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Margaret's Pages - Bridal Series
CHOOSING YOUR GOWN .. taking into account your body shape.
Just when you think you have sorted out the design that flatters your figure, along comes a flock of new looks -- diamond cut backs, bare backs stranded with pearls, fishtails, detachable trains, Spanish dancer ruffles.
What follows will help you choose the most flattering design PROVIDING you are honest about your figure type.

For your front view make sure the neckline lies smoothly without gaping.  Lace should drape nicely over the shoulders, and there should be no pull lines or wrinkles across the bustline.
Darts should point the the fullest point of the bust, and the skirt should fall smoothly over the hips.

For your back view check that should are no drag lines across the back, and that the armhole seam is a smooth curve with no puckers or pull in the fabric.  Make sure the centre back closure is not strained, or pulling the fabric, and please have no underwear lines that show through the dress.
Look for styles fitted or full from classic to contemporary selections, just avoid extremities in fashion.  Choose from fabrics like soft sheers, silk, jersey, chiffons, taffetas, and silk shantung.

Look for a closer-fitting longer line perhaps with slightly draped soft styles, fitted sleeves.
Choose from soft fluid fabrics like chiffons, jersey, silk, taffeta, georgette, soft, all-over lace with embrodiered nets.
Avoid high close-fitting collars, full puffy sleeves, and very bulky or very shiny fabrics, and also avoid heavy laces.
This beaded Italian satin with a diamond shaped neckline and heavy beaded cathedral length train would suit an Average body shape with a full figure.
A-line delustered satin with guipure lace
If your body shape is FULL, you will look slimmer in structured styles that lend you their shape.  Look for softy structured bodice in soft fabric that holds its shape like silk or crepe.  A low scoop neckline, a longer line, A-line or princess line, and fluid skirt that falls into a train.
Try to avoid tiers, flounces, ruffles, too much lace and beading, un-necessary fullness and fabrics that cling.
A-line delustered satin with beaded bodice and matching hemline.
SHORT SLENDER body shape needs a simple design, lines and fabrics to give the illusion of extra height.

Look for fabrics in soft silks, soft sheers, georgette, chiffon, soft jerseys, and all-over lace or rich lace trim.

Look to styles that are romantic with drop off shoulders, a fluffy style, or soft style with billowy sleeves. Look for pretty rather than elegant.

Avoid stiff full sleeves, too much blouson, over long trains, and heavily textured fabrics and too heavy laces and trims.
Classic white ribbon organza with fitted bodice and slimline skirt.
Delustered satin skirt and torsolette design bodice with beaded lace covering bust and halter neck
If your are SHORT (petite) look for halter or strapless gowns and make sure decorative detailings is around the neckline or above the waist.
Look for soft fabrics and avoid frills
flounces, tiered skirts, high waists and brocade fabric.
Elegant halter gown of delustured satin with richly embroidered lace.
Halter neck empire line in crepe with ivory gold guipure bodice and georgette train.
If you are TALL, SLENDER most styles will flatter,  but you might want to add fullness to your figure.  Avoid severe styles and vertical lines and look for soft off the shoulders romantic style gowns with gathered skirt, and bouffant train.  Classic Edwardian style with collar and sweeping train would be nice.  Fabrics to look for would be beautiful rich laces and the stiffer fabrics around.
White flowing silk gown featuring empire line and delicate beading on bodice with rouched midriff band.  This design has a slimline skirt. This would also suit someone with a long waist.
Slim and sophisticated in georgette and guipure lace.  Has a rouched neckline and collar and fitted lace bodice.  Slimline skirt with draped chiffon. Would also suit small bust.
Some may call you a STRINGBEAN, so avoid shoe-string straps, clingy fabrics and skimpy camisoles.  Choose structured gowns with built-in shape - a distinct fullness around the hips to suggest a fuller figure.  Go for frills, flounces, shirred or gathered, rouched fabrics over a stiffer one (chiffon over satin), strapless, one-shoulder, or off the shoulder styles.
Traditional elegant gown with sweet heart neckline and box pleated full skirt. would also suit a small bust line
TALL FULL FIGURE can wear full blouson sleeves in sheer, also a high fitted collar on a classical gown or even a low neckline.
Look for elegant lines and avoid frills, gathers and flounces. 
Layers of tulle with beaded lace overlay flowing over a detailed bodice with sheer open neckline.
SHORT FULL figure needs to choose a close fitting gown with vertical lines.  Something with a raised back, fitted sleeves and softly flowing skirt.  A vertical trim on the bodice (lace or pin tucks) will give a longer line.    Keep away from too much lace, frills on heavily textured fabric, and any blouson look.
Silk strapless gown in silk georgette and chantilly lace.  Shirred georgette waist with slimline skirt and layered georgette train.  Worn with bolero jacket. Suit small bust
If you have a SMALL BUST shop for dramatic sleeves and flowing skirts (if waist is also small).

SHORT WAIST look for a low waisted gown, and seaming down the bodice.

THICK WAIST shop for a gown with 1920's influence or a dropped loose waist look.

LARGE HIPS - look for a full biased cut skirt without gathers, and a slightly raised or un-defined waistline.
Is your body a PEAR ? - look for detail above the waist and shop for a gown for top emphasis.  Shawl collars, and a skirt without gathers.  A long sweep of skirt that falls into a full train helps minimize bulky measurements.  Long sleeves are good, but avoid frills, and tiny straps.
Beautiful long sleeved, high neck gown with dropped waistline and full skirt forming a train.
Sophisticated A-line delustered satin long sleeves gown feautring lovely beading along the neckline
If you have a LARGE FIGURE you need simple lines and plain fabrics.  Off white, ivory or champagne shade of fabrics will help.  Look for simple relaxed lines. A draped bodice to one side with a floating vertical panel will help achieve a slimmer look.  Choose full length fitted sleeves.
Avoid anything exaggerated or tight-fitting.
2 beautiful gowns for the larger frame - designed by Alfred Angelo, USA
ALREADY BEEN A BRIDE but getting married again .....
Cream high neck Venetian lace halter with built-in bra.
Batteau neck sheath has matching boxjacket with Swarovski crystal clusters.
Venice lace duster with silk underdress
Empire bodice of crystal beaded silk chiffon with Aline silk crepe skirt by Givenchy
All-over embroidery with sprays of tiny leaves, beaded with clusters of matching pearls and seed crystals.
Second time Brides could be aged from 20 to 80, could be widowed or divorced.  Some may want the full works again, others may just want something simple.  A few ideas to look at here.
This is just a fun guide to some gowns to help with your selections.
When you visit a bridal store or dressmaker, have an idea of what your vision is , or the theme you wish to have for your special day.  Take magazine clippings but remember the models wearing the gowns in the photos are not always your body shape.  A wedding gown may look wonderful in a magazine but may not look good on you.  A consultant will help you find the right gown, so take heed of advice you receive.  
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Made 2000
Updated 9 Sept. 2004