With the notion that all eyes will be on you in a few months time, the delicate moment in your life of looking for wedding dresses, is not the time to also be dealing with body image issues.
Although finding your wedding dress is one of the highlights for Brides-to-be, it can also bring up a fair amount of dread for those of us who are not 100% confident with their appearance – and even for those who are.
Of course, lifestyle improvements are never bad idea, but the imagined need for body perfection leaves many of us struggling to feel satisfied with our bodies.
If you don’t want to spend your engagement battling with self-transformation obligations, there are ways to make your dress boost your body image instead, that doesn’t require a personal trainer and a butt lift!
This is a fairly text-heavy article, as there are a several components to dress design which are influential. We marked out key words as well as writing a re-cap at the end. Read through for detailed information, or just scroll to the pretty pictures!
Below are tricks which will bring out the best of your figure so you can have the confidence of an Oscar winner when you walk down the aisle. Because you deserve it, no matter what your shape is.
Choose the right wedding dress silhouette
First and most fundamental task is to find the silhouette that complement your figure and feels comfortable to wear.
You may adore a certain gown in the magazine, but not in all cases will it make the best out of your body. Fitted silhouettes can be unforgiving, so work with our guide below and the bridal consultant to find you the most gorgeous dress shape, which ultimately make you feel the most gorgeous.
Whatever you do, avoid trying to find a dress to hide in. You should never hide, especially not on your wedding day!
If you hide behind bulk, it could make it seem like there is something there when there isn’t – you don’t want to give the impression that there is more volume that you actually have!
If you want a more forgiving effect of a fitted gown, a great option is the Trumpet or Fit and flare silhouettes which will hug you down to the hip or just below and flare in a smooth curve.
A fit and flare silhouette with from below the hips, is going to be much more lengthening than a mermaid with a flare from the knees.
Choose a dress with soft and gradual expansion rather than one that is fitted with a wide pouf, which might give you a shortening effect. Always opt for a gradual, smooth expansion if you want to seem taller and skinnier.
A-line and Fit and Flare silhouettes fit most body types, but the most important rule is: If you don’t feel happy in the dress – take it off immediately!
2. Add slimming design tricks
When you have a dress shape that works for you, now you can add the other design options to emphasize your best features . You can combine further slimming tricks in the neckline, sleeves, fabric and details to make it truly the perfect dress for you as well as subtly disguise problem areas, if any.
A corset can work like magic as it will give you a better posture, smooth the surface of your torso, and hold you in all the right areas. They are not as uncomfortable as they used to be and could even be a stunning design feature.
A note on strapless…
Strapless wedding dresses have been extremely popular but it is unfortunately a hard look to pull off in reality. A strapless bodice can make top-heavy women spill out, skinny brides end up with armpit rolls and tall women look lanky.
A strapless gown can cause you to constantly have to pull the dress up, which is not an attractive look. If it is too tight, you’ll feel restricted to have as much fun as you should when letting loose on the dance floor. If it is too loose, you’ll be seen tugging at your dress throughout your wedding day.
If you plan to go for a strapless bodice, make sure that you don’t get folding over skin when it fits tight enough for it to stay up.
Visual back fat, a pushed up bust and wobbly décolletage is not going to flatter anyone, even tough you managed to squeeze in a size at your waist.
If you feel like you are in the risk zone but still want the look, choose an illusion overlay or some variation of straps.
A gorgeous sleeveless or halter dress is far more forgiving comfortable too. Thin spaghetti straps will give the same look as strapless, add support and ensure you don’t need to wear the bodice so tightly.
The dress should reflect your personal style, make you feel confident and beautiful.
3. Create a waist
Wearing a dress that emphasizes your shoulders and your hips is the simplest way to create a waist. A cap-sleeve, short sleeve, boat neck and off the shoulder design will draw attention across the shoulder, making the waist look narrower. Combine with a A-line or ball gown silhouette will enhance that effect.
The empire waist line is great if you don’t have a well defined waist, or if your waist is larger than your chest. Other Brides might find that the empire line makes them look stockier or childlike.
Plus size Brides will benefit from an empire dress as it hugs them in at the thinnest part of their torso, just above the natural waist, which will give the appearance of a slimmer waist.
4. Wear the right belt
If you intend to wear a belt do think it through first, as some designs will have the opposite effect.
A well-known instant slimming fix is to draw attention to the part of your waist that is thinnest, but be sure to find the right width: a very skinny belt can make your body look bigger. If the belt is too wide you risk drawing emphasis to a big waist or a short torso. 1-3 inches is the sweet spot. Factor in your height and waist-shoulder-hips proportions when choosing a belt: if you are tall, the width of your belt should increase.
Place the belt higher up if you want to shrink your torso, lower down if you want to seem taller, at the skinniest point to create an hour glass shape.
A partial adornment on your belt or a strategically placed embellishment or lace detail on the dress itself can also give a shrinking effect. Avoid bling and reflection all across the stomach if you want to give the illusion of a narrower waist.
A belt can help to accentuate and create a slimmer appearing waist if worn the right way. Strategically placed details in one part focuses the eye there and is more forgiving than distributing the sparkle all across the waist.
5. Choose neckline and sleeves according to bust and shoulders
V or sweetheart necklines designs are good for slimming as they draw the eye down to your waist from your bust.
If you have a large bust:
Scoop neckline is the most flattering design for a large bust.
High necklines should be avoided if you are busty – your optimum depth is just above your cleavage.
Sweetheart neckline can make a large bust seem even larger, so rather opt for a straight across or just a gentle sweetheart
Combining straps + V-neck draws the eye to the face and the waist as opposed to across = lengthening lines that makes you slimmer.
Hold back on showing a deep cleavage if you are blessed with a big bust.
Sweetheart, Scoop Neck, V-neck and Square Neck will showcase your décolletage and collarbones, which is the most alluring and feminine part of you. These necklines will give you a better curvature, which draws attention downwards to your waist.
A sleeveless dress with a deep V-neckline will create a diagonal line from your shoulder down to you waist, detracting the eye to your slimmer parts.
To minimize your torso, focus on the middle of it.
A rounded scoop neck line is the best for a large bust. The short sleeve mermaid shape is a good design for creating an hourglass silhouette
6. Hold back on too much drama
Give all-over embellishments a miss and wear them judiciously, placing them away from areas you want to conceal.
As big patterns can make you seem bigger, avoid large lace flowers or large format patterns. Although super pretty, 3D detail such as ruffles and flower texture can add unnecessary volume. However, using detail cleverly can distract away attention from problem areas, so for example to deter away from a big midsection, place detail on the arms, skirt or the neckline.
Sculptural designs on the top half such as cowl necks can have an enlarging effect on a large torso, details which make your chest seem bigger. This may however be an advantage if your aim is to create a tiny waist.
If you want drama, use the silhouette as your playground. A ball gown or mermaid gown can help to create curves or to hide problem areas.
The right amount of detail on a classic silhouette is ultra-flattering for all body types
7. Fabric matters
Choose non-glossy wedding dress fabrics, which doesn’t reflect a lot of light from your body. Smooth and thin fabrics such as silk satin tends to cling. To look skinnier, choose soft but denser fabrics with more structure and less sheen. Choose fabrics that support with a little but not too much stretch in them.
A structured fabric such as silk mikado with only a soft sheen gives support and hides imperfections. The straight neckline is perfect for Brides with a small bust. The pleated ball gown emphasizes the female shape and the corset is supporting the midsection
8. Think vertically for elongating effects
If you want to appear taller and slenderer, think in vertical terms.
Princess dress has a pattern which is sewn from top to bottom of your body, creating a lengthening visual effect. If these seams are visible, the dress will have elongating panels that will give you a slimming effect.
A dress with pleating will give you vertical lines.
Vertical lines created with draping give a slimming effect. The placement is significant: choose diagonal and vertical lines and avoid horizontal.
A dress where the bodice and skirt is the same colour and material is preferable to a dress with two different halves.The illusion of two separate garments has a tendency to cut you in half, making you seem shorter. A consistent design will make the eye flow vertically without interruption.
Choose straps: having your dress starting from the shoulder as opposed to the bust will make your body longer.
A wrap dress with a deep neck line and a high-slit is flattering for all body types, and slimming as it creates a line through the center of your whole body resulting in a smaller torso and longer legs.
Vertical lines such as those created with ruching, pleats and a thigh slit is elongating on a shorter body frame. The V-neck, diagonal lines on the bodice as well as the belt help to create a narrow waist.
8. Choose the best sleeve for your arms and torso
Off the shoulder sleeve, butterfly sleeve and bishop sleeve can subtly disguise, as well as distracting the eye away from another problem area.
Short sleeve, cap sleeve and 3/4 sleeve may prove problematic if you have broad shoulders, but remember that these can always be balanced out with the right neckline.
Avoid solid long sleeved dresses if you want your arms to seem smaller. It might seem counter intuitive, but solid white fabric on the arms might make your torso appear bigger and the arms broader. Rather opt for no sleeves with a thicker strap, a strap with cap sleeve, or 3/4 sleeves that will give focus to the wrists and shoulders, slimming the arms and waist.
Bell sleeves flaring from the elbow will make the top of your arms look skinnier and draw attention down from a big torso.
If you go for sleeves, choose a lightly patterned material such as lace or embroidered tulle, and consider a butterfly sleeve which will give you a dreamy and whimsical wedding look. A non-fitted sleeve in a semi-sheer will disguise large upper arms.
Tip: Look for a dress that has everything else you wish for, but leave the straps and sleeves out of the equation when deciding. Why? Because most wedding dress designers / bridal salon will have a seamstress who can in most cases add on a strap and sleeve you want later on. This will give you a lot more options during your search.
9. Make sure the tailoring is 100%
The most flattering design is one that fits your body with no folds, creases or tightness in the fabric. The right tailoring is therefore essential.
Never, ever buy a dress too small because you are planning to lose weight.
Your goal may be to shed pounds before your wedding day, but remember that it is always possible to take a dress in, and almost impossible to make it bigger. Fit now, adjust later. The last thing you want is to be unable to breathe comfortably on your wedding day, or risk the dress splitting!
At your fittings, communicate with the person doing the alterations thoroughly about how the dress fits and feels when you are wearing it. The dress should lightly hug your form without squeezing. If it is too tight, it might tear when your husband lifts you for the photos, if it is too loose, the sleeve might slide off your shoulders in your first dance.
The bodice should not feel tight – not only will it make you look and feel uncomfortable, it also creates fleshy rolls.
If you feel squeezed in, the tailoring is not right and you will most probably look it too.
Which ever your style is, make sure your wedding dress fits you perfectly at every seam. Bear this in mind when ordering online – prepare to having to adjust the fit at a local seamstress
The guide provided is for you to get a good starting point, as trying on lots of dresses that don’t complement can be discouraging.
Whilst following all our clever skinny dress hacks, make sure to always get the dress which is uniquely “you” and that you love wearing. This is the most important thing, above all!
Find a dress which is comfortable and suits your vision. The right design will highlight the person wearing it, as opposed to the body. How you feel when moving in it, is a source confidence which shows in your facial expression. If you don’t feel good in the dress, it is not the right dress no matter what the rule book says.
It is your joy when wearing the dress which takes the attention from any flaws and will showcase the real beauty of you.