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Evening Dresses

Equivalent to men’s semi-formal and formal wear for black tie and white tie events, vintage evening dresses is perhaps the category our OfV editors get the most excited about. From the narrow-waisted dresses of the beginning of the 19th century, evening gowns have evolved with the exciting history of women and fashion throughout the century. With simple boyish silhouettes mirroring the daring Flapper sentiments in the 1920s, to the introduction of the sheath dress, mermaid dress, A-line dress, trumpet dress and princess dress. Though fashion overall is less and less of a formal affair, the silk, chiffon, velvet, satin or organza ball gown still prevails women’s formal dress. With the wide array of silhouettes on offer today, formal or informal, below we have untangled the most significant styles.


A sheath dress fits the body tightly and generally has a straight drape. Its simple design invites for it to be dressed up or down with ease.


More on the formal side, the Mermaid dress is tight-fitting on the upper body and wider by the lower leg, resembling the shape of a mermaid.


Hailing from the 1950s and 1960s, the A-line dress is a shorter number with a tight fitting upper and an A-shape skirt.


Not dissimilar to a mermaid dress, the trumpet also flares by the knees, but often more subtly than the dramatic mermaid shape.


Popularised by Napoleon’s Josephine, the empire dress has a high waistline starting just below the bust, with a simple, straight-hanging, floor-long skirt.

Dropped waist

Often on the bohemian or flapper-style side, the dropped waist dress has a waist dropped down to the hips and a mini or midi length skirt.


The ball gown of choice for just about every Disney princess, the princess silhouette needs little further explanation.

OfV says: A unique and oftentimes much more affordable option, vintage evening dresses are the unrivalled choice for history honouring formalwear dazzling with charm. Browse our delightful edit of vintage evening gowns and discover imaginative vintage evening dresses beyond the ball gown. A Space Age sequin-covered dress from the 1960s; a 1920s Art Deco gown in velvet and sterling silver; a velvet cocktail dress with a dramatic ruffle skirt from the 1980s; or a subtle 1990s-style slinky slip dress in luxurious silk – whether you opt for the opulent or understated, perfect your after-hours style with a unique vintage evening gown from our edit below.

At Open for Vintage, we consider everyone as a collector with a desire to possess beautiful things with a story worth living on. Our curated edit of unique and contemporary vintage and pre-owned fashion pieces are hand-picked for their individuality, relevance, and of course, style appeal.

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Vintage 1920s Art Deco Sterling Silver Assuit and Silk Velvet Black Evening Dress

Vintage 1920s Art Deco evening dress in sterling silver assuit and black velvet.

Vintage 1960s Rouched Bodice Cream Silk Dress

1960's sheath dress in cream silk with a crossed ruched bodice with ribbon tape work covering the upper bodice and sleeves

Vintage 1970s Chiffon Ruffle Shocking Pink Evening Dress

1970's bright pink chiffon dress with a deep layered ruffle flounced falling from the neckline and dipped back and full gathered skirt

Oleg Cassini 1980s Open Back Sequin Black Vintage Cocktail Dress

Vintage 1980s Oleg Cassini cocktail dress with an open back covered in black sequins.

Paul-Louis Orrier 1980s Taffeta & Sequin Ruffle Skirt Black Vintage Cocktail Dress

Vintage 1980s Paul-Louis Orrier cocktail dress in black taffeta with matching sequins and a ruffle skirt.

Bergdorf Goodman 1980s Velvet Lace Detail Black Vintage Evening Dress

Vintage Bergdorf Goodman evening dress in black velvet from the 1980s with an open lace back and sleeve detailing.

Ian Peters 1960/70s Diagonal Stripe Metallic Silver Vintage Evening Ensemble

A chic knitted evening dress in silver, blue and black with matching jacket.

Liancarlo 1980s sequin black vintage Evening Dress

A 1980s vintage evening dress by Liancarlo

Leonard 1970s Metallic Brocade blue vintage Evening dress

A 1970s vintage colorful metallic brocade evening gown by Leonard

Mike Benet 1960s Strapless Pleated white vintage Maxi Dress

A 1960s vintage evening dress by Mike Benet

Paul Louis Orrier 1980s Velvet & Beaded Lace black vintage Evening Dress

A 1980s Paul Louis Orrier black velvet & beaded lace evening dress

Giulia Carla Cecchi 1980s Mermaid black Maxi Dress

A 1980s black mermaid maxi dress by designer Giulia Carla Cecchi / Antonio De Pescara

Vintage 1980s Metallic Stand-Up Collar black Maxi Dress

A 1980s vintage maxi dress with silver metallic stand up collar

Oscar De la Renta 1960s Lace black Vintage Dress

A 1960s vintage black lace evening dress by Oscar De La Renta

Mignon 1950s Lace Mermaid black vintage Dress

A 1950s Vintage Black Lace Mermaid Dress By Mignon

Versace 1980s backless light blue vintage Maxi Dress

Rare Versace gown with tailored backless body and thigh slit skirt

Valentino 1970s Silk Hydrangea Print Black Vintage Evening Dress

Christian Dior sleeveless gown with large pink hydrangea head print on a black ground

Christian Dior 1980s Sheer Sequin Top Red Vintage Evening Ensemble

Christian Dior evening ensemble with a sleeveless drop waist red dress and a gold sheer sequined top

Giorgio Armani Collezioni Sleeveless Purple Vintage Evening Dress

Vintage Giorgio Armani Collezioni sleeveless evening dress in purple with a strap detailing on the back.

Zandra Rhodes 1980s Silk Taffeta Black and Gold Painted Vintage Cocktail Dress

Zandra Rhodes 1980's cocktail dress with ruched asymmetric ruched bodice and gold screen printed taffeta tulle petticoat skirt

Christian Dior 1960s Devore Panel Rose Pink Vintage Evening Dress

Christian Dior pink evening gown with a swirling embroidered devoré panel front and back

Quorum 1980s Ruffle Bodice Bustier Red Vintage Cocktail Dress

Quorum strapless party dress with ruffled bodice and asymmetric double row skirt

John Galliano Bias Cut Reptile Print Brown Vintage Evening Dress

John Galliano sleeveless evening dress with a reptile like print and flared skirt

Jeanne Paquin 1950s Squiggle Sequin Black Vintage Cocktail Dress

Jeanne Paquin cocktail dress with a squiggle pattern of sequins all over, short sleeves and V neck

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