With just a few weeks before my wedding day, the fancy designer white gown I had picked out a year in advance no longer felt true to me or my relationship. I panicked at my fitting looking at myself in the mirror, as that gown only fit an outdated version of me that was no longer here today.

I realized that our union wasn’t about having the trendiest, most luxurious gown… or looking a certain way on the outside… the version of me who once chose that dress cared about blending in by keeping up with the crowd, doing what everyone else did in order to feel beautiful or accepted. After a very tumultuous few months leading up to our marriage — a time when all the ‘gunk’ in the relationship comes to the surface so that you can clear the parts of you that no longer resonate with such a sacred union — I knew in my bones that the version of me who would be required for a successful marriage to my best friend wanted something completely different. You can read the full story here!

I felt like I was actually hiding if I were to walk down the aisle in a dress that only catered to aesthetics and status, versus what felt true to me and the promises I made to myself for this next chapter: to remember myself as an artist, to do what makes me happy instead of search for external validation, to let the joy and uniqueness of my inner child lead each moment because that’s who shows up best for myself and my partner.

The truth is that in the bridal industry, mass-produced goods are marketed to women during a vulnerable once-in-a-lifetime moment where you feel like you need the newest and best to make your day truly special. But it didn’t have to be that way!

I ultimately abandoned my fancy dress and ended up sourcing all vintage pieces: from my 1950s pink wedding dress to the vintage nightgown from Depop I wore during hair and makeup, to my 1980s art deco band from Gray & Davis antique jeweler in NYC, to the bright blue 60’s clip on earrings from Pippin Vintage just down the street. 

After this experience, I’ve become really passionate about the vintage and secondhand world — and how much more meaningful it can feel to let the pieces meant for you, find you on your wedding day. I also deeply appreciate how much better it is for our current situation where fast fashion and waste is taking over the world and negatively impacting the environment.

There are so many pieces out there waiting to find a new life. Pieces that are made with far more love and care than the manufacturing methods used today, that have true artistry behind them from a time when the pressure of quantity didn’t drive production and people took their time. When you find something secondhand, it’s a 1 of 1 — it feels like YOU, you get a chance to do something totally different, and you can inspire people to shop vintage instead of always opting for new and contributing to demand. I fully believe there’a an energetic element, too… you’re not choosing something simply because it’s marketed to you or is trending, you’re choosing something that was meant to find you and feels like magic. (Maybe it is!)

My Vintage Bridal Roundup: Best Dresses Volume I

For those of you who also want to go vintage for your special day, I’ve combed the internet for my favorite finds, most of them well under $1000. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding dress for your special day. What makes the dress special is how you feel in it, how you rock it with confidence, how you style it to add flair, and the fact that it’s different from what people are used to seeing because it’s perfect for *you.*

1. For the pink bride

  1. Gossamer Vintage Peach Silk Gown ($425)
  2. Vintage 1950s Rose Tulle Party Gown ($295)
  3. 1950s Liquid Satin + Tulle Gown ($189)

You know I had to start this list with some pink masterpieces for my fellow untraditional brides! What would makes these dresses pop is the accessories — since you’re already going with a pop of color in the dress, choose one other colorful moment to make the funk cohesive. I ended up wearing blue sparkly earrings with my pink dress, and I could easily see green or orange as complementary colors here, too!

2. Bring on the drama (and tulle)

This shape is just so classic; the first dress looks almost identical to my pink gown but in white! I never thought I’d like a princess “belle of the ball” gown but when I put my dress on, I couldn’t believe how feminine and free I felt. It’s definitely opposite to my every day personal style, but that’s what made it so fun and helped me step into the archetype I wanted to embody that day. There’s something so grand about the skirt on these and they’re all so different in the tiny details which I love.

  1. 1950s Tulle Strapless Gown ($525)
  2. 1950s Nylon and Lace Ruffle Dress ($215)
  3. 1950s Sheer Ruffle Ivory Dress ($488)
  4. 1950s Pleated Tulle Gown ($215)
  5. Strapless Tulle Lace Party Gown ($499)
  6. Icy Blue Silk Lace Party Gown ($499)

3. Form Fitting / Elegant Chic

I love these gowns so much — they’re perfect for the minimal, understated, chic look when you want to go elegant. These styles truly feel effortless yet extremely unique, and can work for such a variety of venues whether you’re eloping, overlooking the countryside of Tuscany, or going bohemian with sleeves and lace detailing. I think this collection speaks to such a wide variety of personalities and it’s magic when you can really find yourself in a dress (that also made another woman very happy in the past!)

  1. 1940s Satin Puff Sleeve Gown ($245)
  2. 1960s Crochet Lace Gown ($245)
  3. Light Peach Marchesa Silk Chiffon Draped Gown ($525)
  4. Vintage M Kalan Long Sheer Gown ($100)
  5. 90s Victor Costa Pleated Off Shoulder Dress ($106)
  6. Silk Chiffon A-Line Strapless Wedding Dress ($250)

My absolute favorite is the last one — it’s unbelievably chic and versatile because the top and bottom are separate but look like the perfect structured gown; the a-line of the bodice *and* skirt even as separates is extremely flattering and elongates the figure while highlighting your waist.

For my after party, I would rock the corset top with a short skirt (either puffy ballerina-style to further highlight the corseted waist and accentuate an hourglass figure, or form fitting and tiered to add extra texture and femininity):

  1. Embellished tulle miniskirt ($215)
  2. Zimmerman secondhand silk miniskirt ($875)
  3. Vintage Balletcore Lace Mini Skirt ($31)
  4. Dressterior off white layered mini skirt ($90)
  5. Balletcore Fairy Tiered Lolita Cream Lace Mini Skirt ($68)
  6. Gucci silk miniskirt ($93)

I hope this story and round-up was helpful to you, and inspires you to create your own magic + art through pieces that truly speak to you and deserve a second life on your special day! If you enjoy posts like this, please let me know, as I’d love to do more secondhand/vintage roundups in the future for brides and beyond.



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