Written by Claire Leese
Images courtesy of Archive 12
Archive 12 is an Irish bridal boutique that sources and stocks a unique collection of original vintage wedding dresses. Owner, Claire Leese is a former stylist with an eye for catapulting vintage frocks into the 21st century. Claire's super-styling caught my eye a while ago in everyone's favorite hangout, Instagram. I asked Claireto share her advice on how to rock a vintage frock on your BIG day!
Both vintage fashion lovers, we share the same vibe when it comes to era's and recognizing the importance of getting the right balance so that you don't look like you smell of mothballs. I asked Claire to put together a little post to inspire anyone thinking of 'going vintage'. Here you go!
'' VINTAGE. It's a word that can evoke mixed emotions... I'll go a step further and say VINTAGE BRIDAL.... Are you running for the hills yet?! Let me take the time to talk you round, because for me there is nothing cooler or more individual than a vintage wedding dress.
Firstly, lets set the scene. I am not one of those people who lives every day in a vintage outfit. I don't wear my hair in pin curls, and I'm usually spotted in jeans and converse.
So many people think vintage bridal means 50's prom dresses and china teacups, but it's so much more... you just have to look for it. I'll let you in on a secret... I don't really like the 1950s. I'm talking the Debbie Harry, Kate Moss, Jane Birkin kinda vintage... bohemian, rock n' roll with an elegant twist and a strong dose of 'I don't give a fuck."
The dresses at Archive 12 aren't here JUST because they are vintage... it's almost a secondary requirement. Firstly they have to be beautiful and have something about them that makes them wearable, today. Quite often I'll be able to spot something that just needs a tweak to make it just that bit cooler - like shortening a sleeve or changing the back to a deep V.
Because of my styling background I love to create editorial images with a vision of how I see the dresses being worn. It's such a thrill to see the dress in situ and I think it massively helps my clients to imagine how they could look wearing a vintage gown.
The trick to styling a vintage wedding dress is not to look like you've walked off a movie set. Don't go head to toe in one era... mix in contemporary pieces to transform the look. When I'm styling an editorial shoot I often go for ultra modern hair to keep the look fresh and cool.
I always find myself inclined to add an element of the current fashion trends, even if it's not necessarily bridal.. but, again I think it's good to push the boundaries and I always want my images to be inspirational. My main aim is to help brides realize that there are no rules!... wear whatever you want and be brave! Who cares if your gran won't like it... it's your day... and, you only get to do it once (hopefully).
I'm lucky that most of my clients are fairly chilled out and are open to suggestions.. usually they are surprised by something they would never have imagined liking. My advice?... be open and try on everything! Vintage dresses aren't made in standard sizes and may even have been made specially for someone, so until you try it on you don't really know how it will fit. There will always be ways to alter it and make it just right, you can essentially make your own wedding dress.
Choosing a vintage wedding dress means you have the sweet guarantee that no one will ever have the same dress as you, and with the right accessories you can achieve a look that's super cool and completely individual. ''
Feeling it? You can find out more about Archive 12 and follow the blog here . Archive 12 is also the only Irish stockist of bohemian bridal designers, DAUGHTERS OF SIMONE. All bookings by appointment only.
Archive 12 also stock a range of bold and beautiful handmade flower crowns that can be shipped worldwide. Shop the collection here.
Photography by Laura J Curran
Do you love vintage frocks? What are your thoughts on the whole vintage bridal thing? Feel free to comment below or share this post with anyone needing some inspiration!