Is My Wedding Dress White?

Is My Wedding Dress White?

Is My Wedding Dress White?. Mobile Image

Mar 15, 2024

Is My Wedding Dress White?


One of the hardest things for me to hear is a bride saying, “I love this dress, but I can’t get it because it’s not white.” Now, you can go back and read about the emergence of the white wedding dress tradition, and even how I feel about it in this blog. However, to stay on track here, we are just going to take a minute to talk about white versus ivory. Traditionally, white has been the go-to choice for brides, symbolizing purity and innocence. But in recent years, ivory has become increasingly popular, and for good reason.


I tend to hear things like “I can’t wear white” because a mother, or mother in law has deemed it inappropriate. Well, maybe I can get mom on board, but when dad is the one putting a kibosh on a “non-white” wedding dress, it gets a little tougher. Who knows, maybe you can share this blog with him to get him to understand why white isn’t the same as it was in the 70’s-90’s, but in fact, IS the same as the previous 130 years.


So…white fabric is bleached fabric. Did you know that? What we know of as white is NOT the natural color of ANY fabric. The reality is that bleaching is something that has been done for YEARS. I mean, I am literally talking dating back to 5000 BC, but there is a significant difference. Bleaching was used to lighten clothes, not just to make them white.


Queen Victoria’s dress in 1840 was white…well, it was as white as was possible in the year 1840 because it was satin with silk. It could only get to a certain level of white that the fabric could handle. It is not the white that we think of today.




In 1951, a material called polyester was invented and introduced to the world. It didn’t become popular until the 70’s where it was advertised as the “miracle fabric that could be worn for 68 straight days without ironing and still be presentable.” It was also a cheaper material since it is a synthetic and started to become widely available and used in clothing, including wedding dresses. Well, there are two materials that bleach REALLY well: cotton and polyester.


Suddenly, two very popular fabrics that were used in wedding dresses were being bleached, and they were turning into a brilliant white, a white that had not been seen in material before now. 



In the last 15 years, we have seen many designers move away from 100% polyester for bridal gowns. No, we still aren’t using 100% silk, I know I couldn’t afford that. We started to get fabrics that have blends to them, some silk and some polyester. In the last 5 years, we have started to see trends in “ready to wear” dresses entering bridal. That means that a blend of fabric that includes spandex has started to enter the bridal world. Think about it. Most bridal gowns have no stretch to them, BUT most of the clothes you wear every day have stretch.


So what does all this mean? Silk and spandex CANNOT take bleach. The fabrics just literally can’t take it. It is impossible for these two materials to turn bleach white. That means that in the past 5-10 years we are seeing an increasing amount of bridal gowns that are not even available in white. In fact, in my store, probably only 10-15% of our bridal gowns are available to order in white.



Unlike stark white, which can be harsh and unforgiving, ivory is a warmer hue that complements a wider range of complexions. Regardless of your skin tone, an ivory wedding dress can impart a soft, radiant glow, enhancing your natural beauty and ensuring that you look luminous on your special day. This inclusivity makes ivory a more accessible and universally flattering option.


Does this mean you are not wearing a white dress on your wedding day? No, in fact, you are wearing a more traditional dress by wearing ivory than wearing white. So, why do we call Queen Victoria’s dress white? Because white as we know it today did not exist, but now that it does exist, we have to differentiate between white and ivory. But I assure you….in the eyes of tradition….they are the same! 



So, please don’t discount a dress because it doesn’t come in white. It actually just means that the fabric content already has it at its truest color of white as possible. Whether it be white, diamond white, bridal shite, ivory, candlelight or soft ivory. They are all “white”. They are all beautiful. They are all bridal gowns. And any of them could be the dress you Adore. The color on the label does not define what makes a “true” bridal gown.


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