A Brief History of the Wedding Dress
By Cynthia Andrews
Modern designs continue to update and modernize the appearance of wedding dresses, and the tradition of wearing them is stronger than ever today. With collections of wedding dresses from retailers like David’s Bridal coming out by the season, styles are ever changing. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that these cutting edge designs stem from a tradition that stretches far into the past. For hundreds of years, brides have been looking lovely in their bridal gowns.
The origin of the wedding gown goes back to ancient times. Like many other Western marriage customs, bridal gowns come from Rome. As part of a pagan rite of passage, brides would wear muslin or flannel dresses with a girdle. The dress was colored white as a tribute to Hymen, the goddess of marriage and fertility. Roman brides also wore rectangular veils, colored brightly to match their shoes.
White did not become the color of choice for wedding dresses until around 1840. This was the year that Queen Victoria was married. For the wedding, Victoria wore a relatively simple dress, colored all white to incorporate some lace that she liked. Photographs of the dress circulated, making white the popular choice for weddings.
Wedding gowns continued to follow fashion trends into the 20th century, but they stayed predominantly white in color. The Industrial Revolution allowed wedding gowns to be mass-produced, and brides of all socioeconomic levels could now afford a new white dress for the occasion. During the Great Depression brides often still managed to procure white dresses for their weddings, and many dyed the gowns darker afterward for everyday use.
Today, mass media spreads popular styles of wedding gowns across the world. Some brides choose a classic look, and others look for dresses inspired by those worn in high-profile weddings, such as that of Princess Kate Middleton. Designs like these from the latest White by Vera Wang collection at David’s Bridal reflect the latest trends. Expect to see dresses with voluminous skirts, floral details, vintage style lace, as well as less traditional necklines this season.
While carefully designed wedding gowns have been in use since ancient times, the wedding dress has certainly come a long way. Modern innovations give brides the best selection of any women throughout the long history of wedding dresses. Every bride can now find the perfect dress for her wedding.
About our guest blogger
This information was brought to you by David’s Bridal, a nationwide bridal retailer featuring spectacular wedding dresses, gowns, accessories, and more. Cynthia Andrews a freelance writer with a love for all things wedding and fashion.