Wedding Dress

NicoleMaui Photographer, Maui Photography

Wedding Dress And Its Mark On America

For decades the wedding dress and the wedding gown, along with wedding hairstyles and
accessories, have grown and matured as women continue to look their absolute best for their
very special day. From the 1920’s through the 1940’s women’s styles began to give her an
independent identity.
In the 1920’s, hairstyles for women began to change to a shorter cut known as the “bobbed”
hairstyle. However, as much as this gave women the freedom of choice in their own looks, they
felt that they were losing their feminine appeal due to their boyish, almost pixie like appearance
and therefore leading them into a hair liberation movement.
Along with their new haircuts, came new hats that accentuated their broadened sense of style.
Women of the 20’s began to wear the hat known as a Cloche. The cloche was designed to fit
over her forehead and then fall eloquently towards the back. The cloche is usually made from
silk tulle and are both pleated and starched, as they became more elaborate. Some cloches were
made with the finest Brussels and Lyon lace materials. The caps were then decorated with satin
ribbons, embroidery flosses or metallic gimps.
The veil is often designed with rounded rectangles for the corners and generally will fall to the
floor having no body. The woman’s forehead will be adorned with a metallic lace geometric,
which became very popular throughout the Egyptian craze. The bride’s cap, or veil, usually
incorporated a large gathering of pouf of doubled tulle towards the back and became balanced
simply by her daisy and crown trim.
Her gloves would be worn long enough to go over her elbow for not only show of beauty and
elegance, but also they protected her skin from the bouquet of flowers that she carried with her.
Often her bouquet was made using traditional ribbon knots that were definitely the design of the
1920’s. To match the bride, a bridesmaid will also carry a bouquet of black-eyed susans.
The 1930’s styles began to take on the look of the glamorous movie star, which was once
thought of as being obscene and immoral. With the first appearance of an evening halter dress, so
came the exposure of her midriff. This look was usually seen in formal wear gowns, and worn by
actresses, which were deemed acceptable by the entertainment censors. However, they were only
approved if the wearer of the gown’s belly button was covered up.
With this coming out style of dress, we also saw a new hairstyle to match as her hair went from
the short dixie cut to a cut that’s length fell between her chin and her shoulder and was often
softly waved. With the new actresses looking so enchanting, she exuded on screen a woman that
was self-sufficient and was also articulate. In addition, she also appeared sexy as her shoulders
were softly broadened and her bosoms appeared looser. A far cry from a look just a decade
Also in the 1930’s film era, was the glitz and sparkle of costume jewelry. This jewelry was used
quite often in the black and white movies to show off that glitz. Her hair was also a star just by
simply adding feathers and rhinestones in it.
A decade that saw World War II, sanctions were levied in an attempt to ration materials which
were to be needed in the war effort. In the year 1942, the L-85 guidelines were released by the
War Production Board. This report listed the amount of cloth that was restricted for use by the
clothing manufacturers. However, exempt from such sanctions was the wedding dress. Despite
the exemption, people understood the rationing of silk for the war, and accepted the use of rayon
for their wedding dress material.
Hairstyles in the 40’s also had changes as the pompadour became popular for women. This style
had two purposes. One was to allow a woman’s face to be seen more easily and also for safety
reasons as she worked in machine shops during the war.
A bride in the 1940’s decade that preferred a wedding dress usually included illusion netting.
This netting gave the heavy satin gown the appearance as if it were floating off the bertha
collared shoulders. Wedding gowns in the 40’s were usually simple dresses with frills and lace
added onto the yoke as a trim.
However, after the war, it became business as usual in America. Fabrics were once again in full
use. Gowns began to change from simple to the sophisticated and elegant, while the trains and
shoulder pads became more dramatic and became more of a fashion statement.