Coming out of fashion school I thought I could design dresses for anybody. I was quickly cured of my ignorance. It takes time and experience to design for different brides, and larger ladies are no exception. Here are the top five design tips I’ve learnt after designing for larger brides.
1. Make sure the lace is bold and striking. Your lace needs to stand out. A delicate lace will be lost amidst the dress. We had a wonderful bride who wanted a delicate lace, and although we hand beaded it for her, it was not striking enough to create a compelling contrast effect, and we lost her shape. Your lace needs to shout “here I am, this is what I look like, whoo hoo!” Bold and striking will get you there.
2. Ensure your neckline is not too high, nor too thin. A high neckline will lead to you looking too ‘booby’ and solid in your frame. The neckline should be wide, preferably lower (not too much cleavage though, or you’ll look tarty), and all you. We made a gown for a gorgeous bride with a voluptuous bust. She didn’t want too much cleavage showing, so we had a reasonably high neckline on the satin part of the dress, and a lace overlay on top. But, the lace overlay actually tones down the amount of cleavage showing. The satin should have been lower to give a more attractive silhouette, with the lace giving the coverage to avoid a full cleavage.
3. You need to have some body referenced (preferably your ribs and maybe your waist) as without it you will look like a blob. We made a dress for a larger lady who wanted a full 1950’s skirt. We set the top of the skirt to come right from her waistline, which was just below her bust. Unfortunately, the finished appearance didn’t have enough body reference, so it looked like she went from full bust to full skirt. It is best to set a full skirt from below the waist point so that there is a separation between a full bust and a full skirt, giving a slimmer silhouette.
4. Expose your ankles if they’re slim and sweet as this will create a great silhouette. we worked with a beautiful shapely bride with tiny ankles, and we created a full skirt that was high at the back, exposing her lovely ankles, and highlighting her gorgeous frame.
5. Don’t be scared of strapless! If your strapless dress is properly made, it will stay up (for more on strapless, see my blog here). Strapless dresses can be simply stunning, and your bust is not an issue.
Ultimately, make sure the dress is made to fit your body, as it will always look more flattering. Don’t forget that Marilyn Monroe is considered one of the sexiest women ever, and in today’s sizing she was an 18!
Don’t settle for second best. Create something uniquely you.
P.S If you know someone this could help, don’t hesitate to share it.