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.
But you don’t need worry – we will go through every slimming dress secret and how to overcome problem areas in this post!
Updated 22 January 2021
Of course, lifestyle improvements are never a 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 that won’t require a personal trainer and a butt lift!
Which wedding dress silhouette is right for you?
First and most fundamental task is to find the silhouette which makes you feel beautiful and feels harmonious to wear. See this is as your first wedding dress goal, as trying too many dresses that don’t flatter can be discouraging.
You may have spotted a potential gown that looks great on Instagram, but before raising too much expectation make sure it definitely makes you feel great too. Some silhouettes can be unforgiving, so first read up on silhouettes for your body type and then work with the bridal consultant to find you the silhouette that makes you feel the most gorgeous.
If you are set on a fitted silhouette but are not feeling 100% confident in a mermaid, a Trumpet silhouette will hug and flare from the top of your thighs, and the Fit and Flare from the middle of the thighs. These silhouettes are more forgiving than a mermaid which is fitted at the knees. It will be much easier to move around comfortably too!
If you want drama, use the silhouette. A full skirt such as the ball gowns, or a fitted profile with a dramatic skirt will create a slimmer profile at the top.
You won’t need to hide away in your dress. For example: just because your hips are fuller, doesn’t imply you are destined to wear an Aline or ballgown. You can harmonize the hip area in a fitted gown with a dress that draws attention to the top of the dress, and this post is full with everything you need to know about this!
And please remember that you are not confined to any one silhouette just because you have x body shape. This is only to get a start-off point. If you discover something unexpected that you love, then go for it! If you feel happy in the dress, you will look amazing too. There are ways to boost your body-confidence in any silhouette!
Add slimming design tricks to your wedding dress
When you establish a dress shape that works for you, consider which details emphasize your best features. By using some design secrets you can achieve slimming effects in the neckline, sleeves, fabric and details to make it a dress that highlights and showcases your uniqueness and natural beauty, regardless of shape.
A fundamental part of this is to look at the visual effects that appear in the dress. These can be found in the neckline, the fabric, seams and sleeves. What you want to look for are details that seem to draw vertical or diagonal movements that guide the eye, and avoid horizontal lines. Why? Vertical lines will lengthen and concentrate attention in the center body and thus slim. The diagonal will lead the eye up and down as opposed to across the body. Try to steer away from horizontal effects that draw the eye straight across from side to side.
Example of vertical lines: a halterneck gown, plunging neckline, illusion details, corsetry, vertical seam lines, panels, pleats, and also the direction of lace and couture finishes.
Diagonal lines could be: one shoulder sleeve, V-neck, asymmetric details, ruching, wrap dresses or wrap neckline.
But instead of trying to remember every single detail of whats “right or wrong” just be assured that the best dress will be the one that makes you feel proud of your best features, and will not bring up concerns about what you are less proud of – this is the dress that complements your figure and lets your awesome personality radiate too.
Recommend read: PLUS SIZE WEDDING DRESS TIPS
Slimming the upper body
A corset bodice can magically give you better posture, smooth the contours, and firm. They are not as uncomfortable as they used to be, especially not when tailored to your exact measurements.
The V neck and plunging necklines are great for slimming the chest as they draw the eye down to your waist from your bust. Look for a bodice design that creates a horizontal or diagonal line between shoulder and waist, which lengthens and draws the eye to your slimmest parts.
The added effect of straps or short sleeves draws the eye to the face, shoulder and the waist.
A sweetheart, Scoop Neck, V-neck and Square Neck will showcase your decolletage and collarbones, which is the most alluring and feminine part of you. These necklines will give you a slimmer waist and accentuate a lovely hourglass figure. A square neck or scoop is extremely in vouge right now, which is an added bonus!
Coming back to the corset bodice – visible boning that create separate panels are brilliant for creating a smaller upper body and perfect for giving structure as well. Add dreamy balloon sleeves and a belt for extra effect.
Recommend read: FIND THE PERFECT NECKLINE
Dress for a smaller waist
A dress which emphasizes your shoulders and hips is the simplest way to create a waist. Examples are cap-sleeve, short sleeve, boat neck and off the shoulder sleeves which draw attention across the shoulder.
Combine with a skirt that highlight your hips to enhance this effect.
An empire waist is good if your waist is not well defined, or if your waist is larger than your chest.
Plus size brides could benefit from an empire dress if it hugs your slimmest place.
Wedding dresses with a cut out detail at the side will also give you an instant waist – this is also a gorgeous trend to look out for in 2021.
Floral and lace details will make a smooth transition between the upper body and the lower body, which could conceal your waist – decide yourself if this works for you – but can also define the waist depending on the placements of detail. More importantly is to take into account the overall balance between silhouette, neckline and sleeve, and finding a combination you feel highlights your best features.
Asymmetry on your midsection narrows the waist, so will embellishments and details such as ruching, gathers or pleats. Avoid all across sparkle details – preferable are partial embellishments in the center or to one side only. This draws the eye away from the sides and into the center and is more forgiving.
A safe option is a dress with a waistband or a plain belt which points to the waist without emphasizing it too much.
At the back, a deep V-back will create a gorgeous focal point at your waist, creating an hourglass shape.
Is a belt slimming?
An well-established trick is wearing a belt – but if so, make sure you wear the right belt the right way. If worn the correct way the belt can create a slimmer waist. Generally speaking, when dressing for a slimmer appearance, you want to think in terms of elongating, vertical lines, as opposed to horizontal lines. So if you want to seem slimmer overall, a belt might not be your priority, but if you are mainly aiming for waist definition, the belt will do just that.
A too thin belt can be in disproportion to the rest of your dress if the skirt is voluminous or if you have a fuller torso. A too wide belt can give illusion of bulk, and shortens the torso which is not ideal if your aim is to create length.
1-2 inches is the sweet spot, but factor in your height when choosing a belt: if you are tall, the width of your belt should increase with it. Look for a harmonious balance with the rest of your dress, taking into account the neckline, sleeves and other embellishments as well.
Wear the belt slightly above the natural waist if you have a tall torso, below the waist if you want to lengthen (good for a full bust), at the narrowest point for a hour glass shape.
If a belt is not part of your planned look, but you still wan’t to highlight the waist line, a dress bodice that has a different color – such as a skin color lining – will create the same effect.
Design details and embellishments that slims the body
The right amount of detail on any silhouette highlights all body types.
Although large patterns can increase the impression of volume, laces can deflect and blend areas you are aiming to disguise.
This might sound counter-intuitive, but adding large details and volume to areas you want to mask, could actually make them seem more prominent. Better then is to wear the drama away from problem areas as it will balance and deter the eye to other features that you want to highlight. So for example if you want to conceal your waist, choose a dress with an eye catching detail on the decolletage, shoulder or hips to steer attention from the midsection.
The most effective embellishments and details are those positioned in diagonal or vertical lines. If you are a minimalist or prefer a less dramatic dress, remember that seam lines, sleeves and fabric texture adds to this as well.
If you are concerned about your hips you might want to give dresses with texture on the hips a miss – rather prioritize the bodice and sleeve design and keep the skirt fabric simple. BUT – don’t despair if you have fallen for a full lace gown, as you can easily work the neckline and sleeve in your favor, such as with sleeves or a bodice that highlights the upper body.
From the opposite perspective, in case you are concerned about the torso or lack of waistline you’ll find it beneficial balance this with details on the skirt.
The pattern and flow of the lace also has an effect: the patterns that seem to transition vertically and diagonally will help to create an hourglass figure.
A contrasting lining in champagne, mocha or blush underlay creates interesting visual effects that disguise imperfections.
How the dress fabric can slim
Glossy wedding dress fabrics reflect light which might increase the sense of volume. If you are concerned about this a better option is light-absorbing, matte fabrics such as crepe, chiffon or tulle.
Choose denser fabrics with more structure and support, the best being those with a little but not too much stretch. Thick crepe, stretch Duchess satin or Mikado are great options. Too thin fabrics such as silk satin or chiffon might feel clingy – but if your dream is a slinky dress remember than you can still pull this off using the magic of supportive underwear.
The lining matters too – make sure that it is breathable and high quality lining to smooth and keep you comfortable.
Many wedding dresses these days come in different colors than white or ivory. A darker color such as blush, champagne or grey will reflect less light, which you might find more flattering than a light color.
How to appear taller in your dress
If you want to appear slenderer, also think about how to how to appear taller. Remember what was said earlier about lines: diagonal and vertical directions will guide the eye up and down through the center, as opposed to horizontally across.
Choose a gown with a consistent color and dress material which is preferable to a dress with two different tones on bodice and skirt. The illusion of two separate garments can create the impression of two stacked halves.
Consider vertical panels, fabric gathers, pleats, a wrap silhouette or wrap details, daring or high necklines to create length. A dress with fabric at the shoulder or neck, any type of straps straps will make your body taller than a dress than a strapless dress. Think upwards as opposed to across – so a belt, square neck or off the shoulder sleeve style might not be your first choice.
In terms of silhouette, a slim profile such as Sheath, Empire or Slim Aline are favorable, as opposed to a wide silhoette such as ball gown.
A deep neckline creates a vertical center line resulting in length through the torso. A skirt slit is flattering for all body types will draw attention to your legs – combine with nude color heels for a showstopping effect!
How to slim the torso and arms with sleeves
Off the shoulder sleeve, butterfly sleeve and bishop sleeve can subtly disguise and distract the eye away from another area. The puffy sleeve is super trendy and will also work in your favor, as the volume will balance the torso and arm dimensions. You are in luck with all the gorgeous puffy and off the shoulder sleeve options that are available!
Short sleeves and cap sleeves might enhance broad shoulders, but this can be balanced with a deep neckline if this is your favorite look.
Long sleeves with a solid fabric might enlarge the arms and widen the torso. Rather go for sheer tulle or organza sleeve with or without a lace motif which will blend and diffuse.
Tip: Look for a dress that fulfills all you that wish for, whether it has sleeves or not. You might be able to customize the look as it is possible in most cases for the designer to add sleeves to the gown. This will give you a lot more options when shopping.
How all wedding dresses can make you slimmer
Which ever your style is, make sure your wedding dress fits you perfectly at every seam. Bear this in mind when ordering online – it might be necessary to adjust it locally.
The bodice should not feel tight – not only will it make you look and feel uncomfortable, it also pushes the skin in unflattering ways. If you feel squeezed it’s likely you’ll look it too.
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.
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. Make sure the dress is tailored professionally to fit your body perfectly – you’ll appear slimmer, be comfortable and feel more happy in your dress to!
The ultimate secret to body confidence in your wedding dress is to choose a dress that you love wearing, and feel great when you look in the mirror. Therefore, when looking for your wedding dress – try to choose according to your gut and not so much according to the text book – let your heart and intuition guide you and you will find the perfect fit that makes you shine!