Understanding strapless wedding gowns

Should you be wearing a strapless dress? Can that dreadful hoiking of the top of the dress be avoided? What do you look out for? Is a corset always needed?

Should you go strapless?

Should you be wearing a strapless dress?  What do you look out for?  Is a corset always needed?  Can that dreadful hoiking of the top of the dress be avoided?  

Is strapless for everyone?strapless-beaded

Yes, relax, anyone can wear a strapless dress if it is made properly.  The size of the breasts doesn’t matter.  We had a bride with a 12F (thats US 34F, UK 34G, Japan 75H, France 90H, Italian 2H) and she felt so comfortable, she exclaimed

I feel so secure could play tennis in this!’


strapless-viewSo, how does that work?

A strapless wedding gown requires a corset, or at least, corsetry built into the dress.  Even if you have lovely perky boobs (can I write that?), the fabric of the dress cannot magically carry itself around.  In fact, if there is a lot of volume in the skirt of the gown, or if there is lace or even beaded lace, a gown can weigh even 10 kgs (22 lbs) or more!  Even breast enhancers can’t hold that weight up!  So, structure is required against the body to ensure the gown stays where it should.

If there is an internal waist that is securely anchored to the body (by being nice and firm), and there is structure extending up and down from that point, then the dress should stay put.  The waist is an important point because, it is the slimmest part, and the dress can’t go up because the waist band is stopped by the ribs, nor down because the hip bones stop that movement.

And the structure?strapless-lace-corded

The structure is usually made of boning.  Initially this was whale bone.  Now, most design houses use plastic boning, either solid or in fine strips (call rigilene).  We use spiral steel boning.  It’s old fashioned, expensive, and bloody marvellous!  The flexibility is fabulous – so you can dance the night away, it’s strong – so you can sit and stand and pee without hassle, and it’s stiff when encased up and down so it holds dresses right where we want them to be.

Boning is stitched into the lining of the dress and is stitched into the waist band.  This anchors the boning to the body and holds the dress in its rightful place.

What to look out for…

strapless-sequin-closeIf you are concerned about how your gown may stay up, get someone to pull it in at the waist.  If it is tight enough, there will be northing for them to grab hold of.  If not, please, get the dress altered, or you will be hoiking it up all night long.

To avoid back-fat (yes, we all have it, even stick figures), make sure the top of the gown is not too tight. The top of the gown is not holding the dress up, the waist is.  So, this only needs to be firm, NOT TIGHT!  We use a wire at the top to ensure this does not ease/give/stretch during wear because no one wants their girls to hang pop out at their wedding.

strapless-laceIf you are seeking a deep back, you may find that the waist is actually low enough (most do).  The only possible way to have a strapless gown go deeper than the waist at the back, is to have some sort of waist join, and then have a section that is lower cut away.  If a deep open back means more to you than anything else, add straps, otherwise, your dress will not stay up!

If you are having a deep plunging back (down to the waist), consider adding boning / check for boning along the dip from the bra cup to the back join to help stabilise this area.

strapless-dancingIf there is lace across the top, do you still need
to be strapless?  Good question!  If the lace has some straps underneath it (maybe in silk organza, or something strong but sheer), then these can be used to hold the gown up.  However, without straps under lace, the lace is most likely to droop.  Lace, by the nature of its construction is not terribly strong and stable, and with the heavy weight of a gown, will not last the distance.  Most of the gowns we create with lace tops have a structured corseted gown underneath.

We hope these tips help you when selecting a strapless wedding gown design.  Good luck.  If you need any help, just ask! x