If the shoe fits, as they say...but, in this case, if the shoe fits the decade, all the better! In my experience working with brides, the choice of wedding shoes is the one area that you gals don't want to skimp on – they really can make your look 'pop'. Here's our curation of the most beautiful vintage bridal shoes that work with each decade from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s respectively...
The Roaring Twenties
Fashion-wise, the 1920s were known for simple lines, a pared back, androgynous look such as the drop-waist dress, which stripped away feminine curves in favour of a more 'boyish' silhouette. High glamour was still in evidence though, after all those flappers loved a bit of bling, and hair accessories, combs, clutches and jewellery are a great way to add some sparkle. But elegant bridal footwear was definitely more 'comfortable' than glamorous. It might be something to do with springing about dancing the Charleston...To create that 1920's bridal style, choose low-heel Mary-Janes, t-bar style shoes or pretty embellished flats.
From left to right: Crystal flapper shoes by Hatista totally look the part; pretty ivory vintage 1920's bridal shoes, £70 from Unique Vintage; Bella Belle Gatsby style wedding shoes are super pretty; Badgeley Mischka Gigi Flats from BHLDN; something blue: pretty vintage style shoes from Emmy London; pearl bead bridal shoe embellishments; £14.95 a pair by Filigree Bridal on Etsy will give your shoes the glamorous 1920's treatment at a fraction of the cost.
The Flirty Thirties
The 1930's look was about oozing glamour, displaying opulence and finery whenever the opportunity presented itself, and enhancing femininity. Where the 1920s stripped everything back, the 30s slipped in like a silk negligé sliding off the shoulder of a Hollywood starlet. To capture the look, medium heel peep-toes are perfect, or opt for jewel encrusted shoes, with embellishment detail, filigree and scalloped designs and plenty of silver and gold...
Another decade another style. With WWII raging across Europe, 1940s wedding look was back to basics, so understandably, the first half of this decade saw a rather muted wedding style with simple tea-dresses, small bridal posies and pared-back styling. However things became increasingly luxurious towards the end of the decade in preparation for the major changes coming in the 1950s. To emulate a classic 1940s bridal look, twist front open-toe shoes became popular, low heels, a rather murky colour palette, and subtle embellishment are the markers of the 1940s.
The coolest purple vintage heels ever from Willow Hilson Vintage; Dyable shoes from Lace and Favour; Welcome Back Oxford shoes in gold glitter by Seychelles Shoes (ahem, we know gold glitter wouldn't have been a thing in the 1940s but Oxfords certainly were so why not update the look and inject some pizazz?),'Refreshed Zest' T-strap and Editorial Elegance Ankle strap shoes from Mod Shoes; 1940s's style open-toes by Rachel Simpson; slip on these white bridal mules from Seychelles Footwear.
Not so thrifty 1950s
The 1950s arrived with all the post war oomf it could muster. This is the decade where teenagers and Rock 'n' Roll were invented, sub cultures were instantly identifiable by their clothing and a fashion renaissance was in full swing (like those skirts!) Haute couture designers created sumptuous wedding gowns for the stars of the day with reims of fabric, nets, satin, silks... all designed to show off the curves that had been so hidden away in the boxy 1940's styles. With cinched waists, bullet bras, sexy pencil skirts, pouffy prom dresses and a whole lotta neck; boat neck, sweetheart neck, polo neck, turtle neck...
Colour was in, big time, with lilacs, mints, primrose yellows and baby blues the most popular hues. Pattern was also back in vogue as women embraced fashion like never before. As for 1950s footwear, think kitten heels, silk shoes, classic high-heels, pointy toes, peep-toes and pretty flats. The 1950s makes a wonderful decade to inspire your vintage wedding style.
Stylish bridal shoes by Ruby Shoo, we love these deep blue kitten heels we spotted over at Ellie Wren Wedding shoes on Etsy; add some sparkle with the silver kitten heels from JJHouse; Villa Collezione Boutique has some stunning genuine 1950s satin shoes to drool over; peep-toe 'Bettie' Pin-Up Couture shoes in Mint are pastel perfection, we found these over on Alternative Footwear; cool pin-up shoes by Irregular Choice (a great brand for 1950s lovers).
The Psychedelic Sixties
Anyone looking to curate a 1960's wedding look has a few fabulous options; if you love the early 60s style à la Mad Men's Betty Draper and Joan Holloway, the same shapely 1950's silhouette is in evidence – pencil skirts, wasp waists etc., but colour and pattern became much, much bolder and as the decade continued. Of course, the most synonymous fashion garment that emerged from the decade was the mini skirt. It was all about the legs, which meant shoes came a close second. To create a 1960's bridal style, opt for slip-ons, Mary Janes, low heels, chunky heels, knee-high boots, pointed toe flats and buckles, like, everywhere...
White 1960's style leatherette mules from Unique Vintage have the pointy toe going on; eat your heart out Barbarella with these white leather knee-high boots from Lunacy Boutique; cool, yellow, patent Mary Janes and white, patent, buckle heels both from Mod Shoes; red 1960's spike heels from Hemlock Vintage Clothing; and beige diamanté detail pointed toe flats from Shein keep the Sixties' vibe going strong.
1970s: Boho and disco a go-go
The 1970s was sartorially rich; with many styles that are popular today, but still remain synonymous with the decade. As for 1970's bridal shoes, platforms and wedge heels are seeing a renaissance at the moment, while pretty, strappy, seventies sandals make the perfect shoes for summer or beach weddings. We have also added in the retro wedding Converse too as they became popular during this decade, and some cool mules for those gals that desire comfort as well as being a good choice for modern brides that love vintage.
The Lilah wedge by Emmy London; Boden Kathleen heel in Tuscan Sun; classic low heel gold open toe shoes by Guyana; classic, cream Valentino loafers found at Matches Fashion; vintage pearl customisable wedding Converse from £93, wedding-converse.co.uk; dance the night away in these fabulous silver glitter chunky heels from Charlotte Mills.
Mix it up 1980s style
The 1980s holds a lot of nostalgia for those who lived through them, and offer a cool vintage wedding look for those who didn't! Whether you crave the comfort of pixie boots, the ease of slip-em-on sling-backs or the glamour of the super-high classic white stiletto, there is a vast choice in 1980's bridal footwear to choose from. See which 1980's wedding shoes are the right fit for you in our pick below...
Teal satin wedding heels from RetroandMe on Etsy; white star cowboy boots, £114, from Jones the Bootmaker; Mishisa Vanilla court shoes, £125, from Ted Baker; Nadine slingbacks in dusky rose from Boden; Super funky metallic colourful shoes for daring brides by Terry De Havilland shoes; wild white stiletto found over on eBay.
We love shoes and would love to see what footwear you want for your wedding so let us know in the comments!