5 Vintage Dresses Under $50 for Spring/Summer Theme Weddings

April 28th, 2011


vintage wedding picture

Hello and Happy Thursday everyone … AND, happy 24 hours till ROYAL WEDDING LIFT OFF!!!!!

I feel like tomorrow is as anticipatory as the dropping of the Times Square ball on New Year’s Eve, or the lift off of a space shuttle to the moon!

I’ve been talking with a few royal wedding followers on the Sammy Davis Vintage fan page, and quite a few of them are hosting their own celebratory viewing parties, complete with British accents like tea & crumpets, or a vintage-inspired wedding hat!

I love that today’s technology enables mass communication — and thus, worldwide unity — to experience and enjoy monumentally historical events as one. While I can’t be for certain, I would guess that Americans were unable to view Princess Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles LIVE like we are able to see Kate Middleton wed William at 5AM EST tomorrow!

Like a New Year’s Eve countdown or astronauts heading into space, tomorrow not only marks a glorious occasion that celebrates life, love & patriotism — but also, an occasion that celebrates true international connection as two countries (plus some!) sit on the edge of our seats together, waiting for the princess-to-be to kiss her prince.

With spring in full swing and summer fast approaching, it’s safe to assume that many of you have calendar’s full of wedding dates yourselves. Or, perhaps you’re getting married this year and plan on wearing a vintage wedding dress.

While we can’t host our own wedding time and time again (although, there are some who do, wink wink!), we can attend weddings time and time again … and buy VINTAGE DRESSES (!!) to wear to these romantic events of union between our beautiful friends and family.

Keep reading after the jump for 5 affordable & stylish dresses both trendy for today and timeless for the future that you can wear to whatever “theme” wedding you may have marked on your calendar for this spring and summer, including formal, tropical, rustic, country club & backyard!

I was particularly inspired to write today’s post because a few followers have shared their personal weddings photos with me, and it truly WARMS my heart to recognize that they felt comfortable enough to offer me a peek into their lives.

Which leads me to my next thought! If you would like to share your wedding photo — no matter how new or old! — please post it on the wall of the Sammy Davis Vintage fan page. I’ll “re-share it” so that it appears in everyone’s newsfeeds. That way, we can all draw inspiration from one another … and re-celebrate your big day like it was happening TODAY!

The beauty of life is that no matter the day, celebration is always! Every moment offers to chance for gratefulness and love of ourselves and each other. Thank you for celebrating vintage fashion with me!

xx, SD

 

THEME: FORMAL

formal wedding picture

Formal weddings typically take place at night after the 6 o’ clock hour.

They are held at a lavishly decorated location, like a private club or upscale restaurant.

The lights are low, the decor is dark and the dresses are fab-u-lous!

DRESS: UNDER $50

womens vintage dress

A trendy and timeless dress for your future formal weddings is a cocktail “tuxedo” dress. I’m calling it as such because of the satin sash shaped into a bow at the chest.

The black and white motif of the dress is a gentle nod to the black and white motif of a black tuxedo suit and white button down shirt.

This dress is made from velvet material, which is an appropriate material to wear anytime of the year when attending a formal wedding.

You can wear tights and a sequin jacket for winter; or strappy black heels and bare on top for a sultry summer look.

Because the bow operates as a chest accessory, stray away from adding a necklace. Instead, wear pearl or crystal stud earrings and lots of cocktail rings.

Invest in a great pair of black heels that like the dress, are timeless and trendy for many events to come.

WHERE TO BUY ON ETSY: Santo K Vintage, $18 (YES …. this is only $18!!!)

HOW TO SEARCH ON ETSY: To find a formal wedding dress, I typed “black cocktail dress.” Cocktail is the universal term for “vintage formal.” You could also try “vintage little black dress,” although your search results will return a few casual styles not fitting for a formal setting.

THEME: TROPICAL

vintage tropical wedding picture

Tropical weddings are the ultimate getaways … if you can afford to make them, that is!

But not to fret about the added expenses: There are a plethora of appropriately tropical (read: NOT tacky!) vintage dresses available to buy pre-flight online.

The key to investing in a beach or island dress is not mimic the exact “island theme” of your wedding’s location. For example, don’t wear a Hawaiian-themed dress in Hawaii, or the colors of a country’s flag found at the hotel gift shop.

Opt for something completely original that still sings (not screams!) “sun & fun.”

DRESS: UNDER $50

tropical vintage womens dress

This is the perfect tropical wedding dress because of three unique characteristics:

1.) It’s a bright color in a fuschia pink, with a muted tropical pattern of small palm trees

2.) It’s floor length for a sleek and chic look — no need to show off more skin just because you’re at the beach

3.) Speaking of skin… you’re still showing some off, by way of one leg slit and a fabulous one-shoulder cut

WHERE TO BUY ON ETSY: adVintagous, $40

HOW TO SEARCH ON ETSY: To find this dress, I searched for “tropical dress.” The search results had a variety of dresses, some good and some bad.

To tighten your search for a higher chance of more good than bad, try “tropical beach dress” or “one shoulder maxi dress.”

Floor length dresses are often a “tropical theme” to begin with, because they are so light and airy for beachwear but still offer comfortable coverage. So you don’t always need the “tropical” qualifier to find a dress of that motif.

THEME: RUSTIC

country wedding picture

Rustic weddings are similar to a tropical getaway wedding, except you don’t necessarily have to jump on a plane to get there or sip a drink with an umbrella in it during cocktail hour.

In musing on the theme of my own future wedding (someday!), I’ve been attracted to “rustic” inspired because of its many opportunities to offer a vintage experience by way of scenery and activities.

Rustic weddings take place in old barns or held lakeside in the woods as a the sun sets.

These weddings embrace a backdrop of Americana and nature over the frills of what you’d find at a country club or restaurant reception.

A rustic wedding isn’t necessarily a “casual” wedding, but the setting is meant to put you at ease so that you can enjoy the scenery and stop to the smell the roses, too.

DRESS: UNDER $50

vintage womens country dress

When searching for a vintage dress appropriate for a rustic wedding, my instincts told me to search “hippie dress.” I found some interesting options, but many of theme were a white base with a brightly embroidered floral design. In all honesty, they also looked “too vintage.”

Those first set of results inspired me to realize that a rustic wedding calls for rustic colors. So my advice to you when dressing for a marriage celebrating the great outdoors is to look for a dress in earth tones, like neutral browns, reds, oranges or creams.

I like the idea of wearing an earth tone “flower child” dress like the one above that offers full coverage up top but shows off your legs below.

WHERE TO BUY ON ETSY: Green Market Vintage, $32

HOW TO SEARCH ON ETSY: After realizing that “hippie dress” wasn’t garnering me the results I wanted, I changed my search query to “tunic dresses.”

The dress you see above is a tunic style dress, which are short dresses that can be worn as tops over leggings or as mini dresses with breathable room throughout, a V-neck and flowy, billow arms.

While I recommend wearing a tunic dress in an earth tone, I wouldn’t search for “earth tone tunic dress.” It’s too specific, and sellers don’t identify their pieces by color palettes. “Brown tunic dress” or “green tunic dress” will give you more options.

THEME: COUNTRY CLUB

countryclub wedding picture

My father and stepmother were married overlooking a golf course, and the setting was simply stunning. The acres of green offered the perfect contrast against the bright blue sky and colors of the wedding party’s outfits.

We had the opportunity to take photos on the golf course, and when I recently scrolled through the pictures on Facebook, I found myself looking at the rolling hills more than the people in the shots!

A country club wedding, while embracing the beauty of the great outdoors like a rustic wedding does, is also a very sophisticated and organized wedding scenario. In other words, it’s a wedding of “minding your ps and qs.”

An army of country club employees are preparing your experience so that it’s enjoyed “to the tee” (pun intended!) and it’s in your best interest to opt for conservative chic versatile for both hand-shaking as you network and booty-shaking as you dance!

DRESS: UNDER $50

vintage womens shift dress

A country club wedding deserves a nod to Lily Pulitzer, the queen designer of all things preppy-and-posh for ladies.

While the dress above isn’t a vintage Lily piece, its large paisley design and muted pink foundation follow in accordance with what a Lily dress represents — fresh prints in polished cuts and pretty colors.

Wearing a sleeveless dress to a country club wedding allows for a throw-over cardigan or a neutral-colored shawl if the weather turns chilly (or the AC is on too high!).

Plus, we can’t forget the pearls! If the fabric of the dress hits your neck, wear longer pearls that can be looped around your head to hang as double strands.

If your dress exposes skin at the chest, wear one strand of small pearls that hang slightly lower than a choker necklace.

WHERE TO BUY ON ETSY: Studio 1950, $35

HOW TO SEARCH ON ETSY: There are a few ways to search for the perfect country club wedding dress, depending on which characteristic you’d like most in your dress.

The dress above is a shift style dress, so searching “shift dress” will return a ton of options.

But, if you are looking for a Lily Pulitzer lookalike, try searching for “paisley print dress” or “60s print dress” or “60s paisley dress.”

Many of the Lily designs you see today are inspired by her designs of the ’60s, so you’ll have a great chance of finding a dress that looks 100 percent modern, but is actually 100 percent vintage!

 

THEME: BACKYARD

backyard wedding picture

The epitome of backyard wedding is the one we remember so fondly from the movie Rachel Getting Married.

I absolutely loved the low lights (including natural ones, like fireflies!), do-it-yourself decorations and dance-into-the-night fun.

Of course, that movie was about much deeper things than just the fun of getting married. No matter the plot line, the wedding “setting” and the “movie set” was absolutely backyard-wedding-inspiring.

DRESS: UNDER $50

womens vintage dress

Backyard weddings are the most personal of weddings … because they are at someone’s home!

So men, come wearing khakis and a button down shirt, and ladies, come wearing your favorite, most relaxing dress that represents your love of self expression and self style.

Still not sure which dress in your closet you’d wear to a backyard wedding? A great default option for this season is to go with the trends and wear a ’70s-inspired maxi dress in brilliant brights.

Maxi dresses offer figure flattering empire waistlines, and the fun of the ’70s will give your dress (and the wedding’s attendees!) something to talk about.

WHERE TO BUY ON ETSY: Golden State of Things, $25 (no joke again .. only $25!!!)

HOW TO SEARCH ON ETSY: For a larger return of results, search for “1970s maxi dress.”

For a more selective return of results focused on the “bright” element of your backyard-wedding-dress-to-be, search for “bright maxi dress” or “1970s bright maxi dress.”

The dress above is an oversize paisley print, so if you are looking for a similar design try “paisley print maxi dress.” And if you want to really wow ‘em at the wedding, search for “psychedelic print maxi dress.”

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4 Comments

  1. i love this post. the themed weddings are the best to me. im really loving that country club dress pick. the shape and color is soooo springtime!

    great post!

    [Reply]

  2. Wow, Sammy! You did a phenomenal job crafting this post. I’m actually attending four weddings this summer and each dress that I have selected for each wedding is vintage. I definitely love the dresses you’ve chosen and the explanation for each one.

    Chandra
    @ShiftC

    [Reply]

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