Health & Medical Beauty & Style

Wedding Dresses Through the Years: 1844 to Today

“American Brides: Inspiration and Ingenuity”

Wonder what women of yesteryear wore on their wedding day? In "American Brides: Inspiration and Ingenuity," now on display through October 24, 2014, in Denton, Texas, (located just northwest of Dallas), you can see 42 American wedding gowns dating from 1844 to today.

The amazing collection, plucked mostly from the Texas Fashion Collection at the University of North Texas by TFC's Director and Curator Myra Walker, shows the evolution of bridal style throughout 170 years.

If you're looking for vintage bridal gown inspiration or just love historic fashion, you must check out this free (yes, free!) exhibit. 

Can't make it to Texas? Check out my photos of some of the gorgeous gowns I spotted during my visit in August.

“American Brides: Inspiration and Ingenuity”
June 28 to October 24, 2014
Presented by the Greater Denton Arts Council and the Texas Fashion Collection at the University of North Texas
Patterson-Appleton Center for the Visual Arts
400 E. Hickory St, Denton, Texas

Hours: Tues. – Sun. 1 – 5 p.m., closed on Mondays & holidays.
Free and open to the public.

Wedding Dress from the 1840s

In 1940, Queen Victoria's white Honiton lace bridal gown made the white bridal gown popular with women everywhere. This Romantic Period bridal gown circa 1844 in cream silk satin is the oldest gown in the exhibit. It's rare to find an early Victorian wedding gown still intact.

Wedding Dress from the Civil War Era, early 1860s

This Civil War-era bridal gown circa 1863 was found by Steven Porterfield, owner of the Cat’s Meow vintage store in Midland, Texas, and guest appraiser on “Antiques Roadshow,” in early 2014 at a vintage sale on the East Coast. Therefore, one could deduce that a Union bride wore it.

Wedding Dresses from the 1870s & 1900s

(Left) Bridal gown circa 1874 from the early bustle period. (Right) A late Victorian gown circa 1900 that combines Victorian style with modern features.

Wedding Dress from the 1880s

This bridal gown circa 1880 from the early bustle period in ecru silk damask features a piccadil scalloped hem trimmed in tabs and ruffles. 

Wedding Dresses from the 1910s & 1930s

(Left) An Edwardian period bridal gown circa 1912 with a slight empire waist and a monobosom. (Right) A wedding dress circa 1934 with a bias-cut skirt and train that created a sleek, clingy silhouette popular during the period.

Wedding Dresses from the 1920s

(Left) Bridal gown circa 1920 from the Neiman Marcus bridal salon. (Right) Flapper style bridal gown circa 1925.

Wedding Dresses from the 1940s

(Left) A World War II-era bridal gown circa 1944. (Right) A post-World War II bridal gown circa 1946. 

Wedding Dress from the late 1940s

This post World War II gown circa 1948 shows a return to more conservative bridal wear. 

Wedding Dress from the 1960s

It's something Audrey Hepburn would have worn beautifully—a charming bridal gown circa 1952 in white cotton organdy embroidered with a floral motif.

Wedding Dress from the early 1970s

This adorable mini bridal dress circa 1968 is made of white machine lace. (One of my favorites!) 

Wedding Dress from the 1970s

This "Juliet" style wedding dress from 1972 was originally purchased at a Dallas dress shop.

Wedding Dresses from the 1980s & 1890s

This lovely off-white organza bridal gown with full train dates circa 1975.

Wedding Dress from the 1980s

(Left) Inspired by Princess Diana's wedding gown, this gown from 1982 was designed by Winn Morton and custom made in New York by Jon Rager of Michael-Jon Costumes. The puffy sleeves are reminiscent of "Gibson Girl" gigot (or leg-of-mutton) sleeves seen at right. (Right) A Gibson Girl period bridal gown circa 1894.

Wedding Dress from the 1990s

This bridal gown by San-Martin International Bridal circa 1985 embodies 1980s excess with its over-abundance of ruffles, beadwork and over-the-top train.

Wedding Dresses from 2012

Designed by Houston designer Victor Costa in 1994, this bridal gown features geometric cutouts and is inspired by an Italian gown that the bride once saw.

Wedding Dress from 2013

(Left) Bridal gown designed by Michael Faircloth in 2012 features a 1930s influence. (Right) Bridal gown designed by Alisa Otto in 2012. 

This bridal gown designed by Nardos Imam for Stanley Korchak in 2013 transforms into a reception dress by unzipping the lower part of the skirt. 

Keep up with the latest vintage clothing news on Twitter @trendyjenny, Facebook at Vintage Clothing at About.comPinterestGoogle+ and Instagram.

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