If you're thinking of something different for the prom this year, why not try vintage prom dresses? With a look from a different era, you not only can be sure no one will be dressed like you, you'll save a ton of money too. To find these dresses, you'll have to turn to online sites since many retailers don't sell them in stores. Don't fret though, you have many options for places to buy as well as vintage dress styles so you find the perfect one!
Where to Shop
Check out this list of websites for vintage dresses available for purchase:
- Vintageous: In the Featured Fashion section, you'll be delighted to see styles that range from two-toned, full-length gowns to short and sassy cocktail dresses. The selection at Vintageous is tremendous, so whether you like your dresses long or short, with sleeves or without, you should be able to find it here.
- Posh Vintage: What makes this online shopping site so special is the fact that you can shop by era. This means that whether you want a flapper-styled 1920s dress or a bold and colorful 1960s one, Posh Vintage has it.
- Unique Vintage: Shop this site if you want a "vintage-inspired" dress, not a dress that is actually from a different era. All the dresses housed at Unique Vintage feature unique modern twists on vintage designs. Details like eye-catching ruffles and one shoulder straps are sure to get noticed.
- eBay: The styles on eBay vary, but if you want a dress that is truly unique, then you'll want to periodically check this site for changes and updates.
- Etsy: This marketplace for handmade creations also has an extensive vintage selection. You'll find everything from cupcake-style 1950s confections to the cheery neon tones of the 1980s. Simply search the ever-changing selection for your ideal vintage prom gown.
Options for Vintage Prom Dresses
When choosing vintage prom dresses, you can go with any era that you love. The most popular and easy to find dresses are from the 1940s and after.
Dresses of the 1940s tended to be rather simple. Because of the war, there wasn't a lot of money for fancy dresses or a lot of extra fabric lying around to make them from. For that reason, 1940s dresses typically are rather tight fitting and often sleeveless or with short sleeves.
It is possible to find "swing dresses," which were designed to accommodate that style of dancing. These featured fuller skirts. Many 1940s dresses don't have a lot of embellishment, while others are covered with beads or lace.
There's something very Audrey Hepburn about most of the vintage prom dresses you will find from the 1950s. The classic lines of these dresses will never go out of style. There is more ornamentation on these dresses than those of the 1940s, with bigger skirts and a lot of tulle showing up everywhere. The classic 1950s prom dress would be a pink ballerina-inspired number, with a knee-length or slightly longer tulle skirt and a body-hugging bodice.
Dresses from the 1960s are all over the map. In the beginning, dresses were still following the sleek 1950s lines, but by the end of the decade, floral patterns, sequins and other big, bold designs and colors were popular. You can find 1960s vintage prom dresses that will suit just about any taste, from girly girls to hippie chicks.
The 1970s in many ways followed the fashion trends of the 1960s in that just about anything was fair game. Sequins were still very popular, and pastel colors were common on prom dresses and bridesmaid's dresses of the era.
Dresses in the 1970s that were influenced by disco tended to be sexier and sleeker than the earlier dresses. These body-hugging beauties were often made from velvet or lace, or the 1970s super-fabric, velour.
Dresses from the 1980s tend to have extra bits of fabric floating around, whether it's a bow or a faux wrap skirt. Sequins and ruffles were in, as were big shoulders and other big embellishments. Dresses from the 1980s frequently featured bright or dark colored fabrics, and they still make bold fashion statements today. Wear your hair huge to go with the scale of one of these dresses.
Getting the Right Fit
Looking for a vintage prom dress can be a little like going on a treasure hunt. You might find a dress you love, but it simply won't fit you. Of course, if the dress is too big, you can usually have it altered, but this is more difficult if the dress is too small. It can especially be difficult for larger people to find vintage dresses because the average woman was smaller in the 1950s than she is today, but it is possible to find classic dresses in just about any size if you're willing to take the time to look.
A Memorable Dress for a Memorable Night
Wearing vintage prom dresses is a lot of fun, especially if you want a really unique look. Dressing in a way that's different from everyone else will make your prom night even more of an event to remember!