I wanted to talk some about veils today.  This time of year my email box is full of so many questions about head wear in general but you guessed it--it's mostly about veils and topping off your look.  Most questions I get are about length and proportion so I'm going to start at the inception of veils.  Did you know wearing one dates back to ancient times?  The bridal veil has been a symbol of purity and mystery in many traditions.  From Biblical times onwards every era has put it’s own spin on “the veil” and how its worn.   Fourteenth century brides wore hoods of silk netting.  Victorians sported yards of delicate laces passed on to daughters and granddaughters. Brides of the 1960s popularized the pouf veil still stylish today.
   The good news is, there are no more rules about what length veil  goes with a particular style gown.  Whatever guidelines exist have more to do with following your proportions and sense of style.  So, veil lengths do vary from jazzy little net poufs to yards of tulle trailing the hemline. 

Short Veils
The shorter ‘fashionista' veil has gone uber-trendy the past few years. Why? When short veils returned to the bridal scene thanks to a few designers inspired by vintage they seemed out of the ordinary –very outside the traditional bridal box. Though we're seeing them all over the place now there's still  something chic, even edgy about a bride sporting one. As early as the 1990s, Vera Wang paired up short, pouf veils with very formal gowns. Whether she wanted to show off the extraordinary back details of her gowns or usher in a new look, I don’t know; I only know the juxtaposition this duo created worked.
Brides say the best thing about wearing a shorter veil is, not having to do any adjusting in that switch from the solemnity of ceremony to big time partying hearty. Short veils are easy to maneuver around in and stay put whether you’re exchanging vowels, cutting cake or dancing.

Bird Cage or Net Pouf- Above left and center: These have gone trendy the past few years thanks to vintage designers. Made of either netting or tulle, this veil falls above the shoulder line.  Since it’s a shorter style, it tends to look structured, more hybrid of headpiece and veil.  Great for fashionistas.   

                     Blusher or Flyaway-Pictured above at the far right: A fly away is typically attached to the back while the blusher is a short veil worn over the face during the ceremony.  Can also be worn shoulder length in layers.  Although once considered informal, this is the choice of some chic, formal-gowned brides.
Long Veils
If I were to define the quintessential  bride, she'd definitely be donning a long veil on her wedding day.  To explain what’s considered long in veil chic, I’d start at the elbow and work all the way down to the twenty-five foot cathedral trail. Long veils convey a romantic mood by way of all that added gossamer sheer.

Elbow-Extends to the elbow or a couple inches below.

Fingertip-Most popular length; can be worn by nearly every figure type with most silhouettes.

Waltz-Falls anywhere between knee and ankle.

Chapel-Considered formal.  Extends about  two feet beyond the hemline.

Cathedral-Most formal.  Extends three feet or more beyond the hem.

Double Tier-Two layers, typically the shorter one a blusher but not always.

Clockwise: Top photos-Finger tip veil/Bottom photos-Left Waltz length veil/Right Cathedral veil

Pouf-Pictured Above:Width of veil is gathered at the crown and can be attached to a headpiece.  Generally made out of tulle or English netting.

Dropped- Pictured Above Yes, actually dropped onto the head in a single layer of tulle or lace; often bordered with lace or ribbon.  A Mantilla like the one above is a type of dropped veil.


    Typically tulle is the most common fabric used though chiffon, silk gauze and different types of nettings are sometimes worn.  Remember Julie Andrew’s wedding in The Sound of Music?  Her veil was silk organza . . . a stunning choice.  Another stunning choice—my favorite—is silk gauze.  Though it’s not as transparent or springy as tulle, it has all the opposite characteristics: an opaqueness; it floats whenever you walk or the breeze blows.

 Veils by Amy-Jo Tatum Bride

   Photo Credits

Header photo by S1 Studio/Second Photo by Pixamage

Top three photos: clockwise-/Pouf veil photo by Dominic Colacchio Photography/Cage veil photo by Bill Smoot
Long veil photos by Pixamage