I don’t know what it is about me and vintage clothing, but I almost always like something that reminds me of the 40s and 50s. When I was shopping for a prom dress in high school, I wanted something old-fashioned and, well, black. After searching and searching, I finally found something that sorta-kinda resembled what I wanted, but it just didn’t align with my ideal dress. It was A-line, black and silver, and had a corset back. I didn’t like that it lacked some ruffles and lace that were so iconic of the 1950s, but I was running out of time and had to get something within my mom’s budget. I hated prom anyway, so it didn’t matter in the end. 🙂
But I digress. Over the last few months, I’ve been looking for a wedding dress. This time around, I really want something special. Originally, I was looking for a vintage gown, designer if possible. I love Hattie Carnegie and Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta and Adolfo Sardia… but alas, women these days tend not to be the sizes they were mid-century. But looking through, I felt like I just had to share some of the dresses I found. Vintage dresses, gah, I love them.
This is a Hattie Carnegie dress, circa 1950s. I love the sparkles and touches of silver — and even though it’s pink, it just looks like it’d make you feel amazing.
Another Hattie Carnegie dress. It’s too bright for me, but I love the layers of lace, the embroidery, the pretty scalloped edges, and the flattering waistline.
Finally a non-pink Hattie Carnegie dress! The yellow ribbon tied around the waist just makes this dress even more adorable. I wouldn’t have thought to put a bright color like that with an ivory dress, but it looks amazingly fashionable and elegant at the same time.
Oscar de la Renta dress. This isn’t vintage (as far as I know) but the design sure looks it. I love layers of frills and elaborate collar lines of flowers or ruffles.
A couple of Adolfo Sardia dresses. The dropped waist is something I’ve always liked, too — and the beading is just gorgeous on the gown on the right.
The champagne-colored embroidery just screams vintage beauty. I am quite in love with this Lanvin dress.
Christian Dior. Love this dress, it looks so frosty and sculpted; channels some feelings of royalty!
Christian Dior again. So pretty with its cascading flowers…
I don’t know the designer of this gown, but the tiny sleeves, the beading, and the layers of fluffy tulle just make me want to put it on and twirl around like a little kid. Seriously.
If I were going more for a traditional gown, I’d totally pick something like this. Aside from the obvious reasons why I like it, I love the tiny buttons all the way up the back. Cute? Yes. A pain to get on? Even more so.
Okay, so I went a little crazy posting dresses there. These are mostly vintage, from the stellar site Thefrock.com, which, if you’re looking for high-quality (and a little spendy) vintage dresses, look there; they have an absolutely amazing collection to peruse. But if you’ve been paying attention to the descriptions as well as the dresses, you’ll have noticed the sizes of most of these dresses. Yeah, they run pretty small. I’m not a large person by any means, but I definitely don’t have a 24″ waist — nor will I ever possess that caliber of daintiness. So my sister turned my attention to etsy.com, where you can find all sorts of hand-made things. I didn’t really know what to expect from it — it seemed like you might find some things that weren’t as well made as, say, your typical gowns you find in spendy stores. I was amazed to find a variety of unique designers who make tailor-fit gowns to your specifications. Numerous pages even took custom requests, or offered to alter any part of a dress that you wanted to change. So then I began my hunt. I was positive I could find a gown that looked just as gorgeous as a vintage designer piece, and — bonus! — that fit me perfectly.
Bridal Bliss Designs specializes in recreating custom gowns. I love her attention to detail and her creativity in making a design match the vision of the bride requesting her work. Just take a look at a few of her creations:
Looks remarkably similar to some of the 1950s tiered tulle and lace dresses, doesn’t it?
Reminds me of a ballerina — I could also see this paired with a cute, bright sash, like the Hattie Carnegie gown!
The lace details, the sweetheart neckline, and the a-line skirt make this a vintage-inspired gown worth checking out.
Based in Australia, Avabridal has pieces that are unbelievably affordable for the amount of skill and care that goes into the creation of each gown. They offer crystal upgrades and even sell matching accessories for their gowns! Truly worth taking a peek.
I love the beadwork and the dropped waist, all tied neatly together with a little sash. Very reminiscent of the Sardia dresses.
The champagne-colored embroidery mimics the Lanvin vintage gown, and the cascading flowers tie in the “Cinderella” Dior gown’s appeal, too!
Classic layering of beads, organza and silk skirt — very elegant.
Bellina Bridal. Located just north of Rome, Italy, this very small studio makes custom gowns as well as promoting its own line — and on top of that, sometimes they even carry true vintage dresses! The work is amazingly high-quality and the woman who runs it is very kind and enthusiastic about her work. Check out her skills, it’s worth it.
I love how she looks like some sort of snow princess. A breathtaking gown.
Scalloped neckline, layers of lace, and a bow? Yeah, of course I like it.
The asymmetry in this dress just caught my eye. I love the white beads and embroidery.
Then I saw this dress. I immediately fell in love with it — and this will be the gown that I wear for my wedding this summer! It’s absolutely perfect for me in every way — layers of soft fabric, pretty beads and flowers, an asymmetrical waist, and a corset back.
Well now that I’ve gone through this, I hope that if you’re looking to have some vintage styles on your wedding day, that this can help you a bit. If you’re a lucky person and you get to wear a true vintage gown, that’s wonderful! If you can’t seem to find the perfect fit, then perhaps these other choices will help you get the gown you desire.