The retro look has been on the fringe of fashion for years, I don’t think it actually ever went all the way out of style – but recently the 1920’s – 1940’s retro looks have made a HUGE come back, especially in weddings. More and more I am seeing brides donning pill box hat veils and the ultra chic birdcage veils and coupling that with a super sexy dramatic red lip. This trend has makeup artists fine-tuning their technique with red lipstick and hair dressers reaching back to their schooling days to retrain their fingers to do fingerwaves and pin curls. Ah, but the results are so worth it.
Retro is defined as the century prior, in this case 1900 – 1999, and is broken up into decades that are clearly delineated by a specific look; the most famous of which are the 1940’s where extreme glamour ruled the day. Today’s Retro Bride is taking inspiration from the 20’s and 40’s when she is planning her wedding attire and designing her beauty look. She is having success designing her look by working with ateliers like Edna Mae’s in Newport, RI. and Ellen Christine Millenary in New York.
The 1920’s inspiration comes from both Louise Brooks, who popularized the very short bob, and the fingerwave. The early 20’s ushered in the Louise Brooks look, later modernized by Isabella Rossellini It is characterized by its length, just below the ear, the sweep of the front pieces being arced in a curve towards the mouth and it’s short straight bangs. Later in the 20’s fingerwarves with deep-set curves and firm peaks were all the rage. Women wore hair nets to keep their styles in perfect shape.
The bridal veil that accompanies this era’s style was long, flowing to the floor and is set upon the head with a cap of lace and tulle. They were made to compliment the bride’s short hair style and to accentuate her face. With that attention focused upon her face, the 20’s bride ensured her makeup was flawless and her skin was porcelain. Lightly penciled eyebrows were extended beyond the brow bone and her lips were colored in such a way as to produce a pout.
The 2o’s gal wore a soft smokey eye making the eye stand out- the hair styles were so overhanging on the face that if attention was not brought to the eyes they would disappear. But keeping true to the rule that one must play up one feature and down play the rest to avoid looking like a harlot or clown, the 20’s woman kept the makeup on her eyes soft focused so she could pout her lips to kissable heights!
The 30’s are characteristic of the Art Deco age and fingerwaves ruled every bride’s hair style. Gone was the super short bob, and in its place came glamorous, thick and full, shoulder length hair shaped into soft luscious waves. This bride was influenced by the French and the Hollywood actress and exuded elegance in every way. Jean Harlow, Bette Davis and Ginger Rogers were the seen to be the icons of style and their look had women clamoring for cosmetics even well into the depression.
This gal played up her eyes with an elongated, arched, penciled brow atop thickly lined lashes and replaced the smokey eye of the 20’s with a bright light eye. She topped off her look with a sultry deeply colored lip. She altered her look by either wearing her locks loose or put up into a curly style with a high wave just above one brow. In the beginning of the decade, the cap and veil were still in fashion; as the years progressed the cap was switched out for a fashionable hat with or without a veil. When this bride donned a veil she wore it full and long, long, long.
The 40’s are by far the most glamorous decade ever. This bride remained a fan of everything Hollywood. She wore her hair long and full with a deep side part that was up swept to reveal a beautiful hairline. Think Veronica Lake… The back of her hair fell in soft ringlets just brushing the back of her shoulders. Rita Hayworth, Eva Gardner and the ever so elegant Grace Kelly inspired women all around the globe to adopt this style. It was also the era for matching – lips to fingernails, purse to shoes…
Hat veils, Birdcage veils and short veils found popularity in this time period. For the bride who chose not to wear a veil, there over sized were hair pieces made out of feathers and baubles that could be donned to bring that spark of glamour to her look. Her eyebrows are penciled and arched, yet this era has the brow follow the natural length staying upon the brow bone. Lips are red, of course, and the face still porcelain. All the focus is on the eye – more specifically the upper lid. There she has a dark thick line of liner above full luscious lashed coated with a deep black pigment. She keeps her lower lash line clean of any color forcing the eye to appear open under all that lash. She was the epitome of elegance, grace and glamour.
What ever your fancy, the 20’s, 40’s or today, take time to look at all of your pieces and be sure it fits you like a glove. While channeling a style is fun, keeping your personality and sense of style intact while adding in elements that excite you is most important. After all, it is you he wants to marry…
Share your story and photos with me! I’d love to see them… Jacki Norrie