Sunday, July 14, 2013

How to Choose Your Wedding Gown Part 2

So after settling down with big questions (if you have not, go to the part 1 of this series), now we can move on to smaller issues such as your body type, age and whether you are marrying the second (or third?) time.

Your Body Type
Actually there isn't much I want to say about the body type, there are already so much written on this issue. Just pick up any bridal magazine you will bound to find some. Or if you are really clueless, here's an infographic to get you started. There's another fantastic one, but it is too long to paste it. Check it out at my pinterest and follow it if you want to keep updated.

You can memorize all the rules or just go with the simpler way, try the dress and look into the mirror. Does it looks good on you?

The whole idea for all these rules is to find the dress that looks good on you. So that you don't get carried away by the latest fashion fad., or too entrenched with imitating the idol or model that looks so good on print. That mermaid cut might looks fabulous on the model and appear in most of the advertisement you see, but unless you have the perfect body proportion, this cut will only exaggerates all the flaw you want to hide.


Do you still remember how not long ago (ie. before the royal wedding of Kate Middleton to Price William) that almost every wedding dress you came across is strapless? Strapless is a difficult style to pull off. One must have beautiful neckline, tone upper arm, slender shoulder, decent bust size... the list goes on. Poor brides during that time have to choose either exposing their flabby arms or looks outdated. Thanks to Kate that now sleeves are back in fashion again and save us from all the pressure to tone up our arms. The key point is, fashion can goes against our body shape. And fashion won't last for next 20-30 years but your memory of wedding dress will. So when in conflict, choose one that complements your body, not the fashion, or what your idol wears.

I love Kate Middleton's (now Duchess of Cambridge's) dress. It is all about elegance in subtle form.  It looks simple on the first sight, but subtle lace appliques starts to emerge as you gaze on them longer. I love the ribbon-like bustle on the back, a reminiscence of Victorian era bustle yet with modern twist (so old and so new). And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the veil. This is what I meant by soft silk tulle veil, totally unmatched by the cheap stiff nylon version that we normally came across. Look at how soft and elegant it drapes over her face. More closeup here.  

The last point on body shape: buy a dress that looks good on you NOW, not after you lose X pounds or kilograms. Yes, in the ideal scenario we would work hard to loose that additional inches or that fat thighs that have been with her since puberty. Hey, it is still 6 or more months away, isn't it? The bad news is, when you are planning for a wedding, the last (and unnecessary) stress you want is to worry whether you can fit into that dress. And another bad news is, even you work very hard, your body type will probably remains the same - an apple shape is very unlikely to turn into an hour glass. But the good news is, it is always easier to take in a dress than take it out. So buy a dress that fits you NOW, then alter later. Don't buy a dress and hope to fit in it later.


Your Age
Just a few days ago, it was reported that the median first marriage age for Singapore women rose from 26.3 in year 2002 to 28.0 in year 2012. This is hardly surprising as youngster (man and women alike) are spending more time on their education and wants to establish a career before they start a family.

Although this is an applaudable progress showing girls that taking but is also means that almost half of our brides are going to choose their dress at a more mature age of thirty instead of tender twenty. And if our fashion sense for normal clothes changes according to our age? Why won't the fashion sense for our wedding dress change? (Point to note: the following is just for suggestions, mainly for brides who are thinking of alternatives to full ball gown, layers of tulles, miles of veil and tiara. You can be in your 50's and still get married in full bridal regalia if that pleases you)

Dress for 20's, 30's and 40's. Left: Oscar de la Renta, Middle: Vera Wang, Right: Monique Lhuillier 

If you are marrying at sweet twenties (marrying at sweet seventeen will requires parents consent in Singapore), you can pretty much get your dress inspiration from Disney Princess. You can have your full ball gown, long cathedral train, tiara, cathedral veil complete with blusher...  It is basically the bridal ensemble we have imprinted in our mind since young.

Brides marrying at thirties can still pretty much adopt what the twenty-something brides wear, but with more sophistication. You probably don't want a tiara (especially those cute small ones) unless you are related royalty. You probably want to find a tulle ball gown with a modern sophisticated twist on it a la Vera Wang.

At forty-year-old and beyond, the idea of Disney princess should have long passed you. However, not wearing a ball gown with trailing train doesn't means that you can't looks like a bride. You can still look bridal with a sophistically-cut sheath, A-line or mermaid dress, made in luxurious silk satin. You can have a small sweep or fishtail trail.

Dress for 20's, 30's and 40's. Left: Marchesa, Middle: Oscar de la Renta, Right: Justin Alexander
You probably want to double think of wearing blusher and veil, which signifies virginity, innocent and purity. At this age, you probably seen enough to know the evil of the world even though you might still as pure as snow. But you can wear jewel hair clip, beautiful fascinators, fresh flowers or even hat with netting a la 1940's. They are as beautiful and you look as much like bride.  

And be truthful to your body. Unless you are hitting the gym regularly and looks way younger than your age (some movie stars do), you might want to hide your flesh with beautiful lace sleeves and necklines.


Marrying Second Time? Or Third?
Divorce wasn't such a big taboo as it used to be and remarrying is increasingly common. As the society becoming more open, the second wedding can have as much fanfare as the first, or even more! How do one choose her second wedding dress? (Again, suggestion here is just an advice, if you wish to deck up in your full bridal ensemble, that's entirely your choice as the bride)

First of all, a second marriage most likely going to happen later in your life. The median age for second marriage in Singapore is 36.4 in 2012. So whatever written above for more mature brides applies. For example, you probably want to ditch the ball gown and opt for simpler cut dress. You might want to skip the strapless and sleeveless to give yourself more coverage.

Veil and blusher will probably not be a good idea given their symbolism. Double think of wearing a white gown, which also symbolizes purity. The good news is pastel and blush gowns are so in vogue now that you can get away looking like a bride without wearing white and looking so chic at the same time.

More than white. Left: Romano Keneva, Centre: Douglas Hannat, Right: Ines di Santo

PS:I got most of these advices from the book "Quest for the Dress: Finding Your Dream Gown Without Losing Your Sanity, Friends or Groom". Unlike typical pictures-filled wedding gown coffee table book, this book is filled of gems from bridal gown designer of 30 over years, Nancy Di Fabbio. 

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