Time Traveling Bride: The Fabulous 1950’s

By Amy-Jo Tatum, Published Dec 14, 2012

I only wish I had a whole book to cover this week's featured era on Time Traveling Bride. In short—the 1950’s were fabulous! When Christian Dior revolutionized fashion in 1947 with his “New Look” it was with cinched waists atop skirts flowing in yards of fabric over layers of crinoline. It marked a turning point in Twentieth-Century fashion—the hourglass, the most defined female silhouette, was back.

It wasn't until around 1950 that this look we associate with the Mid-Century really took form (strapless bodice with sweetheart neckline and yards of tulle skirt).

The wedding dresses here are mostly authentic vintage bridal modeled by women young enough to be grand-daughters or great grand-daughters of the women who originally wore the dresses. There was an unwritten code for dressing as a bride back then: Arms were preferably covered, backs and decolletage could be seen only through sheer laces, nets, and organzas. The length of your gown dictated the formality of the wedding. To the floor meant you went formal; above the ankles was considered cocktail length or semi-formal.

Today we see reproductions of 1950’s bridal chic everywhere but updated. Gone are the restrictions! Those repros by designers like Candy Anthony and Stephanie James are created mostly off evening gowns, prom and cocktail dresses in white, ivory, blush or pastel. Chances are an evening gown of the era has most of the elements you're really looking for in your 2013 wedding dress, as opposed to the actual wedding gowns of the day, but they were lovely, weren't they?


  • If you love the 1950's styles and silhouettes but want color by all means go with it.  Above (three photos up) is a great example of adding color with a dress by Samuelle Coutue. Whether you're going with authentic vintage or reproducing a look,  the hourglass silhouette in any pastel work beautifully.
  • Try to keep your hair as timeless and classic as possible via chignons, buns, etc. Hairstyling in the fifties was the dark ages of coiffure as far as I'm concerned and you don't see too many folks trying to bring these hairdos back unless they're doing a spoof on June Cleever. Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn sported classic tresses as opposed to the hair chic of the day and look where it got them...
  • Cage veils have gone fashion viral the past couple years. Did you know these wisps of nose veil or netting covering the eyes weren't called cages back then, simply net?  Topped off with some sort of hair ornament or floral, they were mostly worn for city hall weddings or elopements. Today you can marry in a cage anywhere.
  • Below (second and third down on the left) are some typical 50's headpieces with veils in pink. Brides wouldn't have likely worn these back then but bridesmaids and guests would. Good news--Brides today certainly could and would top it off in pink!
  • The pillbox hat on the bride below (top right) is classic late 50's and would be perfect.
  • Adding gloves really makes for a great fifties look. Long opera length says formal--short ones proffer a more dainty and ladylike daytime look.

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