How wedding dress style has evolved through the ages

Gird your loins for those '80s puffed sleeves.


Marianne Kirby


Published Oct 1, 2015   Updated May 27, 2021, 9:22 pm CDT

Anyone who has ever looked through family photo albums knows that wedding styles change big-time over the years. From lace to crinolines to padded shoulders, wedding gowns reflect what any given era regards as mainstream classic elegance. And now, thanks to the style vlog Mode, we’ve got 100 years of wedding looks presented in three minutes: 

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Similar to the Cut’s 100 Years of Beauty videos, we get one complete wedding look for each decade, beginning with 1915. We see not only how the gown has changed throughout the ages, but also the hair, makeup, shoes, and bouquet. (Each look is also accompanied by a different song so we aren’t just listening to “The Wedding March” all the way through.)

Styles are clearly reflective of their origin—those 1945 puffed shoulders are as distinctive as the 1985 puffed sleeves. (And the teased hair. Oh, the teased hair.) But there are a few surprises for people who aren’t students of fashion history: 1935’s long, lace duster is elegant in its luxe simplicity and wouldn’t look too out of place heading down the aisle now.

Especially charming is the ending, when we’re looking at the 2015 gown. Because our smiling bride is joined by another woman, wearing a very hip tuxedo look. This gesture signifies one of the very greatest changes in wedding culture, of course: the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. As Mode says at the end of this journey through 100 years of gowns: “Love is always in fashion.”

Screengrab via Mode/YouTube

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*First Published: Oct 1, 2015, 1:08 pm CDT