20 Vintage Photos of Beautiful Women in Veils

Photo: Gordon Parks/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

With summer wedding season winding down, you’ve probably seen your fair share of veils trailing down the backs of brides. But diaphanous, embellished overlays weren’t always worn solely for the purpose of exchanging vows. In the past, pillbox hats came garnished with delicate birdcages, similar to the ones more recently seen on the Jil Sander spring 2012 runway. Meant to be worn everywhere, from shopping trips to elegant dinners, they were a glamorous daily accessory during a time when ladylike dressing was the norm. On the silver screen, sirens like Marlene Dietrich and Gloria Swanson added mystery and sex appeal by posing in dramatic lighting clad in dark scarves or black netting. If a starlet wanted to play up her innocence, she could drape a sparkly white mantilla across her head, like Vivian Leigh in Gone With the Wind. In more modern times, divas like Madonna and Joan Collins used them to add to their commanding presence. Click ahead to see a collection of arresting and alluring images of women in veils.