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What Sort Of Wedding Dresses Did Brides Wear in the 1950s?

Updated on September 11, 2015

With its petticoats, kitten heels and gorgeous tea-length dresses, the 1950s was a classic era for style, and it's not uncommon for brides to opt for a '50s inspired wedding dress. If you're thinking of rocking a 1950s style dress on your big day, then you'll need to know a little about the original wedding dress trends of the decade.


One of the defining features of 1950s style wedding dresses, and dresses in general, is that they have a cinched in waistline, to give an hourglass look to the wearer's figure. This distinctive waistline looks great on short sleeved wedding dresses, such as capped sleeves and princess cut sleeves. A nipped in waistline in conjunction with a halter neck style dress gives a retro rockabilly or 1950s pin-up look.


The skirt of a 1950s inspired wedding dress should be full and can be hooped. Floor length ballgown style short sleeved wedding dresses were popular on in the early '50s. Choosing a full length skirt will give a very classic and sophisticated look, which may be more typical for a wedding dress, but isn't such an iconic '50s look. In the mid- and late-1950s, a shorter length of wedding dress was commonly worn. Known as "tea-length" or "ballerina" dresses, they were usually short sleeved and would reach from anywhere just below the knee to the mid-calf. This is the more typical look that people tend to associate with the 1950s.


Lace was extremely popular in 1950s wedding dresses, as it had not been readily available in wartime era of the '40s. Choosing a dress with a lot of lace will give an authentic '50s inspired look, especially with capped sleeves made from lace. An alternative to lace would be a heavier silk taffeta or satin, as these fabrics became popular wedding dress fabrics in the late 1950s, in homage to the style of Grace Kelly.



During the '50s, it was quite common for brides to wear a bolero jacket with their dress, as in some faiths it was inappropriate to bare too much flesh in church. Today, most brides want their whole wedding dress to be on display, but if you're planning a winter wedding, it could be a cute option for keeping warm. Of course, with full skirts being part and parcel of the '50s look, you'll need a petticoat to give your dress some oomph!

Are You Going to Wear a '50s Style Dress on Your Wedding Day

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