All bridal gowns are beautiful, but not every body type is
beautiful in every bridal gown. Why is that? It’s simple, actually. It’s because not all body types are created equal. There is very little fluctuation in body proportions for that perfect size 10, but as soon as you start to move up into sizes not fit for a model’s body, i.e., sizes 14 and up, the body proportions can change dramatically. So, why should this be an issue?
We have been educated for years that you should simply pick a style of
dress based on the type of fruit or inanimate object your body resembles; pear,
apple, hourglass, stick figure, refrigerator or any other object that in no way
resembles a woman’s body, and voilà, there it is, your perfect wedding gown! If you still believe this, even after all those unsuccessful shopping trips, there is no reason to read further. But if you are disheartened because you haven’t found your perfect look, or simply want to become better informed on the art of dressing your figure, read on!
Even though you know your body better than anyone and may have
a comfort level with what you normally wear, you have to remember one very
important thing. A bridal gown is in no way like any other article of clothing you are used to wearing. So, what is it supposed to feel like and look like?
What color should it be? What about the fabric? I’m a size 20; should
I only try on A-line dresses? How do I find that perfect dress and how will I know when I’ve found it?
This is where you have to trust the experts in bridal fashion to choose a gown with you, a gown that not only shows off your assets, but also fits your personality. This is true for brides of all shapes and sizes. Your perfect wedding dress should be comfortable and flattering at every angle. If you are fun, it should be fun. If you are reserved or sophisticated, your style should reflect that as well. Your venue is also an important piece of the puzzle. If it is a destination wedding on the beach, you don’t want to wear a heavy satin ball gown. If it is outside in a park-like setting or in the garden, you probably want to think twice about wearing a tulle or lace gown that will act like a bug, twig, or mulch magnet.
The quote I hear most often is “I never would have chosen that to try on. I can’t believe how good it looks on me!” If you are a curvy bride, make sure you have scheduled an appointment in a salon or boutique that has a significant number of gowns in larger sizes, by different designers, with price points to match your budget and varied silhouettes and fabrics, so you can actually try them on, sit in them and even dance in them. You need to be able to see your hips in a fit-and-flare or mermaid style dress to see if it will actually flatter your figure. Hanging a gown over your head and picturing in your mind what it might look like on you is really demeaning and not of much use. I guess it would work if we were all two-dimensional, but since our bodies come in 3D, you have to try on the dress in order to see how it really fits your curves. Most importantly, be sure to ask if your bridal consultant specializes in dressing larger curves before you schedule an
appointment. You don’t want to put one of the most important purchases of your life in the hands of someone who is not used to working with real women with real curves.
My advice to curvy brides is to own your curves! Don’t be intimidated by others opinions, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different looks. Also, be careful about the number of people you bring with you. Any more than four can overwhelm the bride, undermine the consultant and derail the entire process. This is an experience that should be fun and relaxed. You only get to be a bride for the first time once, so set the tone and enjoy every minute of it! One bride
brought a small group with her that all had on “TEAM BRIDE” tee shirts, and
encouraged and supported her throughout her appointment. It was no surprise when she said “yes” to her dress because they helped make her day so much fun and she could concentrate on the reason she was in a bridal salon in the first place!
Lastly, here’s just a word about the seamstress. She works with a needle and thread, not a magic wand. If you choose a dress that is right for your figure, you will not be disappointed in the final results. Case in point – a bride purchased a size 22 gown from another very well-known bridal salon, but chose not to have her alterations done there. The dress she brought in was all wrong for her body, and as a result, the bust and torso did not flatter her. Her hips were also smaller than her thighs and as a result, the dress hung looser than she wanted. She insisted that in order to make the gown fit well, the bust needed to come down and the hips made tighter. Unfortunately, that would have required completely
redesigning the bodice. Then, when the hips were pinned to where she wanted, she could not sit without completely bending the pins at a 90-degree angle.
The reality of the situation was that she obviously had not worked with a consultant that was good at dressing this bride’s curves. She was good, however, at selling her a dress. Don’t be caught up in the moment. Ask whether the alterations needed to make the gown look as you envision can be done and, if so, can they be done without re-designing the dress. If they can’t,
keep looking; this is not the dress for you!
Be smart in your decision, love how you look in your dress, and above all, be comfortable in the fit and the style. Your wedding gown is an extension of your
personality and flair. Enjoy your gown shopping experience, make wonderful memories and don’t settle until you look and feel as beautiful as you are.