The trends for wedding dresses in the 1970s varied throughout the decade. Some things -- like new fabrics -- stayed the same, while the styles changed to reflect the fashion trends. Couples who want to offer a nod to the 1970s styles, might decide to use the vintage wedding fashions when choosing a bride's dress.
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With commercial fabric-making techniques and the influx of synthetic fabrics, consumers saw a rise in nylon, polyester and machine-made laces in the 70s. For wedding dresses, these fabrics offered an affordable alternative to silks, natural satin and handmade lace while still keeping the shimmer and decor of the more expensive materials.
The Early 1970s
Sheer nylons, lace and a flowing look dominated early 1970s wedding dress styles. Dresses had a fitted waist, often with a long A-line skirt. The dresses were often two-layered, with a polyester or nylon satin under dress covered entirely by a layer of lace or decorated nylon. High, Victorian collars were making an appearance and the Camelot sleeve, loose from the elbow to the shoulder and tightly fitted from the elbow to the wrist, was popular.
Synthetic fabrics continued to be used for wedding dresses, along with natural silks and laces for those who could afford them. The tight waistline seen in previous years began to be loosened and raised to an empire style. Extra adornment was added to the neckline in the form of ruffles and trim and the hem of skirts featured pleated ruffles. The Victorian collar was still popular, but sleeves were looser in the balloon style, fitting closely only at the wrist. Not all dresses were pure white. Other popular colours were cream, beige and soft pink.
The Late 1970s
The fashions of the disco era inspired wedding dress fashions. Batwing sleeves, also called dolman sleeves, became popular. This cut features a wide, sweeping fabric sleeve at the top of the arm that tapers down and becomes fitted at the elbow, forearm and wrist. The back on wedding dresses was sometimes lowered on the under dress, with a sheer fabric covering the exposed back areas. Long trains and large headpieces became commonplace.
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