1950s bridal fashion

Shah Reza with Shahbanu Soraya

1951 wedding dress by Christian Dior

The 1950s brought us Christian Dior’s New Look, the stiletto, and an overwhelming optimism following the war. This decade found brides directly channeling feminine grace during their big day. Join us as we learn more about 1950s bridal fashion and use these tips as you plan your own special look.

1950s bridal fashion

The 1950s silhouette focused on the classic female form: hourglass curves, uplifted bosom, and a small waist. Every element paid homage to the bride’s shape: veils were shortened to elbow length and were often very voluminous to mirror the dress, bolero jackets or stoles complemented strapless gowns, and bouquets were small and kept as an accessory rather than a focal point.

The nature of dresses and the wedding event itself transformed during the 1950s. For the first time, dresses were being mass-produced and often bridesmaids would wear the same style of dresses (although the colors may vary among bridesmaids and the maid of honor). The jackets or stoles we mentioned earlier gave the bride flexibility as she could remove it during the reception to create a cocktail dress vibe. No longer were brides meant to repeat their exact look from church to dance hall. The mid-century newlywed remained the picture of calm and glamour. As you’ll see, the prominent styles and colors echo the nature of post-war ideals.

Mr. Peepers wedding

1954 wedding fashion

Popular colors for a mid-century affair can lean toward pastel or rich tones. Both are equally stunning and help establish the overall event’s color story. In addition to hue, when you are seeking out a true 1950s look, consider these dress requirements: look for gowns that have a fitted bodice and full skirt (keep in mind you’ll need to wear petticoats underneath to create the necessary volume); necklines that are either a high collar, off the shoulder, strapless, v-neck, or rounded; waistlines that hit you at your natural waist; dresses at either floor length or stopped at the lower calf; and gowns made out of satin, tulle, or Chantilly lace. Keep in mind that a tailored look is critical for authenticity. This may require extra undergarments such as a corset or corselet (which is a small corset that wraps around your waist).

When it comes to completing the look, the classic shoe choice is either a stiletto or the white strappy sandal. To top it off you can select veils, crowns, or a cap that has a veil attached to the back. As we’ve discussed, the 1950s bridal look is all about expressed femininity. So for makeup, focus on a fresh natural face with emphasized eyes and lips. Keep the eyelashes thick and the lips red, matching your lipstick color to your nail polish. Hollywood icons influenced many of the hair styles for this time, so work with a vintage hair stylist to customize a stunning, retro Hollywood look.

Cause A Frockus would like to thank their tremendous resources: “Vintage Wedding: Simple Ideas for Creating a Romantic Vintage Wedding” by Daniela Turudich, “Style Me Vintage: An inspirational guide to styling the perfect vintage wedding” by Annabel Beeforth, and the people who post their images without restriction.

For our readers: What is your favorite vintage wedding decade? If it’s the 1950s… what do you love about it the most?

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