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1920s Wedding Styles

 Now that the shorter "bobbed" hairstyle became the norm, women looked for ways to offset the boyish pixie appearance and compliment their feminine appeal.  The celebration of the head became the call of the hair liberation movement.  Cloche or Cap Veils were de rigueur for the twenties, fitting over the forehead and then falling gracefully at the back.  Often made from silk tulle, starched and pleated, they became more and more elaborate, some using the finest Lyon and Brussels lace.  These were decorated with embroidery floss, satin ribbon or metallic gimp

At Left: The corners of this veil are a rounded rectangle and the veil is made from unmistakable silk tulle as it falls straight to the floor with no body.  Her forehead is embellished with a metallic lace geometric, popular during the Egyptian craze.

At Right: This brides cap veil incorporated a large, gathered pouf  of doubled tulle at the back that was balanced by her simple daisy and crown trim.  Her over the elbow opera length gloves and her huge bouquet with traditional ribbon knots were cutting edge twenties style.  Her Bridesmaid carries a bouquet of black-eyed susans to match.

Note the similarity between the bride's silhouette at right, from the cut of her sleeve to her over the elbow gloves and single strand of pearls; to the Bride below.  The two Brides are almost identical in their 1920s wedding style.

 


 

 

Headpieces in the roaring twenties became more and more elaborate in contrast to the simplistic appearance of the rather loose cut dresses of the period. The chemise dress appeared to go straight up and straight down and the focus of style went to their, er... heads.  Veils became yards of dreamy silk tulle that was often photographed  in a graceful gather at the Bride's feet. This bride's veil is rectangular cut, perfectly matching her lack of  waistline typically associated with gowns of this decade.

Naturally as America began to assimilate different cultures into it's society, wedding headgear was open for interpretation.  Integrating styles and customs of the old country with the new, weddings became elaborate affairs that often measured a family's worth and social standing in the new American society. This photo at left appears to be a Westernized wedding with Mediterranean style.  Amazingly, the trend for crownless floppy wedding hats did not catch on in America, but the photos prove they at least tried.


The flapper of the twenties created a rather appealing look with their adorable headpieces.  Without a doubt, wreath headpieces are absolutely the most flattering type of headpiece worn, suitable for all types of facial features and shapes. Vintage wreaths or "hakus" like the one worn at right were made from velvet and gilded leaves and sewn to a grosgrain or velvet ribbon headband.

"The wreath is best made from natural materials or suitably elegant materials for it to work pleasingly," wrote Mary Frye.

These bridesmaids must have taken her advice because they are absolutely stunning. Note how the hairpieces compliment the pearl chokers as well as the neck and sleeve line of the chemise.

A rectangular or square shaped veil will work best with vintage wreaths or antique crowns where the veil drops directly from the back of the headpiece.  1920s silk tulle fell out like spun sugar and did not overwhelm the simple wreath.


Cloche hats have established themselves as the timeless classic of the twenties. Sometimes a hat can be just as dramatic as a veil and is an appropriate alternative for the modern bride to consider, but the style is a demanding one, since the removal of  the cloche during or after the ceremony may leave flat hair.

Gloria Swanson perfected the fit of her cloche so that she never had to take it off.  It rested low over her eyebrows and made it necessary for her to lift her chin and peer imperiously down her nose.
The bridesmaid at left didn't have that problem. Be aware though, that modern flash photography at your wedding may leave shadows from the cloche brim shielding the flash. An alternative is a knitted or crocheted cloche cap, covered with pearls or sequins and without the upturn or fold.

Cloche hats best accompany the chemise or tube dress of the 20's, tea length and worn with opaque stockings.  Contemporary millinery shops abound with versions of the cloche and should you decide to wear one for your wedding, the added benefit exists that it may be worn after your ceremony!

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