The new trend in bridesmaid dresses seems to be – go vintage. Brides are shopping for Pin up girl style dresses and Flapper styles and, more often than not, coming up empty.
While most people associate 1920s fashion with flapper and gangster type clothing, those styles weren’t actually popularized until 1925 and forward. Before the flapper girls and dresses were dancing around the speakeasies, women were wearing long drop waist dresses which stood approximately 12-14 inches from the floor. The onset of the different styles was a move towards rebellion by women in an attempt to draw attention to women’s rights. Girdles were dispensed, hems rose, sleeves disappeared and women were in control of their bodies for the first time in history. Its a tribute to these women and the fight for women’s rights which makes 1920s style vintage bridesmaid dresses a social, as well as fashion, statement.
The popularity of stars such as Katy Perry and Dita Von Teese have created a different type of niche in the bridesmaid dress. The pin up girl styles. While these stars sport the dresses of the 1950s, they were actually made popular by Bettie Page. Betty Page often called “The Queen of Pin up”, wore lovely swing style dresses with crinoline, and peter pan halter dresses. The dresses were featured in bright reds and dark blues, sometimes with polka dots. Tight waisted and fitted bodices were the norm and while Bettie Page was sporting the halter form of the dress, stars like Doris Day were wearing the short sleeved versions with dainty white gloves.
Shopping for a bridesmaid dress is difficult in the first place, but finding quality vintage dresses is even more difficult. It is important to choose dresses which match the color and theme of your wedding, as well as work in form and function.
Choose your bridesmaid dress with care as they often need more than one alteration. Not every figure can wear a halter dress, keep the style for women with smaller arms and waists. When choosing a flapper dress for your bridesmaids, be sure to measure hip size carefully, as the waist must fit more snugly in that area. Having a bridesmaid dress made is often more expensive than buying the dress. There are specialty shops which make dresses in the pin up and flapper styles. Even Amazon.com has the different styles of the eras.
Stick with the theme when choosing accessories to match your clothing. Flapper girls wore long pearl necklaces which hung down to the navel, as well as wrapped around the neck once. Cloche hats and tightly bound curls were the styles of the 1920s. Lipsticks were red and shoes were Mary Janes.
When choosing the pin up girl style dress, remember the importance of bust and waist sizes. Measure carefully around the largest part of the chest and waist. Long hair is a perfect fit for this type of dress and can hide the halter clasp. White gloves and large brimmed hats are the perfect accessories.
Whichever vintage style you choose, be sure to buy at a reputable shop and remember that once alterations are complete, you won’t be able to return the dress.