Your Wedding Gown

Choosing Your Perfect Wedding Attire
by Vanessa Lace

Once your wedding plans have begun to move ahead, it’s never too early to get started on your wedding attire. The big question is, how do you choose the perfect gown for the wedding of your dreams?


Everyone knows that ALL brides are beautiful and that no woman is more beautiful than on her wedding day. No matter what your height or weight, there is a a perfect dress out there for you. You’ll get plenty of help from your family and friends and expert advice at the bridal shop or dressmaker, but here’s a few tips to help you develop some idea of what you’re looking for before you start.

If you are short, and wish to appear taller, look for dress with seams and patterns or lace which run vertically or lengthwise. These styles are generally known as EMPIRE, PRINCESS, and A-LINE. Look for small collars and cuffs, and trim at the neck to draw attention to your face.

Tall women who wish to minimize their height should shop for dresses with a wrap-around trim, wide belts, large collars and cuffs, flared sleeves and low necklines.

Full figured women should choose a carefully fitted, solid color gown in the princess style or any other loosely cut style that slims the body. Look for a V-SHAPED NECKLINE and a full skirt.

If you are slender, look for materials that have texture and/or sheen, something with a horizontal ribbing or pattern. Long, full sleeves and a bloused top will also add to the look. If you’ve got a thick midriff or waist, go for the slimming effect of a high waistline or A-LINE skirt.

The broad shouldered should look for a dress with smooth, set-in sleeves, low V-neck, or high, covered necks. Narrow shoulders, of course, call for the opposite: a cape or capelets on the shoulders. Gathered sleeves and widely curved necklines will also help.

Big bosom? Try the V-SHAPED or U-SHAPED necklines, or a completely covered high neckline. Avoid clinched waists and EMPIRE designs which tend to draw attention to the bosom. Small bosom? Try the opposite: Look for the high-waisted and Empire styles which accentuate the upper body.


If you’re having a full, formal ceremony and reception, you will more than likely wish to wear a full length formal gown with accompanying train and veil/headpiece. You’ll be looking at laces, silks, satin, and other elegant fabrics and combinations. And you must carefully choose your accompaniments such as shoes, gloves and flowers. For spring and summer weddings, the catch-phrase in the 90’s is definitely “less is more”. Most ornamentation is limited to the bodice, leaving sleeve length a personal choice for the bride. We’re still seeing plenty of full length sleeves in the new, simpler designs, but mid-length and even short sleeves are making making inroads. This also gives you more options when deciding not only whether to wear gloves or not, but what length gloves.

For a casual wedding (in the home, outdoors, a second marriage, etc.), the guideline is, as always, personal choice. From a nice business suit to a simple tea dress, from jeans to even a bathing suit, the unusual has become commonplace in this age when sometimes weddings seem to have taken on the task of making more of a “statement” than just undying love and devotion! But remember, careful planning is still in order to make sure everything is just the way you want it and wish to remember it.

For something in between, those looking for elegance but don’t want the restrictions of a formal gown for the duration of the day, there is a relatively new trend in design. This new direction is pointing towards wedding gowns with multiple pieces or layers which can be removed to reveal less restrictive but still fashionable and appropriate attire better suited to dancing and partying once the formal events have taken place. We’re seeing removable trains to eliminate the bulky bustle of carrying the piece as you make your way through the reception, and traditional gowns which are actually an “overdress” which can be removed to reveal a shorter, tighter dress or even a miniskirt! In many of these designs, the longer sleeves are fashioned into a jacket over bodice arrangement, allowing the beauty of full sleeves at the ceremony and the freedom of shorter sleeves at the reception.

Like every other aspect of wedding planning, you need to make your decisions final, stick to them, and start shopping early. And shop alone! You may care to bring along your mother or attendant, but make sure not only that it’s someone whose opinion you trust, but who respects your opinion as well. Give yourself plenty of time to make up your mind as you may well wind up having your dress made to order. And when trying things on, make sure you have shoes of the proper height and the same kind of underthings you plan to wear on your wedding day.