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Light with a matte finish, chiffon lends itself well to hanging and draping with a natural, fluid look. It is a popular choice for sophisticated wraps around the bride’s shoulders. Because it is less transparent than other fabrics, layering it over the skirt gives the appearance of more heaviness, fullness, and depth.
The term organza actually refers to the type of weave that the fibers are woven into, rather than the resulting material. Organza is generally a blend of nylon, polyester, and silk. It can be translucent or sheer, depending on the weave of the fabric. Some types of organza use a mixture of both natural and synthetic fibers.
Organza’s soft, romantic appearance adds extra depth and an air of elegance to a wedding dress. It is often seen in wedding gown skirts, trains, and veils.
Made from any number of fibers including silk, nylon, or rayon, satin is actually a type of weave (like Organza) and gets its high even sheen from the way in which fibers are woven together. Satin is very heavy, known for its flexibility and strength, plus it has a shimmery depth that no other fabric can quite duplicate. Real satin is expensive, but polyester or rayon blends are similar in appearance and more affordable.
There are a number of different styles of satin fabrics that are popular for wedding dresses including paduasoy (heavy, good for draping, and has more of a matte “delustered” finish) and charmeuse (lighter and softer to the touch). Satin does crease easily so keep a steamer available.
A member of the silk family and very similar. Shimmery and elegant but with a defined “nubby” texture, shantung is one of the most interesting wedding dress fabrics out there. Durable, stain-resistant shantung is perfect for full skirts or ruched bodices. Because of its weight, shantung drapes nicely without being too heavy. A popular choice for bridesmaids because it photographs well.
Silk is a soft material that gives off a muted shine, one of the world’s oldest known fibers. Silk is a natural protein fiber made by the cocoon of the silkworm. The fiber is spun into thread and woven into cloth. What’s amazing is that silk comes in many different textures, the same thread can be woven in several fabrics that include satin, taffeta, organza, chiffon, lace, and tulle.
Silk is still the most popular gown material.And despite silk’s delicate appearance, it’s very durable and can last a long time if cared for properly. Sunlight, humidity, and heat can actually damage silk garments so it’s best to store them in breathable garment bags in cool dim places.
Taffeta is a very tightly woven, stiff, crisp fabric, made from either silk or synthetic fibers. Because of these properties, taffeta looks great on structured ball gown style wedding dresses. Taffeta makes “swooshing” noises as it rubs against itself, so most brides use taffeta sparingly in their wedding gowns.
There are different styles of taffeta, and they each have their own distinct characteristics. For example, shot taffeta has a shiny, iridescent appearance, while tissue taffeta is smooth and semi-transparent.
Tulle is gauzy, delicate mesh netted material, tulle is often used for veils. Generally made from silk, cotton, synthetic fibers or a mixture of fibers, there are different types of tulle to suit your style. Bridal illusion tulle, which is made of 100% nylon, is soft and has the signature hexagon gauze appearance. Silk tulle is very luxurious and has a fine, sheer look and feel that is not unlike high-end hosiery.
Tulle is (of course) perfect for the ballerina style wedding gown, combining a gauzy romantic yet fun and youthful feel. The beauty and almost weightless qualities of tulle also make it popular for bridal veils.
It’s hard to go wrong with an A-line gown. This silhouette is universally flattering. Elegant, clean lines flare at the hips to narrow and elongate the torso.
A-line gowns are also quite versatile. Unlike some other silhouettes, which are dependent on the strength and texture of certain fabrics, the fabric your A-line gown is made from will depend on your personal preference.
Want to keep a soft, feminine shape? Go for a light fabric like chiffon that can hang comfortably off the body. Something more refined and formal? Heavier fabrics like organza can add structure and help maintain the A-line’s smooth, crisp silhouette.
A high-waisted empire gown is all about Old World romance. The waist on an empire gown rests just below the bust, then flares out and flows freely. This comfortable shape gives the empire gown a more relaxed charm than many other silhouettes — without sacrificing style.
One of the best things about empire gowns is that they can either enhance or de-emphasize the bust. While a sweetheart neckline on an empire dress will flaunt your assets, a square cut across the front can help play down larger breasts without looking dowdy.
A free-flowing fabric like charmeuse in an empire silhouette can also hide a wider waists and hips, as well as make dancing and sitting much easier.
We’re not going to lie to you. Mermaid silhouettes (also called trumpet) aren’t for every body type. As a sleek, tight cut that flares at the knees, it’s not usually recommended for plus-size brides. But that long line from the bust to the flare can look fantastic if you’ve got the height to pull it off.
Just remember that the dress isn’t built with shorter, more bottom-heavy women in mind — it might end up feeling less like a dress than a sausage casing if you’re an apple body type. The siren silhouette also needs a stiffer fabric like shantung that won’t lose that sexy sweep from the hips to the hem.
“Mad Men” — unapologetically form-fitting and powerfully sexy.
In this case, thicker fabrics like blended silk are better than lightweight ones, since sheath dresses are fitted to the contours of the body with seams rather than elastic.
The plus-size fashion industry is all about hiding and disguising certain features, but there’s no reason why you have to fall victim to that mentality. Choosing a wedding dress that shows off some wicked curves can be much better than trying to de-emphasize larger hips or breasts.
Sheaths, which fit tightly against the body all the way from neckline to hem, can look fabulous on a plus-size bride (especially with the right body-shaping underwear). We’re talking about the dresses Christina Hendricks wears on “Mad Men” — unapologetically form-fitting and powerfully sexy.
In this case, thicker fabrics like blended silk are better than lightweight ones, since sheath dresses are fitted to the contours of the body with seams rather than elastic.
Take a few minutes to answer the questions below. It is best to write down and save your answers to refer to when making your action plan. Don’t sweat it if you don’t have all the answers. Answers to these questions are your personal specifications and requirements for your wedding dress wish list.
How do you describe your perfect or dream wedding dress? Can you sketch or doodle your vision?
What is your personal fashion style or do you think you don’t have one?
What is your body shape ?
What is your max budget or range?
How much time do you have or can realistically invest in your search?
Where is your wedding location? Any geographical or atmospherical significance you need to plan around?
What is your wedding date and what season does it fall in?
What cultural traditions are important to you or what do others expect from you?
Are you trying to match the style of your wedding dress to a pre-set venue or something you have inherited from a loved one?
Are you looking for one, two or more wedding dresses each with different requirements?
Read wedding dress blogs
google images search for wedding dress
buy a bridal magazine
talk to just-married friends
With your wedding dress wish list in hand you can then move on to planning your plan of action or approach for your wedding dress search. I’ve listed a number of questions and answers that can prepare you in your strive.
Where to buy a wedding dress?
from wedding dress shops
trustable online wedding dress shops
from a friend or a family member
from a super talented tailor/designer who can make your custom wedding dresses
When to start shopping?
There is no right time formula but preferably after your engagement and with a minimum 6 month lead time before the wedding day if you are planning to buy a designer wedding dress.
How to identify which wedding dress styles look and fit you the best?
The style that will look and fit you best is a style that you fancy and a style that can highlight all the assets of your body shape perfectly.
Have you considered custom-made wedding dresses?
this is a great option for those brides who have a special nontraditional design wish.
custom-made wedding dresses can also save you money compared to buying a haute couture designer wedding dress
unique-body shaped, Petite and Plus-size brides, who are in between, above or below average sizes available in the wedding dress market, can take advantage of this option since custom-made wedding dresses are cut and made to the unique size, body shape and wishes of each individual bride.
Is your dress size available in the standardized sizing of the wedding dress market?
if the answer is no, and you have enough time before the wedding day, you might consider gaining or losing weight
you can take the custom-made wedding dresses option.
Who to select as your trusted entourage in trying on wedding dresses?
Maximum 2 people: your maid of honor and your mom or a family member who can serve as objective advisers and respect your opinion and choice.
How many wedding dresses should you try on?
not a hundred or close to this number. Trying on too many will only confuse you and not bring you any results. Remember you have a limited time.
after or before trying on a maximum of 20 or so wedding dresses you will know if not at first which one is your wedding dress.
What to take with you to your dress fitting appointments?
shoes with the length of heels you imagine yourself wearing on your wedding day
nude tights to keep you covered while switching easily in and out dresses.
strapless bra or solo pads
your wish list for a wedding dress
How to stick to your budget and to account for extra costs?
before trying on any dress, let the sales person or your credit card know what your fixed maximum budget is including extra alteration costs. You know you will have to customize that perfect wedding dress to fit your body shape.
don’t try on dresses above your total budget.
Which Body Shape Do You Have?
Finding the best wedding dress for your unique female body shape is about knowing what flatters your body best. It is about bringing attention to where you want it and minimizing it where you don’t.
Identifying your female body shape will help you by giving you a starting point in the fun, but sometimes overwhelming, wedding dress search.
Straight Body Shape
The bust and hip are basically the same size. The waist is slightly smaller than the bust and hips.
Often this is due to having a broad ribcage. With this body shape you might also tend to put on weight around the middle, as opposed to the thighs, so you are usually blessed with great legs.
Wedding dress styles that flatter this shape are:
The Sheath silhouette
Empire raised waistline
Ball Gown skirt
Mermaid skirt with a portrait or strapless neckline.
Spoon Body Shape
The hips are larger than the busts and the hips have a ‘shelf’ appearance. The waist is slightly smaller than the bust.
If you have this body shape, you would look beautiful in:
Empire raised waistline
Skirts: A-line and Ball Gown
Necklines: strapless, halter top
Hourglass Body Shape
The bust and hips are basically the same size and your waist is defined.
You could probably also have larger thighs and shorter legs, but with a slim waist. This is also a very feminine look.
This shape should wear garments constructed with smooth, soft lines and without much curve. Alternatively use straight lines with a loose unconstructed fit. This kind of loose construction provides a soft feel without creating obvious curves.
Fitted gowns show off this curvy shape well. Flattering styles include:
Skirts: A-Line, Ball gown, Mermaid
Necklines: strapless, one-shoulder, scoop
Pear Body Shape
The hips are larger than the bust and the waist gradually slopes out the hips.
Some women eventually develop the Pear Shape with age, as after child birth and then the menopause, many women add pounds and inches to their hips and thighs.
This is a very feminine shape, even if it does have challenges in dressing. It tends to be even more challenging when you are short, as the taller you are the easier it is to conceal the difference between the top and bottom halves.
Inverted Triangle Body Shape
The bust is large, the hips are narrow and the waist is not very well defined.
This body shape has a gentle, graceful outline and your clothes should follow the same soft curves. You are likely to look taller than you are, because your heaviness is at the top.
The key to dressing an Inverted Triangle body type is to balance your broader shoulders, chest and back with your narrower lower body to create more of an hourglass effect.
This is achieved by choosing clothes that add curves to your hips and bottom while creating a more defined waist. You have amazing legs so feel free to play with skirt lengths, but don’t go too short otherwise you will further a top-heavy look.
Best to wear flowing fabrics, low to medium-low necklines, a well-fitted bra and dresses that flow from the waist. This shape looks great in:
Skirts: A-line or Ball Gown, long or short
Neckline: strapless or sweetheart
Oval/Diamond Body Shape
The waist is larger than the bust and hips. The hips are narrow compared to the shoulders. The breasts are ample in size.
The waist is larger than the bust and hips. The shoulders are narrow compared to the hips. Breasts are small to medium in size.
If you have an Oval or Diamond body shape go for dresses that highlight your bust and skim down over your tummy without clinging. Look out for dresses with embellishment around the neck, colour and detail around the hem to avoid drawing attention to either end of your body.
Empire line and bias cut dresses hide your tummy
Trumpet or Mermaid skirts and wrap style dresses
A low-ish open neckline keeps eyes away from your middle
Shapeless straight / column dresses
Bows, belts and other waistline details
Let’s be realistic: Most wedding dresses aren’t made with plus-size girls in mind. Sure, there are a lot more options than there used to be, but the cut, length and embellishments of most modern gowns are designed for slimmer figures. Just because society is stuck on small doesn’t mean plus-size brides should have to settle for whatever fits.
Any bride, regardless of size, can find her ideal dress — she just has to know what to look for. To help you find the perfect plus-size gown, we’ll explain how straps and sleeves can be used to gain a slimmer silhouette and why wearing a full-skirted dress may give your body a perfect shape.
Keep reading to learn which materials can be used to help any plus-size bride enhance her figure.
1. Choose the Right Materials
If you’re a plus-size bride, it’s important to choose a material that flatters your body. Fabrics that are easily ruched (ribbed, creased, folded, pleated or laced) such as silk dupioni, satin and taffeta, look great on fuller frames because they conceal imperfections and disguise heavier areas. Stay away from beaded materials and appliquéd details as they’ll most likely end up enhancing those spots you’d prefer eyes to avoid.
2. Use What You’ve Got
You’ve got curves, so use them! Many plus-size women choose dresses with V-neck or sweetheart necklines that cover the décolleté but still call attention to their figures. Don’t be afraid to show off a little bit more if you’re comfortable doing so, but beware of plunging necklines, as they have a tendency to make you appear top-heavy and rounded.
3. Wear Straps or Sleeves
Strapless gowns may be in vogue, but most plus-size brides should beware this style, which tends to accentuate and widen shoulders and arms. Luckily, most bridal shops can add sleeves or straps to any dress, so you’re not stuck with what’s available on the showroom floor.
When selecting sleeves or straps, make sure the material doesn’t squeeze or bind your arms, shoulder or back. Avoid sleeves that start puffy and end smooth or fitted, as they have tendency to make arms look bigger. Instead, choose short capped or lacy sleeves, or a light, long-sleeved jacket that can be worn over the dress. If you’re getting married in the fall or winter months, you can opt for a classic bell-sleeved wedding dress.
4. Find the Right Skirt
Perhaps the most important aspect of any plus-size bride’s dress is the skirt. Choose a gown with a full-skirt or an A-line skirt with an empire or a dropped-waist seam that will elongate your midriff and flow away from your hips. This will give your body a curvy, smooth shape that all your female guests will envy.
5. Don’t Be Bullied
This is your wedding, your dress and, regardless of your size, you should never have to settle. Salesclerks may try to convince you to select a gown that’s less than flattering because it fits and they have it in stock, but you should hold out until you find something you really want.
Take a few friends with you to get some honest feedback and opinions, and don’t be afraid to call ahead and ask what sizes are carried in a store before you make the trek over there. Numerous bridal shops are looking for your business, so don’t give up until you find that perfect dress!
1. Mermaid (Trumpet) Silhouettes
A throwback to the 1930s, this gown style accentuates a woman’s curves, hugging her upper body and flaring at the knee.
Reinterpreted by designers, the mermaid’s tail design has been updated with lots of dimensional detailing using silk organza, tulle and lace, as well as flower motifs, crystal beading, and even flared waistline ruffles to create balance and some flirty interest.
Tulle or lace overlays on sheath or A-line dresses add interest while still displaying a diaphanous silhouette. They’re just one example of how dimensionality has become a big wedding dress trend. We’re seeing lots of sculptured accents using ruffles, fabric flowers and even feathers. Accessories are contributing to the layered look, too, with drop veils, eye-catching belts and elbow-length gloves.
3. The Simple, Sophisticated Sheath
On the other end of the spectrum is the elegant but simple sheath. Form-fitting and understated, this gown style will make you glad you spent all that time at the gym. This year it’s often paired with a strapless bodice and may be re-imagined with a layer or two of tulle that still lets the bride’s silhouette show through a gauzy cloud.
Traditionally, sheath styling can make a shorter bride look taller.
Be forewarned, if this type of gown is made from very thin fabric and without a substantial interlining, it can crush easily.
4. Capped Sleeves
Capped sleeves look chic and sophisticated on the right dress, and this year they’re set off with dimensional accents on sheaths and plenty of fabulous lace. It takes a slender frame to wear this abbreviated sleeve style successfully. If you don’t think capped sleeves are for you, don’t despair. Every sleeve length is represented by many designers, so you’re bound to find something flattering.
5. An Accentuated Waist
The drop-waist design craze of recent years is waning in favor of gowns that glory in a sculpted look that hugs your curves. If you like the fairy-tale Grace Kelly wedding gown crafted by Helen Rose in 1956, then a fitted waist is for you. You don’t have to stick with the bell-shaped skirt, though. As already mentioned, dimensional details are big in fabric flowers and swirls. You can also go with a gown that showcases creative and sometimes asymmetrical draping in the skirt.
6. Glorious Color
If white isn’t your color, you’ve picked a perfect time to look for a wedding dress. With dramatic options in nude, mauve and a passel of pastels, color is a romantic option you should consider seriously. With so much layering and sculpting going on in tulles and other fabrics, the shading options when using color for your gown are almost endless and always eye-catching.
7. Black Accents and More
Continuing a 2010’s trend, adding some basic black to your wedding ensemble could provide the touch of drama you’re looking for. From theatrical all-black gowns like Oscar de la Renta’s entry, featuring lots of ebony tulle with white butterfly accents and an elegant black drop veil that would be perfect for a candlelight ceremony, to classic white gowns with black belts, gloves, sleeves, boleros, beading or ribbons, a little or a lot of black is still a stylish choice.
Nothing shows off toned arms, straight shoulders and good posture better than a strapless gown. Asymmetrical one shoulder gowns are still appearing on designer runways, usually sporting big dimensional accents, but strapless gowns are definitely gaining in popularity.
You don’t have to be well-endowed to wear one either. If you want to accentuate the curves you don’t have, a fan shaped, strapless bodice will give you a fashion-forward, feminine silhouette that buxom beauties just can’t match.
9. Floral Accents
Nature has never been so elegant. Flower, vine and leaf motifs have been creatively woven into veils, formed into sculpted trains and silk-screened onto form-fitting sheaths to make flowers and natural elements big design draws.
Although dimensional fabric flowers are all the rage, lace — featuring flowers — is running a close second. Add some seed pearls or crystal accents for a romantic confection that’s as at home in the garden as it is in your chosen venue.
10. Short and Sassy
Quick change artists from previous seasons know the convenience of having a reception dress on hand to make dancing and entertaining more comfortable and fun. The idea of a short, perky wedding dress may have grown from that. These feminine, frothy numbers are big on style but still boast maneuverability and — usually — convenience. You can find the latest trends, like loads of tulle, strapless bodices, fitted waists and black detailing in shorter, above-the-knee gowns, too.
1. Do not stick to “Perfect”
Take a peek in your closet and thinking about what you already own that fits and flatters you, what makes you feel pretty. Your “regular” clothes can be a touchstone for finding your wedding dress. Your wedding dress shouldn’t be a costume — it should be an extra-special version of you.
Also, the word “perfect” can be dangerous; don’t try to cram every good idea you’ve ever had into one dress. That wouldn’t be a pretty dress! Pursue one strong design concept, one statement, and go with it.
2. Stick with your first image
Stick with your first image of what you wanted to look like as a bride. Don’t get too caught up in all the glitz; you don’t have to spend a fortune.
The most important thing is to wear a dress that suits your body and that you feel comfortable in; there is nothing worse than an uncomfortable bride. If you love a dress, that usually means you should buy it — don’t think about it for too long.
Bridal brain can get you confused very easily.
3. Go for “Lace-Up” back style
Lace-Up back style looks more elegant and romantic. The big reason we recommend lace-up style than other style is because it reduces the size error.
Length and Side are main part that the size matters with. And it costs most expensive for alterations if it needs to be adjusted. Zipper and button style have less flexibility to adjust the size of side and bust. Lace-Up style has lot more room to adjust the size with no alterations.
4. Choose “Conscious” Design
Choose a silhouette that is flattering. It’s important to play up a bride’s assets and camouflage any challenging areas. Plus, a gown should never overpower the wearer.
5. Get “Luxurious Construction”
Even with more simplistic styles, the bride needs to know she is wearing something that was beautifully constructed with her in mind.
6. Consider Your “Setting”
While every bride should feel free to choose the wedding style of her dreams, her attire should also reflect the time and place of her special day. The wedding dress is definitely venue-dependent. The gown will vary greatly depending on if you are getting married in a cathedral versus on a beach or in city hall.
It is highly recommended to solidify the venue before a bride-to-be starts dress shopping.
1. Think Silhouette and Type of Style
The first thing a bride should know is what type of style she is going for on her wedding day. The dress can really set the tone and mood for the entire wedding day and should coordinate appropriately.
For example, if she is having an outdoor garden wedding, then a tea-length dress would be sweet. However, if the wedding is inside a formal hotel ballroom, then she might be better suited in a full-length gown. Of course, nothing is set in stone, and some rules are meant to be broken.
2. Try Some Before
The best thing a bride can do before shopping online is to try on some dresses in person. Get a feel for the type of style and fit that you prefer. Cap sleeves vs. strapless, or empire vs. A-line, etc.
3. Avoid Potential pitfalls
Unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers out there, so it is important to be cautious when it comes time to buying the actual wedding dress online. Use secure payment options when buying online. Never pay for a dress online with a check, wired money, money order, or cashier check.
4. Check Return Policy
It is common for sellers not to offer returns. In fact, you will find most sellers use policies like “All Sales Are Final”. In cases where a seller does have a return policy, then it is standard for them to implement a five percent restocking fee. So, no need for alarm.
5. Check Estimated Delivery Time
Count the additional days for alterations. You may have size issue. Error can be happened in measuring and production. Your body even may be changed. Count the case of remake.
6. Avoid Chinese Online Store
First, you cannot return. Return shipping cost is almost same as your purchase price. Second, unless you are lucky, you will be disappointed as soon as you open the delivered package. Quality and style is not guaranteed, especially if the price is extremely cheap. Third, alterations cost is all on you. Four, communication is another issue.
If you do not receive your order until your event day is around the corner, you will be nervous.
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