Vintage bridesmaid dress styles for retro weddings

Pinup Couture Ava Dress
Pinup Couture’s Ava dress is available in eight sizes and ten colors.

So you’re having a vintage-style wedding and you want some pretty mid century styles for your bridesmaids. If you want everyone to wear the exact same dress, it’s tricky to find a style that will fit everyone and comes in a color you like. If your choice is basic black, or red, you’ll be able to find something easily in one of the better-known pinup and retro lines. But if your wedding colors are a little more esoteric, you may have trouble.

I’ve found two popular styles that come in an array of colors that are perfect for bridesmaids: Pinup Couture’s Ava dress and the famous 1950s halter circle skirt dress by Vivien of Holloway. Both come in dressy satins, and the Vivien of Holloway halter dress comes in cottons and prints for a more casual day wedding.

The Pinup Couture Ava dress is a cross-bodice style with a tulip skirt and elegant sash, available in eight sizes and ten colors. The available colors include red, black, plum, teal, jade, tangerine, cocoa, and gold. It comes in white and blush, too, which makes it an elegant and affordable option for a bride, too. It’s based on a dress worn by Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris in Mad Men promotional photos, which makes it perfect for an early 1960s inspired wedding.

Jade Ava
Full shot of my Ava in jade. I wear the XL at 42-32-48.”

I own the Ava in red, jade (which is actually more of a moss green), and plum, and love each one. I purchased the plum to wear in my friend Dasha’s winter wedding, as it suits her color vision perfectly. When she told me she wanted us to wear something in either “royal purple” or gray, I knew that the plum Ava was our solution! Most importantly, the Avas come in a range of sizes. All colors come in XS-2x, and some are available in 3x and 4x as well. This makes the Ava dress a perfect option for wedding parties that include petite as well as plus sized bridesmaids. The dress also offers a sexy hourglass shape that works well on a variety of heights and body shapes and provides enough coverage to stay modest.

The Pinup Couture line is produced by a United States-based company, Pinup Girl Clothing, which is most easily accessible to North Americans. That said, they do ship internationally and supply limited stock to stores throughout the world.

The Vivien of Holloway halter dress is another great option for bridesmaids, especially those residing in Europe (VoH is based in the UK). The boned bodice and wide halter strap make it a cut above your average halter dress in fit. While the famous version of this dress is a circle/swing skirt style, it does come in a pencil style as well.

Vivien of Holloway 1950s Halter dress
Vivien of Holloway 1950s Halter dress in green satin.

This dress comes in dozens of fabric options, from satins and lace overlays to novelty cotton prints. My personal favorite is the green satin, though I own the dress in a pretty black-background pink rose floral, pictured below.

For those who want to accessorize, Vivien of Holloway also sells 2″ and 3″ wide 1950s style stretch belts like the one pictured with the green dress at right. Those in the US might want to save money by purchasing similar, less expensive 2.25″ wide belts (in more colors!) from Malco Modes, available at I own three of the Malco Modes belts and really like them; just make sure you follow the sizing advice at the Resashay site.

Vivien of Holloway Halter Dress
My Vivien of Holloway halter dress. I took the photo while I was moving into my house, so my room looks like crap. This is the 42 bust, 32 waist size. My measurements are 42-32-48.”

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