The Vintage Wedding Dress

meringue photo 1

Wedding season is in full swing, so I sat down with Kristine Engel, curator of Meringue, a vintage formal wear boutique in Chicago’s Roscoe Village, to chat about the dresses in her collection, the history of wedding fashion, and why re-imagined vintage is an aesthetic that appeals to modern brides.

box pleats

Kristine’s background in costume design has helped her forge some of the connections that make it possible to curate gowns from across the United States and beyond. “There’s something theatrical about planning a wedding,” she tells me as she describes how several of her gowns can be re-imagined and accessorized. Here are a few of the dresses we discuss in the interview:

The 1960s silk organza Cahill of Beverly Hills with three-quarter-inch-length sleeves and skirt with box pleats (pictured above) can be worn as is or transformed by shortening the sleeves and adding a  V down the back. Kristine suggests minimal accessories such as a simple tulle birdcage or a patina beaded belt.


This iconic 1950s Cahill of Beverly Hills tea-length gown with capped sleeves, scalloped lace along the neckline, and circular skirt has a little surprise—a wedding bell pattern in the lace.


This 1930s V-neck in back and high cowl lace neck in the front has a slight sweeping train. To add a bohemian flair, this dress could be paired with a floral crown and worn at a destination wedding on the beach.


In addition to curating gowns, Kristine designs custom head pieces and accessories using vintage materials. To learn more about Meringue, check out the boutique’s website.


Photo Credit: Kristine Engel
Stock media provided by seastockaudio/


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