Last year's trends for the aisle were all inspired by the drama and classicism of royal weddings; but for 2020, it's all about new interpretations of those classics, fresh alternatives to ivory and alabaster, and inspirations from decades past that (ironically) feel undeniably forward-thinking.
From the latest wedding-worthy accessories to effortless volume and the new take on bridal's ever-evolving bohemienne, these fresh takes on tailoring, style, and silhouettes are what you should be paying attention to as you plan, shop, and style your 2020 nuptials. Here, the fashion bride's guide to dressing for 2020 weddings.
** Badass Bride**
Meet the the modern bride—she's more irreverent than ever before.
This look is all about a major dose of attitude and edge. Take an irreverence and laissez-faire attitude to dressing for the aisle, then amp it up even further with a punk flair if you're feeling extra. Per Vera Wang's latest anniversary collection, Louis Vuitton's Cruise 2020 show, and Alexander McQueen's latest showing for Spring 2020, this look promises that you'll look all too cool, while still giving off an effortless vibe. Infuse hints of black, opt for '80s-inspired touches, embrace sheer elements, shorter lengths, and slits. Now, put them altogether; this is for the bride looking to merge romance with rebellion.
Clockwise from left: Alexander McQueen Spring 2020; Reem Acra Bridal Fall 2020; Vera Wang Bride Fall 2020; Louis Vuitton Cruise 2020.
**Buff is the New Blush**
Out with the old, in with the new hue.
Blush gowns became a mainstay in seasons past, but buff and ginger (the happy medium between blush and champagne) complements a wide range of styles and skin tones, making it our favorite new alternative to tried-and-true bridal white.
This shade is for the bride who doesn't feel like she's at her best in traditional ivory and alabaster tones. Pair it with gold, silver, blush, black, ivory, or bolder tones for a look that feels daring yet romantic—and nowhere near basic.
Clockwise from left: Chana Marelus Fall 2020; Danielle Frankel Fall 2020; Monique Lhuillier Bridal Spring 200; Lein Fall 2020.
**All Things Frothy**
While volume in bridal is nothing new, this season saw an influx of a new type of texture—froth. Weightless, full of movement, and totally dreamy, this ultra-romantic look wafted down runways in droves, and came in the form of tulle puffs, ruffles, ripples, and pleats.
If you're after volume, this is the type to be focused on. It's almost easy in all its grandeur, and these frothy skirts are infinitely more photogenic than a stiff silk or satin ballgown, which requires handling from bridesmaids and page boys galore to look polished.
Clockwise from left: Monique Lhuillier Bridal Fall 2020; Marchesa Bridal Spring 2020; Oscar de la Renta Bridal Fall 2020; Valentino Spring 2020
** Coat Dressing**
A few seasons back, it was separates that were all the rage; then came statement suiting—but more on that later.
In another adaptation of streetwear for the aisle, this look is asking you to wear outerwear as aisle-wear in a way we've yet to see make waves, until now. From sculptural silk gowns with a neckline-to-hem closure to lace-appliquéd trenches, these bridal coats are meant to be worn as gowns, or over dresses should you choose to use them as layering pieces, a la Galia Lahav's take on the trend. The message in short: you can have fun with fashion and play dress up, even for moments as epic as your ceremony.
Clockwise from left: Ashi Studio 2020; Galia Lahav Bridal Fall 2020; Danielle Frankel Fall 2020; Vera Wang Bride Fall 2020
** Full Coverage**
Since last year's royal weddings, we've continued to see the 'Duchess Effect' in full force—particularly as it relates to modesty and coverage. This look turns up the volume on keeping things concealed; rather than feeling matronly, it feels undeniably fashion-forward.
Opt for mock necklines, long sleeves, cuffs, and tons of texture. This conservative-with-a-twist style proves that regal has many forms, and that ballgowns aren't a pre-requisite for getting the look.
Clockwise from left: Costarellos Bridal Fall 2020; Lela Rose Bridal Fall 2020; Valentino Resort 2020; Monique Lhuillier Bridal Fall 2020
** Green Envy**
This shade was shown in droves during the Haute Couture collections in January, and bridal designers echoed the call on the runways, with Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier leading the charge.
Wang showcased a range of soft colors for Spring 2020, highlighting a soft green amongst her other macaron shades of pink, purple, nude, and soft grey. And while blush (and now buff) wedding dresses have become a mainstay since they were first introduced by Vera Wang years ago, it's now pistachio's turn to take a walk down the aisle, with options in more than one shade of green to envy.
Clockwise from left: Monique Lhuillier Bridal Fall 2020; Vera Wang Bride Spring 2020; Valentino Spring 2020; Rosie Assoulin Resort 2020
**Legs for Days**
High-low hemlines have made waves on Haute Couture and bridal runways alike; but this season, bridal cut to the chase.
Legs, legs, and more legs were on display from designers of all walks and aesthetics—be it via short hemlines, thigh-high slits, or new takes on high-low hems. Designers, it seems, are declaring that showing off your legs via micro minis and super-high slits shouldn't be reserved for civil ceremonies or the after party. Pair any of these looks with a veil, and they're ceremony-appropriate as well.
Clockwise from left: Alessandra Rich Spring 2020; Vera Wang Bride Fall 2020; Viktor & Rolf Bridal Fall 2020; Galia Lahav Bridal Fall 2020
** Minimalism to the Max**
Megan Markle undoubtedly took this trend to the next level with her completely unadorned Givenchy gown, but as some brides make efforts to go grand, tapping into all-over lace, embroidery, lengthy trains, volume in all its forms, and so much more, others are going minimal—to the max.
That means no lace, no beading, and no excessive draping, volume, or fanfare. This look is for the no fuss, no frills bride who loves clean lines, sleek shapes, and architectural elements—in small doses. This look is all about the cut, and when it comes to fit, this look requires impeccable tailoring.
Clockwise from left: Roland Mouret Bridal Spring 2020; Cushnie Bridal Spring 2020; Sophie et Viola Bridal Fall 2020; Galvan Bridal Fall 2020
** New Takes on Lace**
From Chantilly to Alençon, Guipure to corded lace, and all the re-embroidered and three-dimensional options in between, lace is perhaps bridal's biggest mainstay. It's therefore no surprise that to reinvent the wheel in this category proves challenging; one feels ready to morph into Miranda Priestley when the subject of lace arises in bridal. "Lace? For the aisle? Groundbreaking."
But what if it were—and this season, it is. Lace options unlike those we've seen before were popping up on the bridal and ready-to-wear runways, giving brides more lace options for and and every style, climate, and vibe. Lean into all the new lace options and consider how they'll best suit your wedding's setting: Macrame and floral laces feel outdoor and effortless, while more graphic options feel like a modern take on traditional wedding dressing. Bring the feel of your gown into your veil for an even larger impact—but when you do, be sure the look still feels authentic rather than overwhelming.
Clockwise from left: Naeem Khan Bridal Fall 2020; Christian Dior Resort 2020; Giambattista Valli Spring 2020; Alexander McQueen Spring 2020
** Fresh Tiers**
Tiers might just be as ubiquitous as lace when it comes to weddings—but what's old is new again, and this season's versions felt considerably fresh.
These layers have taken more subtle approaches in the past, but what's the fun in that? For 2020, consider tulle layers that feel more cream puff than classic, and add volume through pleating rather than weight. These full-skirted and A-line options are for the bride who doesn't take herself too seriously, and who wants to feel like a modern-day princess, with all the extra frills and fuss.
Clockwise from left: Oscar de la Renta Bridal Fall 2020; Viktor & Rolf Bridal Fall 2020; Carolina Herrera Bridal Spring 2020; Zuhair Murad Bridal Fall 2020
** Prairie Vibes**
This is yet another update to the boho bride—with a Victorian twist. Puff sleeves, smocking, empire waists, and an overall ease characterize this look, which is equal part chic milkmaid and fashion fairy nymph.
While each designer interpreted this effortless, pastoral look differently—some more modern than others—this is for the girl looking to tap into her inner je ne sais quoi.
Clockwise from left: Viktor & Rolf Bridal Fall 2020; Alexander McQueen Spring 2020; Brock Collection Spring 2020; Danielle Frankel Fall 2020
** Watercolor Wonders**
While we've addressed soft color in more ways than one for 2020—be it the mainstay that is bridal blush or the introductions of green and buff for the aisle, this is about a softer take on all things colorful, be it gowns in shades of pink, blue, yellow, lavender, and beyond, or dreamy floral prints.
Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, and Oscar de la Renta lead the watercolor charge for 2020 bridal, with Wang showing a range of tones for Spring 2020, followed by Lhuilliers whimsical prints for both Spring and Fall. Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia wowed with a true "something blue" gown for Fall 2020, which hearkened to the watercolor wonders we saw on the Spring 2020 runways.
Clockwise from left: Alexander McQueen Spring 2020; Giambattista Valli Spring 2020; Monique Lhuillier Bridal Fall 2020; Oscar de la Renta Bridal Fall 2020
** Scalloped Necklines**
The '80s have been making a comeback in far more ways than one—and scalloped necklines are just another nod to fashion's most daring decade.
Sweetheart necklines give the body a sexy curve, while a straight-across strapless or plunging V-neck feels clean and graphic. Scalloped finishes work double duty, feeling fresh while offering the feminine touch that previously only the most basic of bridal necklines could provide.
Clockwise from left: Oscar de la Renta Spring 2020; Costarellos Bridal Spring 2020; Reem Acra Bridal Spring 2020; Chana Marelus Fall 2020
** Statement Suiting**
Suiting is no stranger to bridal, but now these sleek, handsome, and borrowed-from-the-boys options are so ubiquitous in weddings that they've taken on innovative approaches. It's not all about cigarette pants and slim blazers—for 2020, color, sheer capes, sleeveless jackets, and even jackets that double as mini dresses for a quick-change are all on offer.
If suiting doesn't suit you ceremony, think of rehearsal dinners as the time to dress for the fashion-forward side of your bridal personality. After parties are all about feeling sexy, but a perfectly-tailored suit should have you feeling all those things. If you do choose to don a suit down the aisle, we suggest styling it with a veil for the ultimate in cool-girl vow exchanges.
Clockwise from left: Chanel Spring 2020; Roland Mouret Bridal Spring 2020; Ralph & Russo Haute Couture Spring 2020; Lela Rose Bridal Fall 2020
** Clever Corsetry**
Underwear as outwear is making its way to the aisle—but this time it's less sexy and more regal than ever before. From exposed boning to other feats of fashion engineering, these new corsets are paired with sheer tulle, gossamer laces, and loads of layering for a vibe that feels royal-inspired, but with a major edge.
From corsets exposed on classic ballgowns to innovative options featuring asymmetric pleating, high-low hemlines, and more, we're loving this new spin on sophisticated sexiness.
Clockwise from left: Oscar de la Renta Bridal Spring 2020; Carolina Herrera Bridal Spring 2020; Vera Wang Bride Spring 2020; Jonathan Simkhai Resort 2020
** Feathery Frocks**
From fully-feathered ballgowns to chic little minis, luxurious yet lightweight feathers add a glamorous and feminine touch to any look for the ceremony, rehearsal dinner, or after-party. We saw plumes of all variations this season, and when it comes to this embellishment, it seems designers all have one message: don't skimp.
What might have felt trite or try-hard in seasons past is now theatrical and chic, and 2020 is all about flairs for the dramatic. This trend feels grand and luxe, but also super dreamy—whether its just a dainty trim, via a glamorous shoulder shrug, or a full head-to-toe look for the ceremony.
Clockwise from left: Zuhair Murad Bridal Spring 2020; Naeem Khan Bridal Spring 2020; Oscar de la Renta Bridal Spring 2020; Balmain Resort 2020; Ralph & Russo Fall 2019 Couture
** Black Magic**
Push past any negative connotations about the color black in bridal and trust us—it’s incredibly chic. Whether it be a touch of black or a daring head-to-toe look, don’t be afraid to incorporate this sultry shade into your wedding day wardrobe.
Black dress details make a powerful and refined statement that is tastefully timeless, whether you use the tone at your waist, as a trim, or as an even subtler accent.
Clockwise from left: Ralph & Russo Fall 2019 Couture; Victoria Beckham Resort 2020; Chanel Cruise 2020; Aje Resort 2020; Carolina Herrera Resort 2020
** Superhero Status**
Capes may not be groundbreaking in the wedding world, but new renditions of them this past season were innovative and fresh for both the aisle or the after party. Mock-necked capes adorned with lace were all over the Spring 2020 collections, especially those that added a subtle layer for more coverage and made for a striking silhouette that emphasized the gown underneath.
Opt for this look to up the ante on an already stunning ensemble. Whether or not your gown has sleeves, this is still the most dramatic (and one the chicest) ways to cover up.
Clockwise from left: Elie Saab Resort 2020; Ralph & Russo Fall 2019 Couture; Monique Lhuillier Spring 2020; Zuhair Murad Bridal Spring 2020
** Gloves Galore**
Not only fit for a lady in waiting, this timeless accessory feels regal and period, yet somehow super modern. These of-a-time extras made a comeback this season in a variety of versions, and we loved them all.
Whether in satin or a chic sheer lace, swiss-dot or floral-printed, elbow-length or wristlets, gloves add that je ne sais quoi quality to any look. They feel outside-the-box yet traditional, striking a balance that's just right. Expert tip: this add-on gives your look an editorial edge when worn during photos, cocktail hour, or when greeting your guests, but skip them for dinner and the after-party to avoid your look going overtly costume.
Clockwise from left: Naeem Khan Bridal Spring 2020; Lein Spring 2020; Reem Acra Bridal Spring 2020
** Naked, Not Naked.**
Sheer never looked so chic. This sexy silhouette of sheer yet fully-covered gowns still leaves little to the imagination, but manages to feel sophisticated. From floor length, long-sleeved, all-over ruffles to embroidery and embellishments, these styles take nearly-naked, sexy bride dressing to a whole new level.
Rock this look with the the under-layers that suit you or experiment with this trend by playing with slips, lingerie, and linings that give the illusion of lightness, without bearing everything.
Clockwise from left: Maison Francesco Scognamiglio Fall 2019 Couture; Zuhair Murad Bridal Spring 2020; Costarellos Bridal Spring 2020; Alon Livne Bridal Spring 2020