Wedding Dress History

The story of the most researched and thought of fashion item for many women is perhaps an opportunity to pause and remember why the wedding dress is so special. The wedding gown has always been a traditional piece of clothing especially created for the ceremony marking the transition from single to married. This custom has evolved over the centuries according to cultural influences, fashion trends and religious beliefs. We know for example that in the Roman Empire, the bride was already wearing a white dress adorned with a veil and a wreath of orange blossoms. The Catholic Church has also taken up and continued the tradition making the white robe a symbol of purity and virginity.

However, in Europe, it was not until the late nineteenth century that the wedding dress found such uses as before that time, women got married in colored dresses, especially for financial reasons. With workers and peasants, the bride used to choose a color so that she could wear the dress on other occasions. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, brides were wearing dresses in earth colors that symbolized fertility or maturity.

white wedding dress

The marriage of Queen Victoria in Britain had a great influence in the world of wedding gowns fashion when the Queen cut with tradition by deciding to wear a white dress to symbolize purity and virginity. She chose a simple, white satin dress, trimmed with lace with a long veil and wore as hair decoration a wreath of orange blossoms. Since then, it became a rule to copy the style of the royal wedding gowns.

This romantic Victorian style temporarily disappeared during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries either because of fashion trends or because of the economical difficulties caused by the Second World War. The long dress definitively came back into fashion in 1947 when Christian Dior created his New Look style.

Photo Credit: Constantin Butuc Studio,

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