Finding a Wedding Dress for Your Body Shape

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Yes! You are engaged, and now it’s your time for your all eyes on you, Say Yes to the Dress wedding gown shopping moment.  Yes, it’s totally an exciting thrill, but  with wedding gowns more fashion forward than ever,  dress shopping can be both daunting and frustrating.  Sometimes the wedding dresses you’ve loved on models in magazines and on blogs just don’t look the way you’d imagine them to on you.  The real trick to happy wedding dress shopping is less about your entourage that comes with you (though that can be fun), and more about staying open to silhouettes and styles until you see what works best on your body type.

So, in a sea of wedding gowns, where is a Bride to be to start wading in?  We’ve tapped two style experts to weigh in on the best bridal silhouettes for every shape  and weigh in on designers to watch for each and every body type.

If you have an hourglass figure…

“Consider a corseted or fitted bodice and curve hugging skirts.” Says Mark Ingram of his world renowned eponymous Atelier.  “ Most gowns that show the curve of the waist will be flattering. I am particularly thinking of designers Inbal Dror and Monique Lhuillier. Slim bias cut satin and charmeuse silhouettes are especially attractive on a well proportioned hour glass figure. Johanna Johnson and Jenny Packham designs are great for these brides who wish to show off well proportioned curves.”

A shorter torso…

Jackie Weppner, owner of Styling firm and bridal accessory line, Merci New York advises brides with shorter torsos to “Look for a drop waist to provide the illusion of an elongated torso.  Steer clear of ballgowns that graduate at the natural waist to avoid looking like a cupcake!  Ann Barge has beautiful drop waisted ball gowns.”  While Mark adds “A bride with a short torso should avoid high-covered up necklines.”

A more square shape…

Ingram says brides with more “square shapes” should look to gowns with structure and details.  “Architectural seaming and interesting angles will seemingly give the square shaped brides more curves. Contrast color panels, beaded belts and ribbon sashes at the waist will all create all visually create a smaller waistline. Architectural designers Angel Sanchez, Peter Langner, VWIDON and Jenny Lee are expert at achieving this.   Jackie adds that if your shoulders are square, you might “Opt to keep a flutter sleeve so the top of the dress is as fluid as the rest.  Jenny Packham does “glamour gowns” best, in my opinion!”

A pear shape…

“A-line dresses with a well-constructed bodice are a perfect fit for a pear-shaped frame,” says Weppner. “Your top half is highlighted beautifully.  Consider an a-line gown with a corseted or boned bodice; it looks stunning on a small bust.  I don’t think anyone can design an elegant, romantic corseted gown better than Monique Lhuillier!”

A Full bust…

For the full-busted bride, Mark offers this shopping advice: “Sweetheart strapless, off-the- shoulder or wide V-necklines are extremely flattering for a fuller bust. More constructed or corseted bodices for support are best. Avoiding exposed bust cups are best unless softened with lace or appliqué. Anne Barge, Liancarlo, Peter Langner, Lela Rose and Monique Lhullier design for this bride and as well are expert at ‘opening the cup’ upon request”.

Since this is an issue near and dear to my own heart, I asked Jackie for her advice as well: “While it’s not surprising news, strapless gowns can prove difficult for fuller busted women.  If you have a fuller bust, but always imagined yourself in a strapless wedding gown, ask your consultant if you can purchase an additional yard of the lace / chiffon / beaded detail from your dress to create a complimentary cap sleeve that you can add to the dress.  It helps balance your top half and also gives you a completely custom gown with very little added cost… “

Of course, rules are made to be broken, but with these tips in mind, you can head to the Bridal Salon with some starting tips to help you begin your hunt through all the various options out there.  The bottom line? The perfect wedding gown for you is the one you feel the most beautiful in.

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