I’m not one to follow the gossip rags. Or to care about celebrities. Or to care about other country’s royalty.
But I have to admit that I’m catching a bit of Kate Middleton fever — you know, that lovely girl across the pond who’s won the affections of Great Britain’s knight in royally shining army, Prince William. But, only because her scheduled April 2011 wedding to Prince William conjured up images of vintage dresses, decor and delights at the more than the 265-year-old Westminster Abbey where the couple will exchange vows.
There’s been, and will always be, a ton of compare/contrast between Kate and her fiance’s mother, the late Princess Diana. Many like to analyze their shared and differing characteristics like a politically-charged ven diagram. No matter what designer dress she wears or “tone” Kate sets for her fairy tale wedding, fashion media outlets will be speculating every single detail — like how many bites of cake she’ll eat!! — from now through the big day. And they’ll be critiquing it — along with comparing it to Diana — until the princess-to-be meets her prince at the alter.
So what am I speculating? Well actually … nothing. Like you, I’m a casual spectator — but I have to admit I’m a casual spectator easily influenced by fashion-provoked inspiration. If this royal wedding hype has influenced anything, it’s inspired me to search for what MY wedding dress would look like … that is, if I were getting married.
So while I may not be engaged … much less have a boyfriend or er, any future “suitors” for the matter … I’m beginning to feel the “wedding pull” and the delicate desire to start wearing some winter white.
So here’s the Kate Middleton inspiration: While many of us won’t be walking down the aisle anytime soon, thanks to the wonderful world of vintage, we don’t have to deny ourselves of wearing pretty wedding dresses until the day we actually say, “I do!”
Read on for some of my recently discovered vintage wedding dresses available for purchase online right now from online retailers and staples like Etsy & Ebay. The catch to these vintage wedding darlings? Because they aren’t your standard 2010 wedding dress, they’re creatively stylish enough to wear ANY day of the year — not just the one where an aisle and flower bouquet is involved.
Good news, too — we all know how much a wedding actually costs! Spend that money on the part you remember most anyway … the dress!
Which vintage wedding dress is your favorite? Would you wear any of these to a party, event, work, dinner or play? Let me know in the comments below, or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org ANY TIME!
When It’s From: 1970s
Where You Can Buy It: $36, LA Vintage [for serious ... only $36!!!]
How You Can Wear This Wedding Dress Now: This picture says it all: a wedding dress that’s sweet enough for work, simple enough for the grocery store, and sexy enough for a date. I put this dress front and center because it’s versatile style and functionality is exactly what this blog post is all about: wearing a wedding dress any day of the year.
While wearing a dress like this one with beige lace-up boots and a cowgirl hat may not be your style, follow the leader and accentuate with modern selection similarly. Try a big wool scarf, sweater, hat and gloves with warm weather boots for the dead of winter. Rock with espadrilles and a sun hat to dinner on the beach. Pair with an embroidered vest and bracelet bangles for a Bohemian dance party.
This is a dress of freedom — just choose your function, and you’ve got the styling power to set this wedding dress free!
When It’s From: 1980s
Where You Can Buy It: $125, Ebay
How You Can Wear This Wedding Dress Now: This is your stay-to-play dress. I love the gloves, but for to make it a true stay-to-play winner, you gotta remove ‘em. Off they go!
Invest in some lace combat boots like this pair … they are all the rage in NYC right now, except matched with ripped tights and ripped denim. Be different and pair some 90s grunge to create contemporary wedding-inspired chic. Next, invest in a thick black leather belt. I’m usually not a pusher of the “belt matching the boots” mantra, but because the white of this dress is like a burning overhead light illuminating the rest of your outfit, your best bet is to keep things matchy-matchy here.
This is a short sleeved dress, and without the gloves, you have some serious skin a showin': Rectify that situation by putting a long-sleeved dark gray or dark red top over the dress, especially one that can be belted to fit against the dress easily and has some volume in the sleeves, like this one from American Apparel.
Why gray or red? You want to wear a top that pops color [since you will be all black & white if you don't]. Remember to wear the top OVER the dress. You ask why again? Because you’ll note that the top of the dress is a bit “ho hum.” But that gorgeous bottom? GLORIOUS! Like your body, show off your best parts. And the best part of this dress is definitely going to be that layered bottom of bliss.
Now, to accessorize with jewelry. One word: CHAINS. Grab some silver chains and black beads to hang effortlessly from neck to belt.
I may have created Courtney Love circa 1992 here … but like all good things in fashion, what goes around comes around!
When It’s From: 1950s
Where You Can Buy It: $175, Ebay
How You Can Wear This Wedding Dress Now: This dress is perfect for spring/summer’s first garden party. I wouldn’t wear it in the winter only because the bottom is so generously luxurious and large, therefore eliminating the option to add layers when cold. But for the warm months, this is a garden party dress just waiting to happen. I would pair a short strand of pearls, pearl studs and simple white gloves for accessories; and look for peep toe silver ballerina flats (or a light pink/nude shade) for your shoes.
If you have long, flowing hair, tie it into a bun to secure that “ballerina-in-the-garden-mystique.” Short haired girls, try a crystal headband or a flower in your hair.
When It’s From: The 1950s
Where You Can Buy It: $295, Ebay
How You Can Wear This Wedding Dress Now: This is a Betsey Johnson dress just WAITING to happen.
While dear Betsey dresses run about $500 or more, the vintage alternative is about half the price and double the value. I love how this seller named the dress “Paige” [a very Sammy D thing to do] and humanized it with a story about its past.
Give a wedding dress like this one a modern life by pairing with a delicate clutch, covering your shoulders with an off white lace shawl, and wearing the highest bright pink pumps you can find. Then find yourself the most talked about brunch spot in town and approach the hostess without a reservation — and an hour and a half wait to boot — before being sat immediately and served in style.
Well, that above scenario is not a guaranteed promise … but certainly a very lovely modern life!
When It’s Modeled From: 1950s
Where You Can Buy It: $589, Diva by Design [a company that makes vintage-inspired wedding dresses]
How You Can Wear This Wedding Dress Now: This is a perfect statement dress to whatever formal occasion you have circled on your calendar right now. It’s the dress that will have everyone — including the hosts of the party — talking about how stylish and poised you are. It’s like a forgiveness dress for the wrongs you never knew you’d committed [or future ones you may commit by accident]: After a crowd of people witness the sweetheart that is you in this wedding-gown-turned-evening-attire, you’ll never have to apologize again!
But in all seriousness, this dress IS forgiving — not only on the eyes, but on the figure, too. Thanks to it’s full body skirt and empire waist, any shape is flattered with this cut. The key is to accessorizing with lots of dazzle and design — like an all-sequin clutch, any sort of statement necklace or earrings that shine, and some really great peep-toe pumps that elevate your height and poise.
For warmth, add an embellished crystal shawl or vintage fur [faux preferred] jacket in black like this one.
[Editor's Note: I did NOT know that this was a mass produced piece until giving the site a closer look ... after having written this endorsement of it. I realize it is very expensive and not a real vintage dress!!! But you can search for "tea wedding dresses" on Ebay or Etsy to find the real deal ... promise!]
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