100 Years of Wedding Dresses: 1920s

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

When you think of the 1920s it’s hard not to think of glitzy flapper dresses, jazz music and the Great Gatsby. Often referred to as the “Roaring Twenties” it saw a large shift in social and cultural trends following the end of the First World War. Normalcy returned to politics, Art Deco became a major trend and jazz music increased in popularity. The use of cars, phones, film, radio and electricity became more widespread too.

Things were looking up for women as well, with most countries passing women’s suffrage in 1918 and the “flapper” trend resulting in knee-length skirts and dresses becoming socially acceptable, alongside the iconic finger wave bob. Outfits became boldly accessorised and comfier as women sought after loose, straight tailoring with simple lines.

Wedding dresses of the era embraced the shorter length and slim, straight silhouettes with dropped hip waistlines. Long sleeves were still common and backless dresses and v-necklines became popular with brides.

Embellishment was a key element - whether it was beading or pearls in extravagant geometric detailing on the bodice or draped elegantly across the sleeves or fringing and scalloped detail as personified by the flapper style. Excess was all the craze. And the fabrics reflected this too, ranging from devoré velvet to delicate lace.

White was still the most prevalent colour but ivory, ecru and eggshell were around as well.

The dress was usually accompanied by a cloche style hat or veil worn from a flapper headband that flowed into a train. Glitzy, beaded hair accessories to complement the excessive dresses were en vogue too, as was art deco inspired jewellery. Popular footwear at the time were Mary Janes, t-strap shoes and pumps.

In terms of the brides' beauty look, inspiration was taken from the 1920s ‘It Girl’ Clara Bow with her painted pout, powdered face and dramatic dark lined eyes. Hair was bobbed with finger waves or tight curls and suited the Juliet cap which came into fashion in this decade.

Brides carried bouquets that become increasingly bigger, adorned with floor-length ribbons, popular flowers of the time were orange blossoms and chrysanthemums.

Feel free to get in touch if you have a question or want to talk about how I can help you plan your wedding by visiting leaholiviaweddings.com or email leah@leaholiviaweddings.com.

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Based in Somerset, UK and covering the rest of the South West, Leah Olivia Weddings provides wedding planning services to modern couples.

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