Today we are joined on the blog by Hannah from Bride by Aster talking all about body shapes & how to find your perfect wedding dress that will make you look & feel amazing! Bride by Aster is one of Surrey’s most popular bridal shops and known for it's unique, luxury and beautiful wedding dresses in Dorking. Hannah is an absolute abundance of energy, always sees the positive and is massively passionate about body confidence.
So let's dive into the guide written by Hannah from Bride by Aster and let you're wedding dress journey begin...
Bridal Body Shapes
It really doesn’t matter what body shape you are, if you’re a size 8 or a size 28, there is a wedding dress for every woman. I know from personal experience how my buying habits change whether I’m a size 12 or a size 18 (Hello, my name is Hannah and I’m a serial yoyo dieter).
I think its really important to make it clear, that 99% of women are nervous about trying on dresses and that 100% of women have insecurities about their bodies. We think they don’t, but they do. If you’re looking at a woman and thinking ‘my God, she’s beautiful’, the chances are, you are THAT beautiful woman for someone else. As women in a modern western culture, we are taught to loathe things about our bodies. Too bony, too chubby, bat wings, cellulite, broad shoulders, thin hair, eyelashes aren’t long enough, too pale. Well forget that! I don’t care what you look like, you are a QUEEN and there is a dress that will make you feel A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
I’m going to talk about bridal body shapes and offer some insider tips for the inexperienced shopper AND shed some light on some common misconceptions. Let’s do this…
SLENDER, ATHLETIC AND STRONG BRIDES-TO-BE
Its not uncommon for brides with a more athletic build to feel just as nervous as curvier brides when they go bridal shopping. A lot of brides worry about visible bones not looking pretty enough, straight waists, slender hips and long limbs. Well, you are bloody gorgeous and you have the option to totally PLUMP up the volume when it comes to dresses and accessories. If you’re worried about looking to slight, add fabric, make that neckline higher, add more detail to the back of your dress and try on long sleeves. Of course, you don’t have to drown yourself in fabric, but you can really pull off certain looks that other brides might struggle to! Here are some top tips to help find your dream dress!
Petite Busts – lots of brides worry about not having enough cleavage to fill out a dress, whilst the rest of us are doing what we can to not have an obscenely large cleavage on display all day long! For me, a smaller bust looks SLAMMING in a dangerously plunge neckline and long sleeves. You might not want to have arms and bust on display, so go classy with a long lace sleeve and be ultra-modern with a low plunge. Alternatively, checkout choker neck style dress, bateau necklines or halternecks! Halterneck wedding dresses are so overlooked yet are so hopelessly chic.
Strong Back – if you’re conscious that your back is a little too on display, opt for an illusion back. This is a thin piece of sheer fabric that creates the base structure for the back of the dress and lace details are built up on top. Buttons are common down the centre of the dress and you even have the option to add more lace if you want more coverage. Just ask your bridal consultant about this! Another option is to layer up some accessories! Capelets give a dainty coverage for hotter climates whilst fluffy boleros and shrugs are ideal for autumn and winter weddings!
Broad Shoulders – I love a broad shoulder! Such an amazing canvas to feature a striking neckline like a halterneck gown. If you’re not favouring featuring your shoulders on your big day, look for gentle V-neck straps or necklines that taper inwards towards your neck as opposed to a bardot neckline. Our eyeline follows the lines of the dress rather than where your shoulders start and finish. If you favour a bardot neckline, add a big skirt to match!
Lean, Mean, Machine – it doesn’t matter how much your friends think you have a figure to die for. Some girls want that extra oomph and feel a little conscious about wearing figure hugging dresses that show every inch of their bodies. I have several brides who have wanted to look fuller-figured and this is where a ballgown comes in! If you’re more petite on top, you can basically choose whatever style bodice you like, as long as it comes with a big skirt to add volume to your hips and bum! For straighter figures, look for exaggerated necklines, nipped waists and big skirts. This creates an illusion of an hour glass.
Suggestions: Eleanora by Modeca, Fiji by Modeca, Lucy by Modeca, Elena by Modeca, Ariel by Anny Lin
CURVALICIOUS BRIDES WITH JUICE IN ALL THE RIGHT PLACES
As a woman who’s always been a bit apprehensive of going into a new shop and worrying if anything will fit, I would recommend if you are nervous, calling or emailing ahead of time to make sure that the shop you want to go to appreciates all women and all sizes! Unfortunately, not every shop embraces the female body in all of its glory like I do! Our sizes range from a UK10 to a UK30! Its just a way to keep your mind at ease, knowing that you will be catered for in exactly the same way as everyone else.
I would ALWAYS say, tell your bridal consultant what you LOVE about yourself and what you’re maybe a little unsure about when you arrive. They will have their own ideas, but its always good to get YOUR message across as we all see things differently. Sometimes a bride will say to me, “I’m really self-conscious about my big bum” when I’m thinking, “that’s EXACTLY what I want you to embrace and show off”! Go with the flow and trust the advice given but make sure that your voice is heard and don’t feel pushed if you’re really not comfortable.
Here are some quick fire tips for dressing your curvalicious body shape. Some of them may surprise you and you will possibly disagree with me (on paper). I guarantee you that you will shock yourself!
Juicy Arms – please don’t think that adding sleeves is going to make you feel more confident. Whilst you think that you are hiding them away, you’re actually emphasising them by adding layers of fabric. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to cover your arms, particularly in the warmer months, opt for a bridal cape or capelet. A sheer and lightweight solution. If you are a little shorter between the top of your bust and the base of your neck, adding sleeves is going to drown your frame. If you are desperate for sleeves, consider a bardot neckline, which will allow your shoulders and collar bones to remain exposed! Also, please don’t dismiss a strapless dress! Check with your bridal consultant what can be done. We have added off the shoulder straps, spaghetti straps and even full sleeves to our strapless dresses to accommodate our brides!
Boobylicious – whilst a lot of brides like to have that slightly sexy look on their wedding day, a lot of brides want to keep the girls under wraps and enjoy feeling a little more demure. In the same way that adding sleeves to arms doesn’t necessarily work, drowning your bosom with swathes of tuille is going to have the same effect. I feel a bit like a pigeon when I attempt to keep my ladies hidden! Opt again for a bardot neckline, keeping your girls firmly covered and supported but allowing a little skin out on show so you aren’t totally covered. This is a day to feel beautiful after all; we’re not joining a convent just yet!
Alternatively, look for a gown wide a wide shoulder strap or cap sleeve and V-neck. The wider the straps or caps, the better this will balance out your bust. The V-neck will create the illusion of a smaller chest. Lastly, make sure you look for gown with good support. I know everyone loves a backless dress, but if you have to carry around your GG’s all day, there’s no harm in your dress taking some of the weight for you! Corset backs and boned bodices are now your new best friends.
Gorgeous Thighs & Hips – in this instance, if you’re worried about the size of your hips, don’t simply try and hide them away by adding as much fabric as you can in a ballgown shaped dress. Look at sleeker fabrics like chiffon that drop loosely from the waist and glide across bums and tums. It will still offer the coverage you are looking for, without creating too much additional volume. If you aren’t keen on the idea of a plainer skirt such as chiffon, look at A-line gowns that pull in at your waist and flare out at the high hip. I always say, it is definitely worth trying on some fitted dresses too! Wedding dresses need shape to fill them out properly. If you’ve got the curves, let the dress enjoy them, kiss them, squeeze them! In our boutique, we have a couple of dresses that have a fitted silhouette but have a floaty overskirt. This is a gorgeous combination and allows for you to show of your womanly curves but have that security blanket of the overskirt!
Apple Shape – you beautiful apples with your petite shoulder frames and gorgeous tummies and lovely legs! Because in most wedding dresses, your legs aren’t going to be on show, we need to show the world your fabulous features and create some extra curves down below! Look for dresses that sit wide across the shoulder frame, pull in at the waist, hug your hips and flare out at the bottom. These are known far and wide as mermaid or fishtail dresses. They can sometimes have a bad-rep but the shape they create because of the way they are cut is extraordinary! If you’re not convinced and feel a little too on show in a mermaid gown, look for bardot or wide V-neck gowns that add width to your shoulders, nip in at the waist and flare out into a beautiful skirt. This creates the illusion of an hour glass.
Suggestions: Rebel by PLBG, Ruby by Anny Lin, Forest by Modeca, Manon by Modeca, Cape by Ella Rosa
UNIVERSAL BODY SHAPE TIPS
Long in the body – avoid drop-waist dresses at all costs unless you would like your legs to look 5 inches long. Choose empire line dresses or fitted dresses that are the same patter all over without a clearly defined bodice.
Short in the body – drop waist dresses are now your best friend! Floaty dresses that start on or above the high hip or fitted dresses that cup your hips and bum and flare out.
Rounded shoulders – STRAPLESS
Hour Glass – we all hate you and go for a mermaid!
Short Girls – you absolutely CAN wear a ballgown. Height and body shape are not mutually exclusive.
Bigger Hips than Shoulders – wide neckline or dramatic balloon sleeve PLUS sheath gown to gently kiss your curves without squeezing them. Alternatively, fitted bodice and flowing skirt from the high waist.
Suggestions: Eden by Modeca, Carlotta by Kenneth Winston, Feline by Modeca, Eliza Gray by Ella Rosa
I hope you are able to take away at least one of these tips from the above lists, no matter your body shape. I’d encourage everyone to buy a one-way ticket away from their comfort zone when trying on wedding dresses, because bridalwear is so different to high street fashion in every way.
If you weren’t able to tell, I’m pretty passionate about body image and making my girls feel their absolute best! I feel so strongly about it, I get super emotional when I see a bride who was initially shy and nervous around me, strut out half-naked, laughing and embracing her body. It is THE BEST feeling ever!
So please, for me, when you go shopping for your wedding dress, stand in front of the mirror and look at how effing beautiful you are. Not every dress will fit perfectly, not all of them will fit your personality and not all of them will make it to your shortlist and that’s ok. It only takes ONE.
All dresses featured in this blog are currently available at our Dorking boutique.
308-310 High Street - Dorking - Surrey - RH4 1QX
Boutique https://www.bridebyaster.com/ @bridebyaster
Makeup https://www.taniaclaire.com/ @taniaclaire_makeupartist
Hair https://www.gavinharviehair.com/ @gavinharviehair
Flowers https://www.poppywildfloral.com/ @poppywildfloral
Dress https://www.modeca.com/ @modeca
Photos www.thelightpainters.co.uk @hannah_lightpainter