Plus Size Brides Are Beautiful!
Hey wedding lovers!
I'm super excited because today I'm sharing some photos from the lovely Sally Eagle Bridal - featuring a beautiful plus size bride!
These images got me thinking about my time working in bridal wear and all the amazing brides I helped find their dream dress.
I've been wanting to write something about plus size bridal fashion for a long time, but I didn't want to come across as "telling people what to do" or making a bunch of rules for people to follow. Here in New Zealand the average women's size is 14-16, yet so much emphasis in the fashion world is on an ideal body size shape that most women don't have. In my time working in a bridal store I dressed brides of all shapes and sizes, every one of them absolutely beautiful and looked amazing in their dresses.
I wanted to share a few things that I found useful when working with a plus size bride to help her find a beautiful wedding dress.
1. Underwear Is Important
I seriously cannot stress this enough. When you're thinking about your dress budget, factor in the cost of a well fitting bra that supports your bust and makes you feel fantastic.
It's a good idea to go into a lingerie store and get fitted by someone. My plus size pals (Laura, Lena and Meagan) in the blogger world recommend Rose and Thorne Lingerie, you can go with a reputable lingerie store in your town that offers a fitting service.
It's really up to you and what you're comfortable wearing when it comes to bras and knickers. Some people are comfortable in a strapless bra, others can't stand them. Some ladies love the line their shape wear gives them, others find them uncomfortable. Go for what makes you feel really confident and amazing - the lingerie you buy to wear under your wedding dress is probably not the most glamorous or sexy you'll ever wear, but it's all about the underneath layer and the dress goes on top. Remember you can have a sexy set to slip into later on in the evening.
Remember you can ask about taking a few bra styles on appro - where you pay for the items on the agreement that you can return them within a certain time frame, providing the tags etc are still attached.This will help you when you find a dress style you like and you can try a few bras with it to see what suits. What style underwear you choose will make a difference to how your dress fits. Being happy with the look that the bra gives you and how it feels to wear is what counts.
2. Go for style over trend
This is where it can get really hard for plus size brides trying to find a dress that is going to suit their body shape and make them feel amazing - so many current trendy styles just do not work with people that want to wear a real bra! (I'm looking at you, backless dresses!) I think you're better to go for a classic style that really suits your body shape than to head towards the latest wedding dress trends. Not only are you going to look super elegant and classy, you'll also look back on your photos and thank yourself for choosing a style that suits your body rather than going for what was fashionable at the time.
A few things to look out for when you're browsing dress styles
- Check out the back. The back of the dress needs to cover the back strap of your bra, and your shape wear or torsolette if you're wearing them.
- Straps or no straps? It's up to you! You might like to show off your shoulders, or you might feel more comfortable wearing straps. Do what feels good for you.
Sleeves is another one that this applies to. Being plus size does not mean having to hide your arms. At the same time, there are so many beautiful fabrics and lovely lace sleeves out there, there's never been a better time to rock a stunning sleeve.
- Neckline. This is another personal option. A few neckline styles that I find are gorgeous are v-neck, sweetheart and illusion. Cleavage can be an issue for some people, but a good neckline and a great bra can make a big difference to how much cleavage is showing.
3. Try Some Styles On
Whether you're looking to buy a dress from a store or online, I recommend trying dresses on in real life. This can be pretty intimidating as bridal stores can be scary places, and stories of fat shaming abound. Ask around friends for recommendations in your area, check out websites and call ahead before you make an appointment to see what dresses they stock in your size. Bring one or two supportive friends with you - too many opinions can be overwhelming. Your "honest" friend who is actually just really mean can stay home - you want people who give you positive vibes.
Chain stores and those that stock overseas brands are probably more likely to have a good range of plus size dresses, but do check with the boutique and smaller labels as they could surprise you. I loved working for a boutique that had plus size samples, so I always had a beautiful dress for someone to try on no matter what their size. These gorgeous photos from Sally Eagle show her beautiful styles are available in plus sizes.
Don't freak out if you end up in a bigger size than your normal clothes. Wedding dresses have a completely different sizing system going on, which makes absolutely no sense and is based on really old fashioned methods.
Trying on dresses in real life will help you decide what styles you like. You can also try different fabrics to see what they feel like and how they move. Try on a lot of styles, be open to suggestions from your stylist. You might surprise yourself with what you like!
If you've got the budget, I totally recommend getting a dress made to measure. There's nothing like having an item of clothing that made from scratch exactly for you, designed to have the elements that you love. It will fit you perfectly and look sensational. Made to measure is especially good if you're a different size top and bottom, or if your bust or waist measurement in particular mean it's hard to find a dress off the rack that fits you everywhere.
If you're buying off the rack or getting a standard size and you're between sizes, buy the bigger size and get it taken in. You don't need to put pressure on yourself by buying a smaller dress as a goal to fit into, planning a wedding has enough stress going on without adding more. It's a lot easier and cheaper to take a dress in than to make it bigger. Remember the number on the label has no relevance to your street size. It's all about finding the perfect fit for you.
If you're buying online, make sure you research thoroughly the stores you're looking at. Read third party reviews, ask your friends for recommendations and check out their returns policy. There are a lot of scammers out there, I know I've helped out many brides who were left with no dress and no money just weeks out from their wedding day so be very careful.
Even when you're shopping online, you should still be paying a decent amount of money for a good quality dress. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Find a good dressmaker in your area and get them to measure you (in your new bra and knickers) and use those measurements when you're shopping. Then once your dress arrives you can take it back to your dressmaker for any alterations it might need.
4. Wear what makes you feel fantastic
At the end of the day, if you feel fantastic in a dress, that's the most important thing! Wear something that makes you feel really special and your fanciest version of yourself. You're having a wonderful celebration with the love of your life in front of friends and family who already love you for who you are. Whatever you wear, if you feel really really good in it, that's awesome.
I'd love to hear what you've found helpful and where you found your wedding dress!
Photos and dresses by Sally Eagle