, right). As the 20s concluded, you start to see less flutter sleeves (above) and more of a movement towards sweetheart necklines and sleeveless dresses (below, left).
We love this beaded Art Deco gown above for so many reasons. First, this is the type of dress that flatters a woman of any age. It would look equally fresh and sophisticated on a bride of 25 or at age 50. Second, the entire dress incorporates a large scale beaded pattern, which makes for a really vibrant look. And, of course, our practical side loves that the dress doesn't need a dramatic hairstyle or a bunch of accessories to complete it.
Two trendy silhouettes coming out of Hollywood during this time seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. The first (above) is dainty and delicate, with a square neckline, delicate spaghetti straps, drop waist blouson top, and fitted through the hips. The second is loose and relaxed with deep v neckline, either a drop waist or completely shapeless waistline and long straight skirt. Both were often styled with above the elbow opera gloves and ultra-long strand necklaces.
For the starlets of the 1930s it was all about a movement towards an even sleeker silhouette and lacier details instead of the previous decade's propensity towards crystals and beading. Above, this light and airy wedding dress features an almost sheer lace overlay--perfect for a summer wedding when you want to stay as cool as possible! Below, a heavier lace pattern similar to Edwardian lace is evident in this glam gown, complete with a veil that would have been perfectly at home during the 1930s. Although most of these dresses you can see paired with a red or berry lip, a veil like this one seems to call out for more natural makeup as styled below.
Although there wouldn't have been many actresses in this era that would bare this much back (below), the petal-inspired details and slinky skirt are two very trendy Old Hollywood details.
Once the 1940s hit, Old Hollywood fashion is all about the sultry. Of course, there were always the good girls in lace confections (above) and those are great, but we love rooting for a vixen! The dress below is a perfect modern interpretation of the slinky silhouettes and fabrics coming into vogue during this decade. The neckline on the dress is actually at the collarbone, as the thin fabric and statement back reveal quite enough thankyouverymuch.
For those brides who just want a little va-va-voom, try a similar silhouette in a silver or gray that doesn't dip as low in the front or back. Above, this gorgeous option features drop sleeves and looks stunning with wavy locks. Below, if you find the perfect dress but you think it is a little too slinky for your ceremony or the season, find a matching capelet. They were all the rage as cover-ups in the 1940s, from weddings to red carpets.
Okay, so we get that the above wedding dress is for the boldest of brides. But its detailing is ga-ga-gorgeous. Check out the glam faux-fur collar wrap and flower beading. Also popular towards the latter part of the 1940s was wrapped halter necklines and draped dresses. This blush gown below is such a beautiful modern example of this. This type of styling, when executed well, can make a gown look much more expensive than it actually is. If you want a really glam Old Hollywood look, find ways to incorporate luxurious details like these.
Credits: Vicky Rowe | Anna Campbell | Jenny Packham | Lihi Hod | Rosa Clara | Rivini | Monique Lhuillier | Claire Pettibone | Amsale | Anya Fleet | Amanda Wakeley | Jenny Yoo | Jesus Peiro | Lazaro | Jim Hjelm