Classic Wedding Dresses Vs Modern Wedding Dresses: Find your bridal style


Back to blog

When it comes to wedding dresses it’s often helpful to start with some key words that describe your style and how you want to feel on your wedding day. By doing this it will help you understand what style of dresses and designers are right for you. Our brides often come to us with words […]

When it comes to wedding dresses it’s often helpful to start with some key words that describe your style and how you want to feel on your wedding day. By doing this it will help you understand what style of dresses and designers are right for you. Our brides often come to us with words such as classic, timeless, modern, minimal and contemporary, all words we would choose ourselves to describe our brand and style.

There can be a misconception around modern or contemporary dresses that they will date or are an ‘of-the-moment’ style. A modern wedding dress can still have a classic and timeless feel to it and that’s exactly what we try to achieve here at AH. It is important for us to create contemporary designs that are wearable and timeless and something you will love for years to come. We have dresses ranging from what we would call a more classic wedding dress through to more graphic modern pieces. In this blog we are going to talk about the differences between more classic shapes and modern design, hopefully helping you to define your very own personal bridal style.

Classic Corset Wedding Dresses

A Classic wedding dress can mean many things, we take inspiration from more traditional bridal shapes and dress making methods but translate them to align with the modern bride. A great example of this is a corseted dress. Corsetry is a traditional dress making method that has been around since the 1500’s. Whilst the method and materials have adapted and changed over time (they used to use whalebone!) the concept remains the same, to create structure, support and define the waist. Something a lot of our brides look for in a dress.

We use corsetry and boning in different ways throughout our collections depending on the shape of the gown and design. For a classic strapless dress corsetry is an essential and necessary element as it holds the dress in place and allows us to perfect the fit on our brides. It creates a beautiful silhouette that defines the waist and supports the bust. Our Florence dress from our Pavello Collection , Etienne from our Reflection Collection and Bloom dress from Elements all have a traditional inbuilt corset to create their shaping. When we use corsetry at AH we always create this as an internal structure, you will never see the lace up corset at the back as this will be covered with silk and hand made buttons. This creates a more contemporary feel for our brides by concealing the eyelets and lace-up.

Another way we use this traditional method is to use boning in some of our designs. This is great for our semi-structured pieces where we want to define certain sections of the dress. For example, our Clement dress from Elements has some short, light boning in the bodice to define the high waist from your bust to your waistline. It shapes the bust and waist perfectly without having to incorporate a full internal corset. The same goes for our Coral dress also from Elements, we have incorporated some light boning through the sides and back to create a little more structure but still keeping a light, relaxed feel. Our Cora dress from our Dovetail collection may look like it has a full internal corset but it is actually created using boning throughout the bodice, a great alternative for any bride who wants a more relaxed strapless design.

Classic lace wedding dresses

There are many types of lace that create a different feel for each of our designs. Classic French lace such as Chantilly or Corded/Embroidered lace often have a beautiful floral or botanical feel with a scalloped edge detailing. Our Cecilia lace and Elen lace are wonderful examples and perfect for any bride who is drawn to a more traditional detailing. By pairing this lace with our simple silk fabrics it achieves a lovely balance of classic and modern.

The great thing about Classic lace is that it can be utilised in different ways. It can be moulded over the bodice of a dress like our Aurelia Cecilia from our Reflection Collection for a classic front with cap sleeves but as you can see the back detailing has a contemporary feel with the lace being left sheer on the skin. Another way we often use our more traditional lace is in the form of a bridal top, cape or coat. You may be having a more traditional ceremony that requires a little more coverage, you could pair our Adria lace top with one of our modern silk designs such as Demi from our Finsbury Collection. This allows you to transition your look throughout the day having both a classical element and a modern, minimal feel for later. Another beautiful classic lace option is our Laura lace top, we love the organic appliqué pattern that flows through this design, arguably creating a more contemporary feel to an all over lace.

Modern Lace wedding dresses

There are lots of amazing lace options out there and it may feel overwhelming finding the right one for you. If a classic floral lace is not for you but you still want to include a lace element in your dress our contemporary lace will be perfect for you.

Any bride who is drawn to clean lines and geometric details will love our graphic lace choices. Our Drew lace was introduced in our Pavello Collection and is a beautiful fine lace with a linear pattern, our Drew Top and Drew Overdress are all lovely ways to utilise this lace. Elliot lace has an almost dotted geometric pattern and can be found in our Elliot Top and Zoe dress from our Reflection Collection. Rebecca cotton lace has more coverage with a diamond shape design, we have used this in our Aerin Cape. As you can see traditional lace making methods can be used to create less floral patterns that work perfectly with our silks.


Now that you have learnt a little more about classic floral lace and our modern, geometric lace which of the below do you prefer? It’s helpful to think about your natural style, do you wear floral patterns or are you drawn to cleaner sharper lines?

Classic Silhouettes Vs Modern shapes

All of our designs are inspired by classic bridal shapes in some way, from a-line styles through to more fitted shapes. We have adapted and re-worked these silhouettes to create bridal wear that is wearable, comfortable and most importantly fit our brides beautifully.

Throughout the years bridal wear has transformed and whilst full skirted shapes are still very much a big part of bridal, slimmer shapes, shorter lengths, skirt splits and dresses without trains are all very much in demand. An a-line wedding dress can be a very manageable and wearable shape. Our Milo Dress and Joni designs from Elements Collection are a lovely example of this, made from a heavy weight silk they have a beautiful fluid movement that flows when you walk. For a fuller a-line shape and a longer train our Juno and Bella designs from Identity Collection would be the perfect choice, offering a slightly more classic shape through the skirt. Ideal for a more formal or church wedding.

Steering away from a classic a-line silhouette, let’s look at some contemporary ways we have adapted our designs to appeal to a modern bride. Skirt splits are a really lovely way to add a modern twist to our skirts. Clement from our Elements Collection balances classic features with a side split through the skirt, a feminine addition that also shows off your shoes. A split can be created in different ways and a great example of this is our Zelpa dress from our Soho Collection, this design is one of our most contemporary pieces. With it’s cut out sides, minimal train and wrap over skirt split this is the perfect choice for any bride who wants a less ‘bridal’ look but still wants to feel incredibly special. For more skirt split inspiration you can look to our Drew Dress, Wallace from Identity and Harper from Reflection.

A balance of Classic and Contemporary design can be found in our slim a-lines and bias cut designs. If a full a-line feels a little too much and a skirt split feels too modern we have a wonderful array of balanced designs that will be perfect for you. A lovely example would be our Zoe dress from our Reflection Collection, with a slim a-line Zoe sill gives a bridal feel without feeling overwhelming. Paired with a modest train and delicate straps we love how this design really encapsulates the AH vision. Choose from a floral, geometric or sheer silk back and add a bridal top to complete the look. Another timeless designs that brings together classic and modern features is our bias cut Aerin design. Bias cut shapes originated in the 1920’s/30’s and have a wonderfully old school glamour feel to them, our Aerin Dress is paired with a modern low open back and spaghetti strap detail. Style with our classic French lace tops or for a more contemporary feel add our Bia Cape.


Having now read about Classic Silhouettes Vs Modern Shapes, ask yourself which feels more in line with your style. Which of these dresses do you see yourself in the most?

Classic, Modern Classic and Modern Fabrics – which will you choose?

At AH we pride ourselves on our use of high quality sustainable and natural fabrics that allow us to create beautiful designs for our brides. We use an array of silks, lace and other sustainable fabrics throughout our collections. We are going to explain a little more about our fabric choices to help you understand the differences between a classic fabric choice and a modern option.

Classic fabrics such as Duchess Satin or Mikado are often a little heavier, more structured and hold their shape very well! Perfect for those fuller skirts and classic A-line shapes. We gravitate towards using Duchess Satin or Mikado when we want a design to have a powerful skirt shape that holds. Our Alexandra dress from our Soho Collection is an amazing example of how Duchess can be used the most beautiful way, it creates a fullness and drama like no other fabric. With a delicate light sheen it reflects the perfect amount of light and allows us to add details such as box pleats, folds and pockets. Mikado is a little heavier than Duchess but is also our go to for a classic full skirt shape, it has a soft matt finish that allows us to create clean, sharp lines and bold shapes for our brides. Bella dress from Identity Collection highlights how this fabric takes shape in a design, mixing a Classic fabric with square lines and modern detailing.

Moving on to what we would call our Modern Classic fabrics such as silk marocain and silk satin. These are the fabrics we work with the most at AH and that form most of our creations. These fabrics are so versatile and offer us and our brides so much flexibility when it comes to finishes. Our silk marocain is a matte silk that works perfectly for our more structured and contemporary shaped designs as it enables us to create clean cut lines. Our Ace dress from Elements is a striking yet minimal column design, by using a matt marocain it keeps the design fresh and the eye is drawn to the beautiful waist and back detailing. If you love matt silk but want a slightly softer feel our sandwash marocain is for you! This silk fabric is entirely matt and has an almost velvety feel to it. We love using this in our more fluid designs and dresses that have some movement or draping. Saint from our Elements collection is made from this fabric, the soft sleeves, draped bodice and flowing a-line skirt really allow this fabric to shine through. Marcoain in general has a lovely weight to it, not as structured or heavy as a Duchess but it feels really comfortable and special to wear. Lots of our brides comment on how secure and special they feel in our fabrics.

Let’s move on to our fabrics that have a little more lustre and sheen. Our silk satin is such a wonderful fabric to work with, it falls so beautifully and has a real luxe feel to it. Any bride who wants an extra bit of glamour would love this finish. We often use Satin in our bias cut designs, our Wren dress from Identity always stands out in this fabric. The fluid movement of a bias cut design allows the light to reflect off the satin creating an almost water like motion. If satin feels a little too ‘high sheen’ for you our sandwash satin would be a great choice. Sandwash satin has a slightly softer feel and a pearlescent finish, always a lovely choice for our bias cut or softer shaped designs. Our Aerin design is a soft bias cut shape that falls perfectly in this fabric, we love the natural reflective quality it has.

From our Classic Modern Fabrics we move on to our Modern fabrics such as sheer silks and contemporary lace. Silk chiffon is a fabric we work with all the time at AH, we just love the way it sits so delicately on the skin and creates a beautiful textural contrast throughout our designs and collections. Sheer silks can be used to create entire dresses for an ethereal look like our Clarice dress which has a full length chiffon overlay with delicate long sleeves. They can also be used to create features within a design like Ines with its sheer silk panel or Pearl from Elements where we have used sheer silk to create a bloused modern sleeve detailing. Due to it’s light, translucent qualities silk chiffon is also a wonderful choice for layering accessories such as our Clara cape or Kori Overkskirt. Another sheer silk fabric that we have been using more recently is Organza! This is definitely a more classic fabric choice but we are using it in very modern ways. The beauty of Organza is that it has body enabling us to create more structured and bloused sleeves just like our Lane top from Elements or our Arkle wrap top.

All of our main silk fabrics are 100% natural and it is ever more important that we continue to research new, sustainable and innovative fabrics. All of our designs can be made in vegan fabric alternatives such as Tencel or organic cotton – these are also fabric we will be introducing into our new collections moving forwards. New fabrics and technologies are constantly evolving and it is our responsibility to learn about and source the most sustainable options for our bride into the future.


Now you understand a little more about how our fabrics fall and the finish they create, which of the below draws you in the most?

Watch our Elements Production video below to see how we build our collections in our London Studio using traditional dress making methods. Every single dress is made in London by our amazing in house team.

We hope this blog has been a helpful tool in understanding whether you are a classic, modern or classic modern bride! Our stylists will guide you further when it comes to trying our dresses and can work with you create the perfect look for your wedding day. Book in for our AH From:Home servicenow or contact our team.