Fashion For Brides of All Ages - 1922

Steps That Lead to the Altar.

The Wedding-Dress Should, Above All, Be Seasonable ~ Suited to the April Freshness of Its Wearer Or to the Riper Grace of Her September Maturity.

Powder Blue Crepe Romain and Silver Lace Frock.

When One Crosses the Threshold of Matrimony and the Thirties Simultaneously, One Might Wear This Powder Blue Crepe Romain and Silver Lace Frock. The Head-Dress of Pearls and Silver Cloth Suggests an Afternoon Wedding, Though the Gown May Serve for an Evening Ceremony. Design by Douglas Pollard. Vogue Magazine, 1 April 1922. GGA Image ID # 15f021312f

Grey Crepe Romain Wedding Gown, 1922.

In the Fullness of Life, One Might Look Very Slender in a Grey Crepe Romain Wedding Gown With Length of Line Given It by Sleeve Draperies and a Panel, Girdle, and Cuffs Embroidered in Platinum Colored Pearls. A Black Spanish Lace Veil Accents the Trim Silhouette of the Grey Crepe Hat. Design by Douglas Pollard. Vogue Magazine, 1 April 1922. GGA Image ID # 15f0597a61

Cupid, in this age of ageless persons, twangs his bow at old and young alike. Nobody is safe. From eighteen to eighty a band of enchanted couples circles the globe, pricked, if not pierced, by his arrows.

All brides resemble one another above the cheekbones because the same light shines out of their eyes, and perhaps their mouths may have the same sort of smile. Why not, when each one thinks she faces Fate at its happiest? But the fact remains, that they have not all the same number of years to their credit.

Now, how shall brides be dressed appropriately and charmingly from eighteen to eighty? The Age of Innocence, the Dangerous Age, and the Dignified Age must all be considered. Brides who have never been brides before,  Brides who have been brides more than once and are still annexing new husbands with the entire goodwill of their discarded ones, Brides who have been widows many years and are timid about reconstructing their lives. Each type is represented by multitudes, and they are in no Valley of Indecision, either. They are, every one of them, walking steadily toward matrimony, and they naturally wish to look their best upon their wedding day.

Nothing calls forth such long-suffering, patient effort on the part of designers and costumers as the marriage garment. To arrange fresh combinations of white on white, in velvet, satin, crepe de Chine, chiffon, tulle, lace, or embroidery for the shell-pink figure of ideal youth is difficult enough;  but, when it comes to sophisticated youth and, near-youth, to the July peony period, August maturity, the adventurous epoch of September, the time of middle age held off and middle age admitted, of spirited old age—all to be clothed for the same occasion —then, indeed, the dressmakers may well clasp their hands to their aching heads and collapse upon the nearest sofa.

But do they? They do not. They read. They study pictures, they dream, they exchange ideas with one another, and, in the end, they manage to create a most surprising variety in the attire of their clients. Cherub-faced little maidens in airy flounces, stately statues in sweeping silver brocades, and cheerful matrons in rich, bloomy silks, may all be brides of the same day and hour, but the gown of each must express her individuality, as well as the apparent number of her days. And, in many cases, it actually does.

Old-fashioned girls were married in book - muslin, whatever that was - and India lawn.  Now, at eighteen, they may have satin and the rarest lace, if they like, and only the greatest artistic sense on the part of the modistes will keep their frocks simple enough.

There is something very charming in soft white for the young, chiffon-hidden silks and tulle veils, just a suspicion of crystal and silver embroidery, frosty freshness and snowy delicacy; it seems so much more befitting than the smooth, cool sheen of satin and the elaborateness of real rose point. These are for older brides, girls of fine, upstanding figures and dark, Diana heads, whose trains should flow and ripple behind them and whose beauty can afford to be lit by the sparkle of diamonds.

Blondes in bluish-white velvet, medieval dripping with pearled nets and tassels, with ivory prayer-books clasped in their long, lovely fingers, and their lovely eyes either modestly cast down or soulfully upraised, are the very pattern and picture of bridely propriety.   However, every woman cannot be blond and soulful-lurking, nor dark and Diana-like, nor eternally between the ages of eighteen and twenty-eight.  Nor are all women of the same figure.

Dress and Cloak of Grey Crepe Romain, 1922.

The Woman Who Marries at Her Leisure—That Is to Say, in the Thoughtful, Penultimate Thirties—Will Repent of Nothing If She Goes to the Autumnal Altar in Garments That Are Gracious and Yet Romantic. the Dress and Cloak of Grey Crepe Romain Taught at the Waist With a Large Buckle of Onyx and Mother-of-Pearl, Are at Once Picturesque, Which Is Charming, and Dignified, Which Is Essential. the Hat Is Also of Crepe Trimmed With a Long Grey Ostrich Feather. Vogue Magazine, 1 April 1922. GGA Image ID # 15f0646dfd

Sheer and Shimmering Silver Lace Over Softly Draped Jade Charmeuse

The Very Freshness of Spring Has This Frosty Green Creation of a Sheer and Shimmering Silver Lace Over Softly Draped Jade Charmeuse. Bands of Silver Brocade Outline the Coat and Join Its Seams, and a Black Velvet Poppy Holds the Drapery. the Bandeau Is of Ecru Net and Pastel Flowers; Day-Bed From the Hampton Shops. Négligée from Hollander, Posed by Helen Lyons. Vogue Magazine, 1 April 1922. GGA Image ID # 15f12717bd

Negligee With Lines of a Classic Simplicity.

It's All a Matter of Color, This Negligee With Lines of a Classic Simplicity. It Begins With a Charmeuse of the Decorative Peacock Blue, and Into the Sleeves Are Set Wide Bands of Purple Chiffon, While Red Chiffon Pipes the Edges, and the Chiffon Sash Is in Roman Colors. Cushions From Kargere. Négligée From Hollander, Posed by Helen Lyons. Vogue Magazine, 1 April 1922. GGA Image ID # 15f1bbcb89

THE NO-LONGER-SLIM BRIDE

There are stout brides to be dressed, as well as slim ones, and, for them, are suggested panels, long, unbroken lines, or fine draperies that fall with a certain weight: but never should a plump figure call attention to itself by overdressing, or by trying slavishly to follow some fashion, charming in itself, perhaps, but only adapted to the unusually tall and thin.

Sometimes, by boldly exaggerating curves, one can make them appear actually less, as, for example, in the full petticoats of the time of Louis XVI, when a full hip was well disguised, and at the waist, however ample, appeared small in comparison. Any bride of today might be glad to attire herself in a costume that would faintly recall that gorgeous epoch even if she did not need to conceal a too well-padded skeleton under billowing brocades: but attention is called to this period, principally, as illustrating the point that amplitude of covering is more apt than narrowness of covering, to hide amplitude of person.

When a lady has leaped the thirty-year barrier and is about to marry or remarry, as the case may be, it is no easy task to decide what she ought to wear. If she looks extraordinarily young and has never married before, she just might manage some apology for the white fineries of the youthful bride; or she might, if handsome and artistic, adopt some early Italian mode, some robe of exquisite stuff, gold-flowered on a blue, or burnt orange, or green, or coral foundation, with a veil of golden net.

But such adventures into the picturesque must have an hour and a background that suit them - afternoon,  in a hall with lofty, painted ceilings, or in a high-walled studio, stone - grey for choice, would be an hour appropriate to the setting. The central figure must be beautiful enough to challenge criticism; if not, the charge of being theatrical might be coupled with the jeer of having very little to be theatrical about.

On the whole, it is perhaps safer to lean towards the conventional. The beautiful robe d’interieur of the French, for instance, or something a little more ceremonious than a tea-gown, which could be made in all sorts of lovely shades—rose to crimson, cream to sulphur, or azure to sea-blue, with laces of different kinds to float or cling. 

For a house wedding and a bride who does not care to ape the ingénue nor keep herself relentlessly down to the practical traveling-dress, such a gown - the kind one puts on at five o‘clock and can keep on for dinner - made on simple, dignified, classic lines, or in moderate imitation of some period design, would be quite in order. Demure in soft grey with a dash of primrose, or in lavender and pink, even a divorcee or a widow of the age known as "certain," may make herself as charming a presence as she pleases.

For church weddings, of course, if the bride is no longer young, formal afternoon dress or a traveling gown is more in keeping.  Light shades of any neutral color, with hats that match or that contrast, are always in good taste. One can be Quakerish in dove color, with a delicious suggestion of poke in the bonnet and a cloak falling timidly from the shoulders, or one may recall the Duchess of Devonshire’s portrait, with a spirited black hat and a fichu crossed over a softly draped, figured silk or crepe de Chine; or one may follow the Directoire fashion, feminine, with its high waist-line, clinging skirt, delicate embroideries, and drooping scarf; or the Directoire fashion, masculine, with its fine, flowered waistcoat, long coat, and turned-back, rosetted hat.

APPROPRIATENESS ABOVE ALL

As she advances in years, a bride may be simple in cloth, or rich in velvet, or extremely conventional, or far from it, as she pleases. The main point is to suit her personality, by which we mean both her character and appearance, and also her environment: to keep a finger-tip on her pocketbook, a firm hold on her dignity, and an eye on those carping onlookers whose comments are freer as their chances grow less. We also advise, when moments of doubt assail her, that she keep a good heart, remembering the delightful
saying that "a woman is always as young as she makes a man feel."

"The Brides of All Ages," in Vogue, New York: The Vogue Company, Vol. 59, No. 7, 1 April 1922, pp.60-62, 120

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