This week at KTB we’re talking all things vintage, whether you’re a fan or not of the vintage wedding trend, it’s something we see often gracing the pages of magazines and on Pinterest. In part 1 of our blog with Bex from Bexbrides, she takes us on a journey through the decades, speaks about what vintage means to her and how to source your own vintage dress.
In my opinion weddings have always been vintage. Weddings are all about tradition and looking to ideas and inspiration from the past to build a family together for the future.
In Victorian times, the first time it became fashionable to have a particular dress for your wedding rather than just your Sunday best , those dresses took inspiration from the 17th century on design. At the turn of the century and into the 20s the gowns were very Medieval in style and shape only possibly differing when some became shorter length. In the 30s, 40s and 50s the gowns combined Edwardian collars and sleeves with fuller skirts from previous centuries.
Brides stuck to tradition and designs based on previous eras then in the late 50’s and early sixties we had a rebellion against tradition against marriage itself in some ways and it all became quite structured in style or boxy mini dresses. Then in the 70s people yearned again for traditional styles and the mid to late 70s were all about Medieval dresses with long medieval sleeves.
Once we arrived at the 90s after all those sleeves, shoulder pads and the ruffles, we rebelled big style and did not just tame the sleeves down we cut them off altogether! And the strapless gown become the fashion for brides.
Suddenly with the upsurge of the Internet, no longer were the brides limited to leafing through a magazine that carried the same images as the other magazine. They could search for inspiration! Brides turned again longingly to the styles and items of the past, they looked for lace and interesting items to use in their wedding theme – it was the age of the Mason jar and the hand tied bouquet. Finally, we were back to the times where brides, their families and possibly the whole village would have looked at helping out and styling church halls with whatever they could find to fill with flowers etc.
So no I don’t think it’s a bad thing, we have just given a label to something that we have already been doing for a century. I can’t see it fading away any time soon. The “vintage” era/decade even century we draw our inspiration from as designers may change. But the term is here to stay.
What does vintage mean to you?
For me as a designer, making gowns, it’s whichever era my client loves and wants their gown to take inspiration from. For me as a specialist original vintage bridal shop selling original and up cycled gowns, I would say anything more than 20 years old. If the gown is from the 80s or 90’s then it’s retro. If it’s newer than that, then it’s just classed as pre-loved.
How easy is it to source a vintage dress?
It is getting harder and harder as of course the demand has increased dramatically over the last five years. (I could weep at the thought of all the gowns cut up for dusters or simply thrown away in years gone by.) For a prospective bride, she can visit specialist fairs, specialist websites or trawl Ebay and charity shops.
What is your favourite era and why?
I don’t have a favourite, I am passionate about all historical fashion and I have been since I was a small girl. I still have a colouring book of fashion through the ages from when I was 8 years old! I do however love lace and sumptuous beaded trimmings and try and incorporate them into which ever era my client is styling their wedding gown on.
Do body shapes play a big part in what style (era) will suit?
Yes they do as you need to play to your strengths and if you have a tiny waist and a generous bust then one era will be much more suitable than others. Every body shape has a particular era that suits it best. However with clever styling and design you can incorporate any era into your day.
If vintage is your style visit: Bexbrides, Bespoke and Preloved Bridal Studio – www.bexbrides.co.uk