When it comes to choosing your wedding dress, there’s more than just the colour to consider. Here’s how to choose a dress that will complement your shape and personal style, from couture and designer gowns to buying off-the-peg or even second hand.
Your wedding day is a chance to look and feel your absolute best so go for gold and get a dress you truly love whether it’s made to measure or fashionably ‘preloved’. A couture dress is designed specifically for you and made to measure, or can be made for you from a style you have chosen from a designer’s collection. With couture you can expect first class attention to detail and service and you should expect to pay more. Designer or manufactured dresses are usually ordered for you in your size and then altered to fit, while off‐the‐peg dresses can quite literally be bought straight off the peg in department stores or bridal boutiques. Preloved or second hand gowns are currently all the rage and certainly a cheaper option. An original vintage gown is perfect for a vintage style wedding.
The style of your wedding dress will reflect who you are in some way, whether you’re traditional in your taste or more bohemian. If you’re a classic English rose who loves feminine dresses and always wears heels then try on traditional, full‐skirted styles and slinky vintage numbers whereas if you’re a grungy tomboy type who tends to sport a mini skirt more than any other type of dress then perhaps your style will be more contemporary – a short 1920s wedding dress or a looser 1970s halterneck could be more ‘you’. Rebels who like to break the rules should consider coloured or short‐skirted bridal gowns. Red dresses make a real statement.
It helps to know which dress styles and necklines will be most flattering to your body shape, whether you are petite or tall, flat‐chested, big busted or plus size. Whatever shape you are, the right dress will make you look and feel amazing. The main aspects to consider when choosing your ideal dress are:
the neckline – does it flatter your body shape and enhance your bust?
the material – does it cling unforgivingly to every lump or skim your line to perfection?
the length – does it elongate you if you are on the short side or serve to make the most of your elegant stature if you’re tall?
the skirt shape – does it fall elegantly to the floor, giving the illusion of perfectly curvaceous hips or accentuate heavy thighs and hips?
the colour – does it lift your skin tone or drain you of colour?
the detail – do you want to sparkle with beading or is your dress so heavily embroidered and busy it’s wearing you?
Try Before You Buy
Trying on wedding dresses is a special day out to enjoy with your best friend, mum, sister or all three. Try on as many different styles as you can to give you a better idea of what you like and what you feel most comfortable in. Sleep on a decision rather than buying spontaneously, as you may find yourself getting carried away with the moment and then later change your mind. Although if you’re travelling a long distance to dress shops it’s a good idea to try dresses on in the morning and then break for lunch to mull over how you felt about each dress and then perhaps go back and buy one after lunch. It is said that you will just know when you have found ‘the one’, so go with your instincts and remember that whatever you choose, all brides are beautiful on their wedding day. And loved.
Find more wedding dresses in our supplier directory and wedding dress inspiration in Dresses and Style.
Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.