Post edited and shared from Josabi Mariées and Brides.com
Finding your dream wedding dress takes trial and error and plenty of patience. Chances are, the first dress you try on won’t be the one, and you may have to devote some real-time to search for it. But with so many different styles to choose from, it can sometimes be challenging to even know where to begin.
Wedding dress silhouettes: The nitty-gritty
Picture your wedding day… All your guests are seated, anxiously waiting for you, the bride, to arrive. Suddenly, you appear at the end of the aisle with the sunlight behind you… This first appearance will be very important and will be very much defined by the silhouette of your wedding dress. So which one will you choose? While we can’t answer that question for you, we can provide a list of popular silhouettes to help you decide. Several factors can determine the silhouette you choose for your wedding dress.
Flattering Wedding Styles for the Plus-Size Women...
Illustrations by Benjamin John Ellerby @ BJEart
The ball gown wedding dress shape:
"Choose a timeless ball gown that highlights the most slender area of your torso - your waist! Ball gowns are an excellent choice for pear-shaped brides as they show off your smaller upper half with plentiful fabric on the bottom. No matter your body type, a ball gown will make anyone feel like a princess."
"The line is known for its opulent, glamorous princess ball gowns (think Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress, below) and has many dresses specifically cut to flatter fuller figures,"
Image source: Bachrach from Vogue.co.uk
This Cinderella-like look is perfect for providing a fairy tale effect if that is your goal. It is characterized by a fitted bodice and a wide, full and voluminous skirt. It is perfect for cinching the waist and it is a style that was worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, Grace Kelly, Jackie O and Princess Diana on their wedding days. Ball gowns have always been extremely popular; this style is the most “classic”. It definitely gives brides wearing it a lot of real estate to play with details like beading, appliqués, fabrics and lace.
Why we love the ballgown wedding dress shape: Drama, regal, royal.
The mermaid wedding dress shape:
The mermaid is one of the sexier wedding dress styles, since it is form-fitting in the hips and bodice, flaring only right around the knee. We love it because it shows off all the curves! It gives the illusion of an hourglass figure (or accentuates it), which can be flattering for both slimmer brides, as well as curvier ones – a double-sided win, Mermaid styles are great for various wedding themes; that wedding dress silhouette works well for any bride who wants to flaunt her figure. Pro tip: add an elaborated bun and a red lip for a black-tie ceremony; pair with vintage waves for a retro theme, or opt for cascading beachy waves and a sheer train for an outside celebration.
Why we love the mermaid wedding dress shape: Dramatic, shows off the body, sexy.
What are fit and flare wedding dress shapes?
"A Fit and flare wedding gown is very similar to a mermaid dress - both options feature a curve-hugging silhouette that flares out toward the bottom of the dress. On trumpet dresses, however, the flare begins mid-thigh."
Plus-size brides who favour curve-hugging trumpet cut gowns will find their ideal look with specific attention paid to the waist and hip proportions with this style, making it ideal for fuller-figured brides.
"This ensures that the dresses are not only flattering but also comfortable."
Like the mermaid silhouette, the fit and flare are also fitted in the hips and bodice; however, the fit around the hips, derriere and thighs is a bit more forgiving than the skintight mermaid. It is perfect to give the illusion of an hourglass shape but also great to get down on the dance floor! This shape works for all kinds of themes. We suggest playing with the length and sheerness of the sleeves and the train to achieve completely different looks. The fit and flare can substitute for the mermaid for any occasion. It gives a similar effect but allows for a bit more movability.
Why we love the Fit and Flare wedding dress shape: It creates an hourglass shape, is easier to walk in than the mermaid, and is sexy.
The Difference: Fit-and-flare (trumpet) vs. Mermaid Wedding Dress
“Fit and Flare” and “Mermaid” are generally used interchangeably in the wedding dress world. Brides often use the “mermaid” term for any fitted dress that flares at the bottom, and that is also the case for most bridal stylists.
Their main difference is however that the mermaid shape is tighter through the bodice, until right above the knee. The dress then flares dramatically.
The Fit and Flare have a more gentle transition and gradually flare out (generally less dramatically) at the bottom. Its fit is more relaxed, and it hence gives some va-va-voom without being too constricting.
When considering both options, the mermaid is generally a lot sexier, as it really clings to the curves. It is hence the right choice for a sultry wedding look and lends itself well to black-tie affairs or a very trendy wedding. The fit and flare are sweeter and give a hint of sexiness with a more comfortable fit. It is well suited for more relaxed settings and lends itself super well to a variety of themes, kind of like the A-line
What is an A-line wedding dress shape?
"Anything A-line, especially if it has an empire waist, can be very flattering, especially if you want more coverage."
"Because the waist starts right under the bust line and immediately goes out into an A-line, it's an ideal silhouette for brides who want to be more discreet."
An A-line is named for the A-shape the skirt creates on the body. A cross between a ball gown and a sheath, it will flare out from the waist, but in a more subdued fashion than that of a ball gown. It is flattering for all body types and can be versatile enough to work with different wedding themes, from super glamorous to beachy. These days, some A-line dress styles feature layers of tulle with overlays of gorgeous lace. Like a ball gown, they help brides achieve a fairy tale look while providing ease of movement. Minimalistic A-line dresses are also in vogue, made out of fabrics like gazar or crepe; those may also be a preferred choice for brides who feel overwhelmed by lots of fabric, or who are more in love with clean lines.
Why we love the A-line wedding dress shape: The most versatile silhouette.
The Difference: Ballgown vs. A-line Wedding Dress
Two wedding dress silhouettes are often mixed up: the ballgown and the A-line. Both silhouettes are reminiscent of fairy tales, with their voluminous skirts.
However, the main difference between the A-line and the ball gown is that the skirt of the A-line gradually flares out from the waist, giving the skirt of the dress an A shape. Ball gown dresses, on the other hand, are fuller overall and start flaring out right at the waistline. They generally have more volume and more pleats and look more “royal”.
When considering the two options, an A-line is a bit more versatile. It can go with many different fabrics and necklines and trains of any length. Ball gown dresses will also go with any length train but when considering necklines, a fitted bodice will always be your best choice.
The formality of the wedding will also be a factor in choosing your silhouette. An A-line dress can be suitable for any type of wedding from a simple backyard setting to a grand church affair. A ball gown dress is best suited for more formal affairs.
While the A-line skirt offers more versatility, you just can’t beat the ultimate fairy tale look of the ball gown.
The sheath wedding dress shape:
"Create the illusion of height and length with a sheath gown. The uninterrupted line of the dress never fails to flatter, and, as a bonus, it's a breeze to hem. Plus, Sheath gowns feature ample structure and support."
A sheath dress hugs the body all the way to the hips and then falls straight to the floor. Sheath wedding dresses also often feature a bit of a train that falls around the feet. The sheath silhouette is an effortless look that requires less material than other dresses, making it easier for brides to move around. It is perfect for brides who don’t want to be overwhelmed by their gowns, as it offers an elegant, modern and no-fuss silhouette. Sheath wedding dresses are the perfect solution for brides who are going for a simpler look. It also suits the ones who want to show off their curves without the drama of a mermaid or a fit and flare silhouette.
Why we love the sheath wedding dress shape: Effortless, modern, minimalistic.
Wedding Dresses With a High-Low Hem:
Like a sheath gown, a wedding dress silhouette featuring a high-low hem tends to elongate the leg and stretch out the body overall. Plus, it's a rather unexpected wedding silhouette and perfect for the avant-garde bride. It adds a touch of drama and gives you modest coverage in the back while showing off your legs in the front.
Wedding Dresses With a High Neck:
Of course, you want to look amazing, but be mindful of a secretly high-maintenance dress. Even a simple silhouette that’s impeccably tailored may need to be hoisted up throughout the night if it’s not right for your body. And who wants that?! For any bride in search of fuss-free and flattering (especially those who want to be sure to avoid a wardrobe malfunction on the dance floor), a high-neck wedding dress is a stylish choice. The overall effect is layered and feminine, not to mention ultra-flattering thanks to the long, lean line the high neck creates.
"To soften the look, consider an illusion neckline."
You don't have to sacrifice comfort for style on your wedding day and designers have picked up on the modern bride’s desire to have the best of both worlds, sending a number of bridal jumpsuits down the runway. Not only is a jumpsuit more comfortable for some, but it can also be a really flattering choice. It provides shape and structure in ways that a dress can’t, accentuating your waist and highlighting your legs. If you don’t want your curves to get lost under an abundance of fabric, this could be the silhouette for you!
Wedding Dresses With an Exposed Shoulder:
As evidenced by recent styles, the combination of an exposed shoulder and a wispy sleeve is truly flattering on all body types. Not only is a cold shoulder undeniably chic, but it also provides just enough upper arm coverage for women who don’t want to bare it all while drawing attention to a specific area. And for brides who want to experiment with volume without adding bulk, a delicate ruffled drop-sleeve is a perfect, on-trend way to add interest.
More Dos and Don'ts for Plus Size Wedding Dress Shopping...
Now that you're familiar with the most flattering wedding dress styles for plus-size brides, you'll be totally ahead of the game when you go dress shopping. Here are a few more dos and don'ts to help you find the perfect gown.
Do Opt for a Size That's Too Big Rather Than Too Small
If your top is bigger than your bottom (or vice versa), strategically choose the size that fits the larger part of your body, and then have the other area tailored to fit the smaller portion. It's simpler (and less costly) for the tailor to alter the dress to be smaller where it needs to be than it is to alter it to be bigger.
Don't Be Discouraged If Your Dream Gown Isn't in Your Size
If you're shopping off the rack and it doesn't appear that the designer dress you've fallen in love with comes in your size, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Oftentimes, designers offer their dresses in sizes up to size 24 even if the store you're in doesn't carry them—you'll just have to contact the label itself. But, if it's your dream dress, this just might be a price you're willing to pay.
Do Look for Ruching
"Anything with ruching can be very forgiving, regardless of your shape or height... It also helps to add support and gives the dress more structure."
In particular, look for dresses that are ruched in an asymmetrical pattern - for instance, gathered on one side of the dress.
"That pattern brings the eyes up to the face and creates a vertical shape to the gown."
Don't Go for a Piece-Meal Gown
"Avoid gowns that look pieced together. For example, the bodice is one style and then the hip or skirt is a completely different fabric or texture. Different shapes or fabrics that don't transition smoothly can visually cut the body in unflattering ways... It doesn't mean the whole dress has to be the same fabric, but make sure each section segues fluidly and flows together."
Do Look for Asymmetrical Details Look for dresses that have asymmetrical detailing, which is not only more flattering but artistic and unique. The asymmetrical hem will draw the eye downward and create fullness at the bottom of the gown, which will balance out fullness on the upper or mid-portion of the body.
Don't Choose Flimsy Fabrics
Avoid thin fabrics such as silk charmeuse or chiffon, which just skim the body and can magnify every little detail. But other than that, feel free to go for anything. Taffeta, organza, lace, and duchess satin are all very flattering fabric choices.
Do Choose Something That Reflects Your Personality
"If there's ever a time that a bride has to wear something that she loves when it comes to fashion, it should be on her wedding day,"
Every shape, embellishment, and detail comes in plus size, so if you want to have ruffles, bows, flowers, or beading - go for it!
What wedding dress silhouette is the best for my body?
We gave you a lot of information above on different kinds of wedding dresses. Now how to choose, and which ones would be the best one for you?
The silhouette of your wedding dress will make quite an impact on your special day. Which will you choose to make your day extra special?
Wedding Dresses for Plus Size Brides
So, we pretty much made this whole section to highlight that bodies should not be defined by their size.
First of all plus size is NOT a body type, and it is important for us to mention it. The fashion industry categorizes as “Plus Size” anyone above a Size 16/18… which really, only tells us about their size, and not the way their body looks.
Our wish is to live in a world where women of all sizes can wear whatever they want and are not limited in their choices by their measurements. That is not our current reality, and even A-listers suffer from this sizeist approach. Many fashion designers used to think that a curvy woman “shouldn’t wear something that is tight and fitted”. Huh? In all actuality, curves showcase the beauty of the design of any gown.
Another antiquated belief: years ago, many designers just didn’t think that a low-back wedding gown for a plus-size bride was possible. (Not that they couldn’t make them, but those plus-size brides wouldn’t wear them). We are so thankful that times have changed.
Therefore, when it comes to curves, we say: do what you want and wear what you want but make sure to get your dress from a trusted source. We celebrate your curves and think that no stye should be off-limits due to your measurements. We urge you to not let your street size determine your style but to instead look above, identify your body type, and go from there to identify the style of your dreams. You got this.
Try on: Any style you feel comfortable in. Slay!
Text taken as an extract from a post edited and shared from Josabi Mariées and Brides.com
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