Dress for Your Body

I have met a lot of brides.  I have seen a lot of dresses.

One thing that I wish I could have told many, many brides is this:

Dress for your body!  I have seen quite a few articles that try to explain this. What I mostly end up reading is, "Are you a pear? An apple? A-line thin? Or full figured? If your body type C then you can wear dress A and D." I'm sure some generalizing can be helpful, but, to me, bodies being relayed as fruit seems demeaning and misinformed. There are over twenty different measurements that make up the female body that a well fitting dress needs to match.

Dress sizing often boils down to bust, waist and hip. What about the distance between waist and bust? How about broad shoulders and the distance between my hip and bust!? Does that make me a pear or a pineapple?

A few things I want brides to understand are: I have some information I would like to share, a great reason why to share this information and a solution to the issue of dressing for your body.


Some Useful Information

For most of you women out there, you will probably be fine in your shopping. This article is meant to save a few souls who may otherwise fall victim to their dress salesperson. Maybe I went and overcomplicated wedding gown buying in my head. I then justified that this is YOUR WEDDING DRESS! You only have one in your lifetime, so it should count, you should love it and it should fit you well. That being said, your favorite dress might not be for you. 

Back to apples, pears and peaches, here are my tips:

  • To be clear, there is never an issue with any person's body,  just the dress that person chose to wear with their body.

  • Show off your goods. If you have a butt that people find impressive, flaunt it! More importantly, don't do the reverse...

  • If you don't have a "nice can," then look for a sheath dress and leave your butt problems behind you. Cups can make you some boobs, but beyond that, don't stress what you don't have.

  • More often that not, you will have to trade style for comfort or vice-versa

  • Form-fitting undergarments can make you fit into the dress you want to be in. This used to be common practice in the golden age of film. Now a whole new world of spanks can help us return to our form-fitting roots. Wear them to go shopping if you plan on wearing them during your ceremony.

  • The most important part of dress fit is in the Bodice and more specifically how it feels around your chest. If it doesn't feel good when you try it on, even though you like the dress, forget it.

  • Basically, you should think, "I look good in this dress." not, "This dress looks good on me." A good looking dress may give you a false sense that it fits you well.

Why am I Putting This Out There?

...to help save you money. A few months after you purchase your wedding dress and it eventually arrives at your house, you will notice a few things, such as it doesn't fit at all. Your wedding dress retailer will most definitely order you a dress larger than need be and there's good reason to it.

Side note: Wedding dress sizes are generally arbitrary and varies from manufacturer to manufacturer so dress sizes are ordered larger to prevent the mistake of them being too small. In order for your perfect gown to fit you snug and wonderfully, It needs to be altered. (By me hopefully!) With alterations you can always make a dress smaller, but enlarging it is a whole lot of work, and thus a whole lot of money. A chef knows to add a little salt at a time, because a salty dish cannot be undone.

One thing that keeps me up are brides who want me to make their dress fit them. I know, I know! Sounds crazy right? But imagine a dress that the torso is too short for the bride's torso. How about a bride who wants me to make them a butt? It sounds doable because it falls under the umbrella term of alterations.

To reuse my chef example- If a customer asks for broccoli, but there is no broccoli in the restaurant, the answer is going to be no. However, this is the Broccoli Bride's one and only wedding and she needs to look good in her dress; she wants that butt. So what do we do? The solution is to pull fabric around, buy fabric to add panels and do all sorts of unnecessary things to try to appease a dress that doesn't want to stretch beyond it's own "dress body type."  Unfortunately, all this reconstruction is expensive and the time and money lost could have gone into searching for the right...fitting...dress.  After all of this and a huge tab, I can see that a person may hate their dress, and does not have confidence wearing it. I have even known a few brides buy a whole new dress in the wake of this dissappoinment.

Think about all of the garments in your closet that looked interesting on the rack when you bought them. Now, how many of those items made it to the back of the closet because the one time you wore it it was uncomfortable or not exactly what you thought it was in the store. It happens all the time, but for your wedding dress, this is a mistake you would like to avoid, right?

A Better Way

I like sewing and dressmaking and I'm thrilled that this is how I make a living. What I don't like are unhappy clients. I have been known to pull off a few miracles, but when I see a dress that someone expects to be something it's not, it breaks my heart.

So! I want my clients to be thrilled in their dress and I want them to save money! Here's what I suggest:

Forget about looking for a style. There's no point in hunting for that perfect mermaid dress if that dress is going to make you look as uncomfortable as you feel.  An ill-fitting dress will only make you unhappy and kill your confidence. Find the dress that fits you and flatters your best attributes. If you find a few of these, then you can pick the dress with the best stylization. 

The better the fit, the less the alterations. It's really that simple. I have more to say in another post about size ordering, but remember, saving in alterations will allow you to get that dress outside your budget. As long as that gown is comfortable and you just need a hem, go for it!

Thanks for reading ladies, and dress your best,