Apart from marrying the love of your life, there are few things during your wedding planning that elicit as much anticipation as finding your dream dress. Here are some tips for plus-size brides.
“It is important for each woman to find the right dress, so they are comfortable on the day and they can enjoy themselves without worrying,” says Michelle Beresford, owner of Empire Bridal in Beaconsfield, Melbourne.
“Remember – this dress will be in all your photos, so finding the right dress contributes to your happy memories when looking back through all your photos.”
Traipsing around to dozens of dress stores, dealing with cramped change rooms and googling every dress shop possible during your search is exhausting as it is, but for curvier women, it can be even more challenging, when the market doesn’t always cater to a wide range of sizes.
It’s particularly discouraging when sample bridal gowns are often only available in small sizes, for example, says Michelle, who will be introducing a range of on-trend plus-size gowns into her store in December.
“I love working with brides and helping them find their dream dress, it is such an exciting and happy time for a bride and it is a privilege to be involved. My role is to essentially help each bride navigate through the endless options of bridal gowns and make the process stress-free and enjoyable.”
In Michelle’s experience, regardless of what size her clients are, they all have the challenge of finding a great dress that suits their body shape and shows off their best assets. She doesn’t view her plus-size clients any differently, as they all come in different shapes like any other woman – some may have smaller busts, others may be more well-endowed, for example.
The most important thing is to communicate with your stylist and let her help you out, says Michelle.
“Brides can often feel overwhelmed by all the choices, so don’t be afraid to talk to the stylist and let him or her know what you are thinking,” she suggests. “It helps when brides let us know which parts of the dresses they do and don’t like. That way we can work together to find the perfect gown for you.”
Here are Michelle’s top five tips for finding the perfect dress for plus-size ladies.
Keep an open mind
By all means, hit up Pinterest to seek inspiration and create moodboards for the kind of dress that you’re looking for. However, it’s also a good idea to try other styles you may not have previously considered, advises Michelle. After all, it can be hard to figure out what a dress on a hanger might look like on you until you give it a go. You never know – you might just come away from the store pleasantly surprised.
However, an A-line style is universally flattering on all body shapes, says Michelle.
“It’s the most popular choice for plus size brides, as the bodice acts as the tummy-shaper to create a waistline and then the skirt gently falls away from the hip,” she explains.
“In December, we’ll be bringing in Dale, Danice and Darcy from the Peter Trends range. They all work really well for plus-sized brides as they have a couture-fit bodice to give great shape and support. The sweetheart or V-neck necklines work well as these shapes minimise the bust and elongates the neck and the soft and flowy chiffon fabric of the A-line skirts, fall beautifully from the hip.”
Strap yourself in
Looking to create a slim waistline? Corsets are a sexy option that can help bring your waist in and give you alluring curves in all the right places, says Michelle. They’re also a great way to help give you some structure and hide your tummy, as well as give you some lift to your bust area.
Just make sure you haven’t laced yourself in so tightly that you can’t breathe when you walk down the aisle.
Consider the fabrics
Consider a variety of fabrics that best suit your shape. According to Michelle, plus-size brides should keep their eye out for soft, flowy fabrics like chiffon.
However, thicker fabrics can also offer some support and structure, creating a more streamlined silhouette, such as taffeta and sturdy satin, which is generally flattering for all body shapes. It’s probably best to avoid shiny, heavily-beaded bodices and appliques, which can highlight areas you may want to draw attention away from.
Shapewear is your friend
From Kim Kardashian to Jennifer Lopez and Katy Perry, any celebrity worth her stilettos knows the secret to looking fabulous on the red carpet lies in shapewear.
You could be wearing the most gorgeous dress in the world, but if the foundations underneath it are all wrong, it will ruin the overall look. And who are we to are we to argue with JLo?
“We recommend purchasing body shape wear for the tummy region and bringing it with you to the appointment,” advises Michelle. “It really helps the dress skim down over the stomach and creates a beautiful smooth line. Don’t worry about finding the right bra before the dress, as you won’t know what neckline your dress will be.”
These days, there’s a wide range of shapewear for you to choose from and technology has advanced in leaps and bounds, so whether you’d like your tummy tucked in or your thighs sucked in, there will be something for you within your price range at the shops.
Toss the rulebook
At the end of the day, it’s important for you to select a dress that makes you feel fabulous, regardless of any rules. Whether it’s long or short, fitted or floaty, who cares what anyone else thinks?
“Choose a gown that you love. When it’s time to make the decision, remember it’s your day,” advises Michelle.