What Makes A Wedding Dress Timeless?

Ever look back at your old high school prom photos and cringe? Fashion trends that looked hot at the time now make you wonder “What the heck was I thinking?” When you look back at your wedding photos, that’s not an emotion you want to evoke. If you want to look back at your wedding pictures without cringing, start by selecting a wedding dress that carries a timeless beauty.

Choosing a beautiful, timeless wedding dress is no easy task. You want your wedding dress to look elegant and fashionable, yet still hold “classic” qualities which ensure that the look isn’t dated or gaudy a few decades from now. Here are some of the elements that make a wedding dress truly timeless.

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Reem Acra Virtue Strapless Gown $2,800.00

No Over-The-Top Details

Every season there are new, flashy modern styles. In some seasons, extravagance seems to rule the day. Look at 80s wedding dresses for example – the trendy, puffy sleeves that were popular at the time instantly date any photo back to the era of hair metal and shoulder pads.

If you’re going for the timeless look, some trends to avoid include:

  • Princess poof
  • Ruching
  • Crazy Ruffles & Embellishments
  • Beading
  • Pick Ups

In general, the fewer embellishments and trendy details in your dress, the more timeless the look. But this certainly doesn’t mean your dress has to be boring. See Kate Middleton’s wedding dress for an example of a classic, timeless wedding dress that still manages to look elegant and modern.

Classic Silhouette

A wedding dress that has clean lines and nice flow will look good no matter what the decade. The A-line with a natural waist and the ball gown seem to be the most timeless wedding bride silhouettes. The skirt should have a little body, but nothing extravagantly poufy. Most importantly, a wedding dress that flatters your figure will look fantastic in any era, so be sure to choose a dress that fits you well.

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Classic Embellishments

Simple dresses with clean lines and minimal embellishments are mostly likely to maintain a timeless look. But if you do go with some embellishments, choose classic embellishments that have stood the test of time. As an example, choose pearl beads over sequins, or rose lace over daisies.


One shoulder wedding dresses are a recent trend that’s likely to go out of style at some point. Could it be similar to the puffy sleeve trend of the 80s? Almost definitely not – but like one button suits for men, one shoulder wedding dresses are a trendy style that will likely look dated at some point in the future. Traditional straps are the way to go for a timeless look, though strapless gowns are a decent choice as well. While strapless gowns have only become popular over the last few decades, it’s likely that strapless wedding gowns are here to stay as well.

Choosing Your Timeless Wedding Dress

It’s hard to say what will look timeless and what will look dated several decades from now. Some would even argue that any piece of fashion will eventually look dated to the trained eye. However, it’s safe to say that the cleaner, simpler styles will be the ones that stand the test of time. Avoiding trendy embellishments and sticking to the classic silhouette is the key to achieving an elegant, timeless look.

Browse wedding dresses on Shopbop Wedding Boutique.

About The Author

Brian Harte is a Leeds wedding photographer who loves to share wedding and photography related ideas via his blog.

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