Finding the Gown that Makes the Most of You

(Image via The Breathtaking Bride)

Shopping for a wedding gown can be one of the most exciting, and one of the most frustrating parts of planning a wedding.

It’s exciting because you’re getting to play dress up with wildly luxurious dresses, the like of which you will probably never wear again. It’s exciting because finding that just right dress makes the whole thing seem real for the first time to a lot of women. It’s exciting because salons pamper brides.

It’s frustrating because it’s rare that a bride has the budget for the really spectacular gowns. It’s frustrating because sometimes it’s hard to know which gown to pick… especially when choosing between gowns that look an awful lot alike. It’s frustrating because everyone you bring with you has an opinion, and sometimes it’s the polar opposite of yours, which leads to second-guessing and fear of making a bad decision.

And then there are those oh-so-helpful guides to choosing the right gown for your figure flaws.

My advice? Ignore them! Forget they exist!

In the first place, your body is not a problem to be solved. It’s a fabulous piece of natural machinery and one that was involved in making someone else fall in love. Your intended and your family and your friends – if they’re doing it right – see your physical beauty as well as your more inner beauty. On your wedding day, they’ll see how happily you glow, how much joy you’re feeling. They’ll see how radiant you are and appreciate that no matter what the packaging looks like.

In the second place, these guides all seem to assume that you have one single figure issue and you want to hide it. These guides tell you what to do if you’re short, and they tell you what to do if you’re pear-shaped… but they assume that short women by definition aren’t pear-shaped and give conflicting advice. And assuming the one, burning desire of all short brides is to look taller… well, some women love to emphasize something that is not conventionally appreciated. I’ve known many a short woman – myself included – who has no interest in appearing taller, and several who deliberately emphasize their petite stature.

Speaking of that conflicting advice, take a look at this guide to choosing the best wedding gown for your figure. Apparently, the single least likely to look good feature on any gown for any bride is… sleeves. Ditching sleeves makes you look taller, keeps your hourglass figure proportional, both increases and decreases your bust visually… oh, except that every single bride in the world looks great in cap sleeves. And heavy brides need sleeves to keep from showing the world our humongous hammy arms. I know a lot of women who consider cap sleeves the bane of the fashion world. And I know plenty of my fellow fats who defend their right to bare arms.

In the third place, these guides ignore something vital: personality. According to every style guide I’ve ever seen for short women, I need to ditch any large, dramatic features or accessories. My tiny frame cannot handle them, you see. But even when I weighed a hundred pounds soaking wet, the fastest way to make me disappear straight into the wallpaper was to take away my drama. Big accessories, bright colors, and a willingness to go for broke in fashion terms have always made me the center of attention.

By the same token. I’ve known women who the style guides would have told to layer on drama, but who looked ridiculous if they took that advice. Their personalities made them better suited to dainty accessories, pastels, and simple cuts.

You know who you are better than a salon consultant who met you two minutes ago. Be clear with her about your personal style and your priorities. Give her the best snapshot idea you can of who she’s dressing before she goes to pull gowns.

After all, you don’t want the most important dress of your life to be all about covering something up: you want it to display the best of you in the best possible way.

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