A plus size wedding dress, if designed correctly, is not just a wedding dress in a larger size. If you are familiar with my story, you may know about my inspiration for opening Christine’s Bridal & Prom. If you are not, let me bring you up to speed.
When I was shopping for my plus size wedding dress, I had a horrible experience. As in bad, in a life changing kind of way, horrible. I was made to feel that I was lucky to find anything in my size. Fit, construction, and fashion were not even considerations as far as the bridal shop was concerned.
Needless to say, almost twenty years later, that memory has stuck with me. It’s the basis for everything that we do at Christine’s Bridal & Prom, and the reason that I started my own design label, Ivy Rose® designs.
Ivy Rose® designs are a collection of plus size wedding dresses, designed by a plus size designer, for the plus size bride. Our collection is not sold online, and can be found exclusively in our Vermont showroom. But, maybe you can’t make it to Vermont. Maybe you are in the Midwest, or the deep South. Wherever you may call home, I have prepared some tips for fining the perfect plus size wedding dress.
Plus Size Wedding Dress Tip #1 – Do NOT Order Your Dress Online!
Resist the urge. Say it with me, repeat and say it again…do not order your plus size wedding dress online! There is no such thing as a “custom made” wedding dress when the person doing the sewing has never met you, or taken your measurements.
Think about it. A real custom made garment is first made from a pattern, which is made from a set of measurements taken from your body. Creating the pattern for your plus size wedding dress may take two to three fittings. You would be present to check fit, while the pattern is being made.
Fabric would be selected, and then the first cutting would occur. You would need to be there for this, as the dressmaker would be pinning your plus size wedding dress, while you were wearing it. You would repeat this process over and over again, until all the details were worked out.
So please, for the love of god – do not order what is advertised as a “custom” made plus size wedding dress, and expect that it will fit and flatter your body the way you want it to. Unless you are traveling extensively back and forth to the dressmaker, it’s not going to happen.
Nine times out of ten, you will ultimately end up paying more for alterations to make your plus size wedding dress what you originally hoped it would be, than if you had bought from a reputable bridal salon to begin with.
Plus Size Wedding Dress Tip #2 – A Corset Is A Bride’s Best Friend
Don’t panic. A corset style plus size wedding dress is not to be confused with the English corset, its breath-stealing namesake. An English, or European corset is an actual undergarment, with stiff boning, designed to shape the figure. Boning in a true corset was originally made from whalebone – later stiff fabric was used, as the sport of whale hunting went out of style.
Today, a plus size wedding dress with a “corset” style back refers to a dress with a lace up back. Lace up, or corset backs, are ideal, as you can customize the fit of your plus size wedding dress thru the bodice, simply by tightening or loosening the laces.
If the design of your plus size wedding dress lends itself to a corset style back, you will always have a better fit, with fewer alterations, if you go this route.
Plus Size Wedding Dress Tip #3 – Avoid Clingy Fabrics
As a plus size person, the last thing I am interested in doing is wearing fabrics that suck tight to my skin. My fashion goal in life is to flatter my figure, and enhance my curves…but not my rolls!
Although it goes against what you think you know, layers of fabric, if worn correctly, do not add bulk. Rather, they enhance the hourglass shape of your figure. Slinky fabrics, on the other hand, stick to the body, and show off a multitude of sins.
Our fashion advice is to pick a well-constructed, well-made plus size wedding dress. Your wedding dress should have at least one lining (if not multiple layers of fabric) worn between you and the dress. Dresses that are well made do not have to be bulky. They just need the ability to shape and enhance the figure. Fabrics that cling to the body like stretch jersey or charmeuse are not ideal for this, and should be avoided.
Plus Size Wedding Dress Tip #4 – If Big Busted, Straps Are A Bride’s Best Friend!
From cap sleeve, to off the shoulder – a busty bride to be can’t go wrong with a strap! There are countless options for straps for todays bride. Please remember the rules of gravity. While a strapless gown looks great on a woman with smaller or average breasts, if you are a double D or larger in a cup size, you may pop out without a little help!
Even the most talented of seamstresses will find it challenging to prevent your plus size wedding dress from rolling, or sagging if you are not properly supported in the gown. Adding a strap can go a long ways towards ensuring that you don’t spill out on your wedding day.
We hope you have enjoyed our first in a series of tips for finding the perfect plus size wedding dress. Stay tuned to our blog, as we will explore the topic again at a future date!