Published on: Tuesday, July 19, 2016 05:00

Many girls dream of slipping into their mother or grandmother’s wedding dress on their big day. It’s a common practice that bonds generations, takes care of your something borrowed and adds a retro design aesthetic to your look.  

Though, you don’t have to wear a hand me down to get the look and feel of a vintage wedding dress.

When shopping for a wedding gown that’s both your own and full of yesteryear charm, consider one of these seven quintessential features.

Tea Length

Widely popular in the 1950s, a tea length gown is one that stops somewhere between the knees and the ankles. They can be strapless or sleeved and come in a variety of materials, although lace tea length wedding dresses are especially authentic looking.

Illusion Neck

If the thought of a strapless dress feels too modern for your taste, consider the retro-chic look of an illusion neckline. Whether you choose a sleeveless A-line wedding gown or long sleeve simple sheath dress, a bateau neck gives a highly elegant nod to the vintage era.

Bell Sleeves

For the free-spirited bride, a 1970s reminiscent gown could be a perfect match. The bohemian romance is best captured in a bell sleeved wedding dress. Typically trimmed in lace and adorned with matching appliques, vintage-inspired bell sleeve wedding gowns offer a host of unique charm.

Retro Lace

While there are no shortage of lace wedding dresses on the market, those that emit a vintage flare do things a little differently. The use of lace appliques adds a certain softness to any silhouette. Others are designed to mirror vintage-inspired patterns like the crochet lace wedding gown above.


Turn of the century-inspired sheath gowns evoke old world glamour with a fresh, contemporary take. Their simple silhouettes are often embellished with art deco beading and sweeping trains. Undeniably classic, these vintage sheath gowns are hugely popular among today’s most alluring brides.

Empire Waist

Empire waist gowns were originally designed to lengthen a woman’s height and disguise unflattering portions of the midsection. They also harken back to French socialites in the 1700-1800s and will make the vintage hungry bride feel she’s just stepped out of a classic painting. More than almost any style, Empire silhouette wedding dresses are an exquisite way to achieve an authentic retro bridal look.

Cap Sleeve Ball Gown

For a wedding dress that embodies timelessness, there is perhaps none more appropriate than a cap sleeve ballgown wedding dress. Drawing inspiration from classic style icons such as Jackie Onassis and Grace Kelly, the delicate sleeves, cinched waists and romantic full skirts of cap sleeve ballgowns are sure to make any bride feel like modern royalty.

Whether you simply don’t relate to the dresses passed down in your family, or just prefer to have the experience of shopping for your very own wedding gown, the first step to finding your vintage-inspired dress is to identify the feature(s) that speak to you. Use this guide to help add a bit of retro glamor to your modern day nuptials.

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