Everything you need to know about Vintage Wedding Dresses
Updated: Aug 28, 2021
As we move towards a more environmentally friendly fashion future, many brides are choosing vintage wedding dresses over commissioning new bridal looks, and we love it!
However, finding the perfect dress can be challenging, especially when dealing with vintage styles. Read on to find answers to some of the most common questions about Vintage Wedding Dresses.
How old does a wedding dress have to be to be called vintage?
Like all clothing and accessories, a wedding dress should be 20 years or older to be classified as "vintage". However, this classification isn't regulated but more of a general agreement in the industry.
How do I find the perfect vintage wedding dress for me?
Narrowing down what style you want will help your search for the perfect dress. Define the look you want, collect inspirational images to figure out what decades are inspiring you. Try searching sites like 1stdibs.com, and follow the hashtag #vintagebridal on Instagram.
When shopping online it’s useful to have some brands in mind to help pinpoint what you’re looking for. If you’re into the late ’50s and early ’60s era, try looking for Gene Shelley, or couturiers James Galanos and Pauline Trigère. For a ’70s style, look for designers like Ossie Clark or Halston. If you want a more laid-back, minimal look, try Jil Sander, Max Mara or Armani. Right now the strappy styles and square necklines of ’90s Max Mara are very popular.
Should I clean my vintage wedding dress before using it?
No. Vintage wedding dresses are most often very delicate and should not be cleaned since it could risk completely ruining the dress. Therefore it is important that you make sure it is free of smells and stains before you purchase it. This is not a situation where you want to experiment or take a chance.
How can I whiten a yellowed vintage wedding dress?
So, even though we just said you shouldn’t clean a vintage wedding gown, there are certain steps you can take to restore your vintage dress and make it look like new. Sammy D Vintage provides a great step-by-step-guide.
Can I buy a vintage wedding dress online?
You can, but it is not recommended. Because of the delicate nature of vintage dresses, they must fit your body near perfectly, so it's crucial that you get to feel and try the dress on in person. If you happen to find your dream vintage wedding dress online, you have two questions to ask yourself: Is it going to fit? And also, is it going to hold up?
Where are some places to buy vintage wedding dresses?
Depending on where you live, there can be loads, or next to no shops offering vintage wedding dresses. We have gathered some insider tips from the industry on where to find your dream dress:
Vogue UK shares their insider guide to vintage wedding dress shopping.
WhoWhatWear UK lists their 8 favorite places to buy vintage wedding dresses.
How do I make a vintage wedding dress look modern?
Brides.com has a great post showing us 7 Decades of Wedding Dresses and how to wear them for modern times. Whether you're a flower child or idolize Grace Kelly, see how you can don the decade calling your name.
Are vintage wedding dresses valuable?
If a vintage wedding dress is valuable or not depends on multiple factors. Mainly the condition, size, purchase price, maker and fabric quality. The value can also be considerably influenced by whether the style of the dress is in fashion at the moment or not.
Pre Owned Wedding Dresses have an online calculator that can help you find out what certain dresses are listed/sold for.
How do I store my vintage wedding dress?
Brides.com shares some insightful tips on how to store a wedding dress, no matter if its vintage or new:
Wrap the dress in acid-free tissue paper or pre-washed unbleached muslin. Avoid colored tissue paper as it can stain the dress over time. Place layers of tissue paper or muslin between the folds of the dress to avoid permanent creasing. Make sure you stuff the bust and sleeves of the dress with tissue paper to maintain its shape.
Place the dress in an acid-free container and store it in an area safe from harsh light or temperatures, under a bed for example. Also, add silica desiccant packets inside the box for humidity control.
Alternatively, use an acid-free plastic garment bag and hang the dress in a cool, dry closet. Avoid using a hanger made of wire or wood. Wedding gowns are often much heavier than ordinary clothes, and their weight will pull on the fabric as it hangs, which can lead to distortion.
The Vintage Fashion Guild has an amazing wedding resource forum filled to the brim with vintage wedding inspiration submitted by community members.
Want the vintage look without the hassle of hunting down an actual vintage dress? Brides.com has listed 39 Vintage Style Wedding Dresses for the Retro Bride.
8 ways to change your bridal look from ceremony to reception, by the bridal botique "The white dress".