From trash to treasure: how to glam up your grandmother’s wedding gown

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Vintage is the new vogue – everyone says so. If there were ever a time to drag out your mother’s 70’s frocks and pass them off as cool, now is the time. So if you happen to be fortunate enough to have a grandmother who has saved her wedding gown from 1941, what better way to score yourself a genuine vintage dress to wear at your own wedding? The answer, of course, is that there is no better way. But although your grandmother’s dress is the equivalent to vintage gold, there may be some things to consider before you wear it proudly down the aisle. You’ve got to consider the condition it is in, the size (and whether it will fit you), and whether or not the style is transferable to modern times. So go take a peek into your grannie’s closet, pull out her dress and come back so we can tell you exactly what you need to do it.

You can never be too resourceful !

You can never be too resourceful !


The first thing you should probably think about is the condition of the dress. Has the fabric faded? Are the stitches all intact? Is it stained, ripped or soiled? Examine the dress closely and once you’ve ascertained the status of its physical condition, figure out what will need to be done to it to get it in pristine (albeit second hand) condition. You may want to consider dying the entire dress back to white or to your preferred shade. Dying the dress is a great way to bring life back into it but should only be attempted by a professional dyer. You may also want to think about adding a new lining as fabrics have a way of wearing down slowly over time. Things like getting the dress professionally dyed and altering the structure of the dress by adding new lining will increase the wearability of the dress and will make it stronger and more durable.

So you’ve thought about the physical condition of the dress, but what about the style? When it comes to the style of your grannie’s dress, you have to first figure out if you’re comfortable wearing it the way it is. Vintage may be the new vogue, but styles change. The last think you probably want is to stick out like a sore thumb at your own wedding. If you’re happy with the overall design of the dress, but are unhappy with certain aspects of it, a good idea is looking at bridal blogs and magazines for outside inspiration. These will give you ideas of ways to modernize the dress or make it more your own. Simple things like changing the length, cutting off the sleeves or altering the neckline can make all the difference, and turn the dress into something you feel proud to wear.

When it comes to glamming up your grannie’s dress, be aware that any changes you make to the dress should be in line with the dress itself. In other words, it’s not recommended to add white lace over cream, or to mix two dramatic styles into one dress. A good way to tie your dress together is to wear a hair accessory that matches the era of the dress. This will finish off your outfit and make you appear more authentic to the era, even if you happen to be getting married in the 21st century. If you want to go even further in your role, on the night of your wedding pretend you just stepped out of the 1940’s, and greet everyone by kissing them on the hand and saying things like, “Why, darling, you look simply ravishing!” You’ve got all night to be the owner of your new persona so you may as well milk it for what it’s worth.



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