1990s wedding dresses

Updated November 21, 2016

Bridal fashion, like most fashion, changes each decade. The wedding dresses of the 1990s established a new bridal style for women to wear on their special day. There was still a hint of 1980s influence at the beginning of the decade. However, dresses moved away from that style and modernised the look as the millennium approached.

Early 1990s Style

The early 90s wedding dresses were designed similar to those of the late Victorian period. A long, wide skirt was a popular option. 1980s dresses had a high waistline sitting above the hips -- this was changed in the 90s. The waistline was dropped considerably to below the hips, which allowed the dress to flare out around the legs. Brides in the early '90s preferred a tightly fitted bodice. The well-fitted narrow bodice and wide skirt made brides look like fairy tale princesses. A suitable accessory to add to the outfit was a tiara.

Late 1990s Style

Toward the end of the decade, the dress design moved from big and bold to simple and elegant. Tightly fitted mounds of fabric were replaced with loose designs. Free flowing dresses and a narrow silhouette replaced the earlier narrow waist and wide skirt dresses. Less fabric was used to narrow the silhouette.

1980s Influence

There were still a few style influences of the 1980s at the beginning of the '90s. Dresses were long and wide, a style that was popularised in the previous decade. A dress also used a lot of fabric to create a full silhouette since nylon fabric was cheap to buy. Another resemblance to '80s dresses is the use of bows and puffy sleeves to add to the full look.


The end of the decade saw a range of simple and elegant dresses with tasteful embellishments. To decorate dresses, beads and pearls were added. Embellishments were sparsely used to add texture to the dress but not to overpower it. Also, bows and lace were added. The shoulders were a particular part of the dress that was beaded and embroidered.


The 1990s created a wave of personalised wedding dresses. Women could afford to design and buy their own wedding dresses, thanks to cheap material. A woman could choose to look sexy with an open back. Alternatively, many decided to have a neutral-coloured dress and move away from white. Carolyn Bessette Kennedy was an iconic wedding dress trendsetter. She showed women how to look elegant with a simple, chic satin dress.

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