Its your day and you’ll wear it if you want to

The question has been popped; the time has arrived, a time you’ve perhaps thought about often, some more often than others, and now you’re itching to get started because … and it’s all about The Dress.

Pages have been written about The Dress.  Magazines dedicated to finding the perfect one.  Even a programme advising brides that they should say yes to the dress.

However, more often than not, the most exciting purchase can prove the most challenging (believe me I know, having dedicated several months of my life to the conundrum way back in 2011, prompting me to commence this very blog page!).

To help you through the minefield, I thought I’d share a little experience, providing a modern guide to selecting The Dress:

My first pearl of wisdom to every customer, but especially brides, is to KISS the dress.  That’s, Keep It Simple, Stupid!.  Of course this advice is essential when planning any event (this pearl of wisdom was imparted a good 20 years ago in a previous life working as a PA/events manager and has stuck ever since), but is paramount for this event.  It could also be directed at your mother too, so its perhaps wise to have the discussion at the outset to avoid unnecessary quarrels!

I appreciate this may be your first, and perhaps only “red carpet” opportunity in your lifetime and the pressure to look fantastic is heaped, but don’t over complicate the style – backless looks fantastic in an airbrushed photoshoot, but even with the most skilful pattern cutting, and extra workouts at the gym, the reality can be saggy and gaping.

Backless equals bra-less... it looks fantastic in a photograph
Backless equals bra-less… it looks fantastic in a photograph

Likewise, caution should given to Strapless.  I could write a thesis on the strapless dress and why for some it should be avoided; in a nutshell if it’s secure enough so you’re not constantly tugging up, it’s going to be tight… tight equals shallow breaths and potential overhang (they airbrush that out in magazines) and it’s not infallible to slippage when you’re shaping your moves to the WYMCA to the cheesy band after several glasses of bubbly.

Strapless is elegant on the right body shape
Strapless is elegant on the right body shape

Now we’re keeping it simple, consider the following:

Do focus on your great points – hate your legs?  Avoid styles which show them off (no slinky numbers with a thigh-high split or ballerina length styles to highlight your insecurity); can’t stand your upper arms?  Look for styles with perhaps a sheer sleeve or incorporating a cover for the arms.

Be realistic – don’t except to lose half your body weight and turn in to Elle Macpherson overnight (or even at all), likewise if you’re 5’ 2” and curvy, you’re never going to be able to wear that bias-cut willowy maxi you’ve always coveted!

Do try on several styles before you make your decision – sometimes the style you least expect to suit is the one, so keep an open mind.

Do seek a wide range of influence but remember red carpet dresses (and celebrity wedding dresses) are one-off commissions costing tens of thousands of pounds with bespoke fabrics (or 10,000 woman-stitching-hours which is going bump up your costs!).  If you’re looking for a dressmaker to recreate Beyonce’s “nude” frock from a couple of years ago, you’ll possibly struggle.

Keep styles simple by selecting unusual fabrics
Keep styles simple by selecting unusual fabrics; but remember celebrities wear couture made from bespoke fabrics your dressmaker won’t be able to source

Do make a statement – especially if this isn’t your first shot at the old marriage game.  In my experience second (third or even fourth – oh yes I’ve done them all) time brides like to stamp their personality on the outfit.

Don’t break the bank – set yourself a realistic budget – you’re not going to wear it again, trust me.

Consider your budget - all over lace is lovely but can be expensive. Sometimes less is definitely more.
Consider your budget – all over lace is lovely but can be expensive. Talk to your designer as to how you can incorporate something special within your budget – remember less is often more dramatic.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be a dress.  Its your day after all.

Stamp your personality on the dress - this Sky Tartan jacket and dress was commissioned for a wedding in Sky
Stamp your personality on the dress – this Sky Tartan jacket and dress was commissioned for a wedding in Sky
Make a statement with this Linton Tweed jacket
Make a statement with this Linton Tweed jacket
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