New years parties are coming up fast. This is a great time to don your best vintage inspired party dresses and kick off the new year with style!
When it comes to evening attire, there are a few different styles to choose from depending on the occasion. For formal events, a full length Hollywood style gown may be the best option. For less formal dinners, perhaps some vintage inspired separates would be more befitting. However, when it comes to party wear, there are many differing semi-formal styles to select from. Today’s article will explore various styles of fabulous vintage inspired party dresses, all of which are currently available to buy.
Embellishments such as feathers, sequins, beading and fringing may all be employed to fabulous effect. Parties give us the freedom to ‘let our hair down’ (as the popular saying goes). So whilst parties allow inhibitions to subside, this perhaps allows more daring clothing choices to be made. Speaking of daring, if dresses are not for you how about vintage pantsuits or party skirts?
1920s Vintage Party Dresses
When one thinks of parties, the decade of the 1920s usually springs to mind. The Roaring Twenties were a decade of decadence, excess, fun – and parties. Gone were the days of suppression, this new decade heralded in change at an astonishingly rapid rate.
Party dresses of the 1920s were usually sleeveless, with the hem reaching just on or below the knee. By contrast, day and afternoon dresses of this period nearly always had long sleeves, and may be worn with matching loose jackets. Due to the simplistic lines of cut, party gowns of this decade featured fantastic embellishments. Surface decoration and lavish fabrics enabled simple styles of dress to be elevated to show-stopping status.
This fabulous short film from Glamour Daze shows 1920s dresses in color
To create a 1920s inspired party style, look out for embellished dresses cut in a loose, simple shape. The hemline should hit around the knee – perfect for showing off those Charleston dance moves!
Vintage Inspired Party Dresses of the 1930s
The mood of the 1930s was sombre; as such this tone reflected and influenced the language of fashion. Dresses became much more understated, gone was the lavish craving for material excess and exuberance. Gowns skimmed the body with the innovative bias cut – a method of pattern placement and cutting that utilized the cross-grain to create fluidity and stretch in garments.
Often evening gowns of the 1930s were full length, sometimes incorporating a small blouse-like jacket to cover the shoulders. However, for a modern-day interpretation of 1930s party attire, it is entirely acceptable to style a knee-length dress to suit the period.
For a modern version of fabulous vintage inspired party dresses of the 1930s, look out for gowns utilizing the bias cut. Skirts cut with curved, flared hems were also a typical style of the era. While the 1930s were a decade of understated style, many interesting design features were employed to great effect. Sleeves of the 1930s could feature cut-out sections, enormous bishop cuts, dolman styles, and various sections of gathering and pleating.
Crepes, velvets, rayons and satins would all work perfectly to create a 1930s party wear look.
Vintage Inspired Party Dresses of the 1940s
During the 1940s, fashion adopted a mood of frugality and creativity. WW2 brought about rationing and restrictions, on both clothing and fabrics. However, these obstacles did not hinder women’s desire to look their best at all times.
Party dresses of the 1940s were usually knee length with strong defined shoulders, and a fitted bodice flaring out from the waist. Afternoon dresses may be embellished to create an evening appropriate style. Sequins could be applied either in a monogram style, or following the line of print near the neckline on a printed gown.
Many dresses were refashioned in this way. If an existing dress could not be found to transform, a gown could be made from various sewing patterns available at the time.
Popular fabrics included rayon (sometimes known as art silk, rayon became increasingly popular during the 1930s through the 1940s due to its silk-like qualities at a minimal price tag). Crepes, cotton, satins, and velvets were also popular.
Learn more about 1940s formal and party dress history here.
Vintage Inspired Party Dresses of the 1950s
The 1950s heralded a new mood of optimism, which in turn influenced fashion. Skirts became excessively full, which served as a startling contrast to the neat, nipped-in fashionable waistline.
Party dresses of this period were unashamedly feminine. Full skirts features yards and yards of fabric, or a fitted silhouette was created by molding and contouring the female form to create an idealized hourglass figure.
Popular fabrics included lace – often lace would form an overlay on top of printed cotton fabrics, in a harmonizing shade. Satins, velvets, and brocades were also popular.
To create a 1950s inspired party style, there are two silhouettes that evoke the decade – full circle skirt, or sleek pencil skirt. Depending on personal preference, either of these styles may easily evoke the decade of the 1950s.
With so many different styles and eras to choose from, there is plenty of choice available. Indeed, if you have a number of parties to attend, why not choose a style from a different decade for each party? As afore mentioned, parties are an excellent occasion in which to experiment with clothing. So whichever style you choose, this selection of fabulous vintage inspired party dresses has hopefully given you some ideas or inspiration!