While you may have envisioned your dream wedding dress for as long as you can remember, when it comes to actually shopping for the special gown, how do you pick the right wedding dress that will fit and flatter your body type? We consulted Kleinfeld Fashion Director, Terry Hall, who served up expert tips on finding the right dress for you.
While many brides-to-be can’t wait to begin the hunt for their special dress, the truth of the matter is that sifting through all the lace, trains and tulle isn’t always easy — in fact, it can become quite overwhelming! So, how do you take the guesswork out of finding your wedding dress? We chatted with Terry Hall, Fashion Director at Kleinfeld Bridal, who served up expert tips for finding the right wedding dress for your body type — and why it’s so important to keep an open mind throughout the selection process!
Many girls may have pictured their dream dress ever since they were a little girl, but that vision isn’t always a realistic one — and that’s reflected in Terry’s number one piece of advice to brides. “Stay open minded! Almost every bride ends up choosing a dress that is completely different than what she envisioned, and that’s ok! It’s not until she tries on the dress and knows how she “feels” in the dress that she knows it’s HER wedding dress,” he said. “Try something out of the box, even if you think it doesn’t look great on the hanger…you may be pleasantly surprised!”
Before we break down the body types, let’s talk expert tips — what should every bride bring with her when she goes wedding dress shopping?
“Besides an open mind, a realistic budget is crucial. Gowns vary greatly in price so make sure your budget is inclusive of any potential additional fees. For example, any changes the bride may want can range in price from $50 up to $1,000’s. Almost every bride wants to make some additional change to her dress, even if it’s just adding covered buttons or extending the train. Also, if the wedding is less than 6 months away, a rush fee may be necessary. Lastly, alterations are so important! Every dress needs and deserves proper and precise alterations, no matter if it’s an off-the-rack sample or custom creation. Remember, an inexpensive dress can look like it just came off the runway with perfect alterations and vice versa,” Terry said.
Let’s talk trends — what are the hot bridal trends right now?
“Though the fit-and-flare is still the number one silhouette and sexy is still in, I am seeing a movement toward a softer, more delicate look,” Terry said. “We are still having a bit of a Bohemian and romantic moment at the same time, though I am seeing a lighter and more diaphanous look overall. This season it’s still important for almost every gown to have back detail, but I think we are going to see much softer laces and tone-on-tone beading in October Bridal Market.”
Best silhouette for a bride with a smaller bust:
“Demi cups can be a bride’s best friend if she has a smaller bust and wants to wear strapless. Otherwise, anything with a plunging V neckline is right on trend,” Terry said.
Best silhouette for an hourglass figure:
“Depending on height and proportions, hourglass figures can wear almost anything! Most silhouettes are going to look great because your body is going to bring any dress to life. That said, if the bride is shorter in stature, she may want to consider a more elongating style such as a gown with asymmetrical or vertical elements. Opting for a simple V-neckline or one shoulder rather than a strapless neckline will do the trick. Conversely, a taller bride should go strapless,” he said.
Best silhouette for a busty bride:
“Just because you are busty doesn’t mean you can’t go strapless! That said, opt for a gown that has boning or a built-in corset. Otherwise, there are many fantastic foundational undergarments on the market that will give you support. Also, make sure you have a great seamstress because the bodice must fit you like a glove. That said, if you are more comfortable with straps, do it! This is not the day to be worrying if you are going to have a wardrobe malfunction. Keep in mind that a strap can be added to almost any dress which keeps your gown selection wide open. However, do keep in mind that a low open back may not be the best style for you if your bust is o’naturale and you require a bra,” Terry said.
Best silhouette for a pear-shaped bride:
“If you are pear-shaped focus on accenting your shoulders, bust and waist. Opting for a gown that is A-line with an empire or natural waist is ideal,” he said. “Consider accessorizing with a grosgrain or embellished belt. Also, choose a dress with a very interesting bodice, whether it has rouching detail or artful beading. I would avoid texture or dimension on the skirt and opt for a clean silhouette on the bottom.”
Best silhouette for an athletic body-type:
“The truth is you could wear almost anything! That said, focus on styles that will soften your look,” Terry said. “Consider a halter if you have wide shoulders, take advantage of your firm build and don a super silky luxurious fabric that skims the body like charmeuse or crepe!”
Best silhouette for a petite bride:
“Depending on her proportions, a petite girl can wear almost anything, too. Many designers offer “hollow-to-hem” options so that the hem and proportion of dress, especially those with lace or special embellishment on the skirt, are scaled proportionately to the bride. This is true for taller brides as well. Though a sheath may be ideal, being petite doesn’t mean you can’t wear a mermaid,” he said.
Best dress for a tall bride:
“Congratulations! Almost every bride wants to be tall! If you are comfortable and confident with your height, wear whatever you want…you will look amazing,” he said. “That said, if you don’t want to draw attention to your height opt for a strapless gown, possibly one that has differing fabric or design, from the bodice to the skirt. An example would be a strapless gown with a lace top and crepe, organza or satin skirt.”
Best silhouette for an apple shape:
“When a bride is apple-shaped opt for a corset or lace-up back. She really wants to create definition around her waist and a lace-up corset does just that! I would chose a sturdier fabric that is rouched for the most support like satin or taffeta. It’s such a beautiful moment when I put these brides in a gown and see their face light up when they catch the first glimpse of themselves in the mirror,” he said.
Best dress for a plus-size bride:
“This is my favorite bride to discuss, which is almost every bride! Most women are a ready-to-wear size 12 and up, which in bridal sizing is size 16 and up. Personally, I don’t distinguish any difference in brides of varying dress sizes…they are brides and want to wear everything we have discussed above according to silhouette. I have put size 16 brides in strapless lace sheaths and brides size 22 in rouched mermaids and they all looked amazing! This year, I diversified the sample size selection at Kleinfeld so that every bride in every shape from size 0-30 can find her dream dress. All brides, regardless of size, want to wear all silhouettes and styles at all price points — and they should!”