A Historic Look into Victorian Era Wedding Dresses and their influence on the Classic American Western

A Historic Look into Victorian Era Wedding Dresses and their influence on the Classic American Western

The world of fashion is ever changing. Although most people only celebrate one wedding themselves, the world of bridal fashion is fascinating. Bridal fashion is constantly evolving and the wedding dresses we see today have been influenced by trends from the past. While certain designs may go out of style for some time, there is not one wedding dress style that has never made a comeback. From corset bodices to ivory lace gowns, we have seen every bridal style make a comeback at some point in time.

 queen victoria dress

Whether it be the use of materials to craft the wedding dress, the accented neckline and sleeves, or the use of timely accessories, each time period has played a role for the next. As we navigate the similarities — and differences — between two time periods and their bridal styles and wedding dress trends, keep in mind how each bridal style has evolved to become its own. With a combination of many similarities, the Victorian era wedding dress style has greatly impacted the Classic American Western wedding dress style, yet somehow the two look completely different side by side.

Read on to learn how Victorian wedding dresses have influenced the creation of Classic American Western wedding dresses.

A Historic Look into Victorian Era Wedding Dresses

Victorian wedding dresses are known to have tight and slim bodices, drapery and lace, embellished jewels and sleeves, all while showcasing a delicate bridal style. While this time period was focused on royalty and elegant women, it was extremely important that women looked dainty and expensive when dressing for their wedding day.

 victorian wedding dresses bodice

A Historic Look into Classic American Western Wedding Dresses

Classic American Western bridal fashion has become what many call a “bohemian” or country style. Designed with long sleeves, an abundance of lace, slim fitting or airy-like bodices, and many times unique accessories, classic American Western wedding dresses emphasize the brides’ individuality and personal style.

Differences Between Victorian Era Bridal Fashion and Classic American  Western Bridal Styles

Victorian era bridal styles selected materials like lace to show wealth status as well as social status, whereas in the Classic American Western style, wedding dresses are not looked at in this point of view.

Classic American Western bridal styles are more about individuality for the bride and their personal style and during the Victorian era, there was not much of a “individual style” to choose from. There were certain trends expected of brides due to what was available material wise as well as what was socially acceptable.

The History of Victorian Wedding Dresses

When Queen Victoria wed in 1840, she wore a dress designed with Honiton lace and Spital1elds silk. During this time, lace was only available in white and because of this, many credit Queen Victoria for starting the tradition of wearing a white wedding dress. Due to limited supplies and knowledge of fashion at this time, it is likely that both lace and satin were some of the only materials accessible for gowns. Once Queen Victoria wore her gown on her wedding day, the traditional connection between lace and elegant, wealthy women began.

Fun fact: Queen Victoria’s wedding dress is stored and displayed in Kensington Palace.

 queen victoria wedding dress

Victorian Wedding Dress Trends that have Influenced Classic American Western Wedding Dresses

Lace was one of the most popular features in Victorian style bridal gowns, and is a trend that has surely impacted classic American Western wedding dresses. Today, many would describe the classic American Western bridal fashion as bohemian. As mentioned above, this boho country bridal style relies heavily on long sleeve style wedding dresses, ivory or white lace, and many unique accessories like statement jewels, head pieces, and more. While lace no longer represents wealth status, it offers a traditional feeling in a modern wedding gown. And while lace has deeply impacted the bridal styles we see today, satin has taken a different route.

 bohemian victorian trends

The History of Satin Wedding Dresses vs. Lace Wedding Dresses

In the wedding industry today, satin wedding dresses are known to be black-tie appropriate, luxury, and most commonly shown in princess-style gowns. It is extremely rare to see a bridal gown nowadays that combines the use of lace and satin, as they both have taken on their own reputations that don’t quite match. Today, lace wedding dresses are more commonly seen during rustic weddings or outdoor events. Satin wedding dresses are commonly worn for luxurious weddings and elegant affairs. It is almost unheard of to wear a satin wedding dress outdoors, as the material does not necessarily showcase a more casual feeling that lace wedding dresses can provide.

While these materials have taken on different wedding gown aesthetics, there are many more ways that Victorian wedding dresses have influenced the classic American western style of bridal gowns.

The History of a Hoop Skirt

A popular wedding dress trend during the Victorian era was a larger skirt circumference. A true, wide ball gown was almost always worn by the bride, as there were not many opportunities in her lifetime where she could wear a dress of such elegance. A hoop was worn in the skirt to keep the dress as large and poised as possible. Additionally, a hoop skirt was worn to keep cooler in warm temperatures and to prevent a bride from tripping over her gown, as she was expected to be graceful.

Because of this hoop skirt accessory, wedding dresses were more stiff around the hem and would not move with the slightest gust of wind. Although Victorian era bridal gowns have played an impactful role in the trends seen in classic American Western bridal styles, a hoop skirt is no longer something that is commonly seen. One similarity that is commonly seen, however, is the use of sleeves — especially statement sleeves.

Wedding Dresses with Long Sleeves and Statement Sleeves

A strapless wedding gown in the Victorian era was almost unheard of. After all, a wedding day was one of the most elegant celebrations that would occur and sleeves elevated the style of each and every wedding dress and bridal gown. Wearing sleeves was also a choice due to the modesty that was highly encouraged in women’s fashion.

While some women opted for the ever-so-popular long sleeves during the Victorian era, there was an opportunity to enhance your wedding day bridal gown with three quarter sleeves, lace sleeves, poof sleeves, shoulder pads, and more. Statement sleeves with extreme volume, loads of material, and embellishment were encouraged due to the fact that it would make your corseted waist appear smaller. This was something extremely important in the Victorian era, as society expected women to appear gentle and dainty.


victorian dresses long sleeves

Classic American Western bridal style has taken the wedding dress sleeve trend and modernized it. While traditional lace long-sleeve wedding dresses continue to be a popular choice for many, there are a variety of styles seen in bridal fashion nowadays. One popular wedding dress trend seen in classic American Western bridal fashion is the use of bell sleeve lace wedding dresses. This statement sleeve offers a whimsical and eye-catching approach to a traditional long sleeve wedding dress.

Victorian Wedding Dresses and their Most Common Accessories

One final way that Victorian wedding dresses and bridal style has influenced the classic American western bridal style is through accessories. Victorian bridal style accessories included Royal crowns, lace veils, top hats, and fascinators. Lace gloves were also extremely popular and while not necessarily seen often today, they still offer an elegant and classic bridal style. Depending on the timing of the Victorian era, at some point these were all extremely popular to wear on your wedding day. Classic American Western bridal accessories have surely taken pointers and held onto these trends throughout the decades.

In classic American Western bridal style, veils and Royal crowns are extremely popular. More commonly nowadays, the veil does not cover the brides’ face but it is usually made of lace and Rows behind the bride.

 victorian era accessories


While both of these eras are extremely unique in their wedding dresses and bridal style, when shown side-by-side, more similarities begin to show. While Victorian wedding dresses tend to lean more high-class and dressy than dresses seen in Classic American Western wedding dresses, the features that these eras show are very similar. From the use of lace material in wedding dresses to being designed with lace sleeves and accessorized to make a statement, Victorian era wedding dresses have surely made a mark on the classic American Western bridal style seen today.

While many believe Victorian era style wedding dresses will make a comeback due to the current phase featuring all-things “grand millennial” most people have accepted that bridal style changes over time. While we’ll never fully get one era back, it is fascinating to see how decades of bridal fashion have impacted the wedding gowns we see today.

To view and shop Victorian Style dresses and wedding gowns, you can tap here.

To view and shop classic Western American style dresses and wedding gowns, you can tap here.


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