You can still wear your perfect wedding dress even if your figure is less than perfect. Different dress silhouettes, cuts and fabrics can play up your best features while minimizing flaws. Rebecca Junnila, owner of Lauren & Company Bridals in Keene (laurenandcompany.com), offers some suggestions on dress styles that will have you looking your best on your special day.
TALL — Most bridal dresses are made for brides around 5’10”, so height can actually be an advantage. Rebecca says most styles, such as a sheath, will work for statuesque brides. “Footwear is an especially important consideration. If you decide to wear heels, you might need to check and make sure you can order the dress longer,” she says.
PETITE — If you are less than 5’4”, you will want a style to flatter your smaller figure. Junnila says you can choose just about any style, but the rule of thumb is to not have it overwhelm you. “You might still be able to wear a ball gown, just choose one with a skirt that’s less full.” Another important consideration is to take into account any embellishment on the hem which may be an issue if the skirt has to be shortened.
HOURGLASS — Play up your curves. A dress with a fitted or corset-style bodice and a Basque waist, one that comes to a point in front, will help to accentuate your body lines. If you’re in great shape, try a mermaid-style sheath that flares at the knees. Rebecca says curvy brides should, however, keep a bit of an eye on modesty. “You don’t want to look too risqué.”
PEAR-SHAPED — Rebecca says wedding dresses were made for this type of figure. “Most dresses are fitted on the top and fuller on the bottom. You might even take a smaller size.” To draw
eyes away from a fuller lower body, choose a gown with an interesting neckline such as a sweetheart or tank-style neckline. You can also try off-the-shoulder- style bodices. For brides with narrow waists, look for a drop-waisted dress to minimize the hips. Clingy styles and fabrics should probably be avoided.
FULL FIGURE — Today, many designers carry lines for fuller figures. A-line styles that skim rather than hug the body are a good choice. Princess seamed gowns, panels of fabric seamed vertically from shoulders to hem, are another option. Rebecca says not to automatically ignore a strapless dress. “Our reaction is to cover up, but by removing extra material on top, you might find you look great. Almost everyone has a pretty neck and shoulders.”
FULL BUST — Rebecca finds that high neck lines emphasize a fuller bust, as will a V-neck. “If the bride wants to wear a bra with straps, a nice scoop neck will work.” She also says that brides with an ample top need not completely cover up. “Some strapless dresses are cut conservatively and may look wonderful.” She also suggests shopping for a bra or foundation wear before choosing a dress.
UNTONED ARMS — For brides with less-than-perfect upper arms, consider an off-the-shoulder style because it can actually hide the area. Junnila says sleeves made of sheer fabrics like chiffon can give some coverage without feeling too matronly.
A-LINES ARE A+ — The A-line silhouette works well with virtually any shape.
This article appears in the December 2004 issue of New Hampshire Magazine