Finding The Perfect Dress

The other night I was up late and randomly thinking about wedding bits and pieces, which led me to quickly scribbling a post on my side blog about dresses. I thought I'd share it here too, so that you can share your feedback.

You see, I've not really tackled the bridal dress experience yet - my one fairly average experience is a whole massive blog post in itself, which I'll write about soon. But what I have done in the meantime is spend goodness knows how many hours researching dresses on the internet and in magazines, and trying to figure out what sort of dress will best suit my larger frame and make me feel comfortable on the wedding day. It's not as easy as it sounds!

I've taken quiz after quiz about body shapes.
I've bookmarked dozens of dresses from designers all over the world.
I've debated which shade of white or ivory would suit me best.
It's kind of overwhelming - especially when you're just not a dress person!

I seem to keep coming back to just one particular favourite style - with a few recurring elements. The first is lace: I have a bit of an obsession with it. Of the dozens and dozens of pages that I've added to my favourites, I guarantee that 95% of them involve a lacy overlay or are made from pure lace fabric. I don't like a huge train, so my ideal train would be fairly minimal, just a nice simple flare at the bottom of the skirt.

But possibly the biggest factor for me is the kind of neckline I'm looking for: I want a v-neck with wider straps. I have a fairly decent sized chest, so want to use that area as a feature {perhaps to draw away from my less than ideal stomach?} and a v-neck will allow me to wear a well supported bra. Strapless bras on my figure do not work well. They're also uncomfortable. I've always suited wider straps, so I'd like to incorporate that into my wedding dress.

So there you have it: I'm on the hunt for a lacy, v-neck wedding dress that will flatter my curves and not leave me looking like I'm draped in a tent. Sounds simple enough, but now I have to find it!

There are plenty of styles that match on the web, but the tricky part is hunting one down in Sydney, Australia - which might not be the easiest thing to do. From the stores I visited while I was back home & from my time spent scouring designs online, the majority of styles featured were strapless (which had straight or princess necklines) or halter-necks. When I mentioned the type I was looking for, I was told that they don't carry it.

I have to look more once I'm back in Sydney, I know. But it worries me that the one style I've sorted of decided WILL BE MINE, is going to be difficult to find and/or very costly to get shipped over to me. I'm quite nervous about the hunt for the perfect dress, so I'm hoping that doing some research before I go back home permanently will make it that little bit easier. At present, I have one contender lined up - the question will be whether that sample will still be around by the time I'm back in December, so fingers crossed it will be! It's hard enough finding the style that I'm seeking - it's even harder finding stores that carry bigger sizes that will allow me to try them on.

Did you know what sort of dress you wanted? Did your dress match up to the style you expected to love?


27 Comments • Labels: ,  

27 comments:

Becky said...

I found my dress totally by accident. I had no idea of what I wanted except I knew I didn't want a huge poofy tulle princes-y dress. I went with my best friend to try on ugly dresses (it was only about a month after we got engaged so I still had over a year 'till the wedding and thought it would be fun to try on things that were hideously ugly), and tried on one and when I stepped out of the dressing room I just said a quiet, "oh." And that was it.

What looks good on the hanger doesn't always look good on your body and vice versa so it's great that you have an idea of what you're looking for but don't be afraid to try on dresses even if you think they won't look good!

janet said...

As a fellow V neck wide strap bride I think that's a great choice! I love lace too. I bet you can find what you're looking for :)

Hilary said...

I had a planned elopement on the beach in Aruba. So I knew I just wanted a simple, white sundress. My mom actually was shopping one day and stumbled upon the perfect dress. She picked it up for me, and not only did I love it, it fit perfectly! Good luck with your search!

Amanda said...

Not that I'm, you know, getting married, but I know that I would want V neck wide straps, too. I'm not so much into the lace (primarily because I don't browse bridal forums, so can't imagine lace that doesn't look like my Mum's dress, which looks very dated now!), but I'm sure what you're looking at is a) awesome and b) out there to be found.

I'd probably end up making my own dress (which is hilarious, because I always thought growing up that I didn't like my Mum's dress because she made it, and that made it lower quality-- now I just think it's because the early 80s style didn't appeal to me!), and it probably wouldn't be full length... and not all one colour.

Not that I've thought about it, or anything.

Karen said...

Obviously I haven't had to buy a dress yet as I am not married, but I think I would also like to get a dress with wider straps and a v-neck. I hope you find *your* dress.

heidikins said...

I was totally spoiled. I scoured a million different dresses and designed the one I wanted with bits and pieces from several runway shots. I gave the drawing to my mom, she looked at it for a little while and a six weeks later I had it in-hand. I always forget that many people don't have this option. I am of no help. Sorry dahling!

xox

Erin said...

My dress actually ended up having spaghetti straps, which surprised me since I like to wear a real bra. I ended up having bra cups sewn into the dress. The bodice was tight enough that it was a complete non-issue.

I had no idea what I was looking for when I found my dress. I mostly just went to the bridal shop my sister worked at to play around and happened to stumble upon my perfect dress. I guess you just never know when it will find you!

nicole said...

I can't help much, my wedding dress was the first one I tried on! But I love the idea of straps, mine had them and it just looks so much more interesting than the standard strapless a-line.

Make sure to try on oodles and oodles of dresses, even if you think they look horrible on the hanger. Finding out what you don't like helps as much as finding out what you do.

Stephanie said...

I had no clue what I wanted. I was not one of those little girls who always dreamed of a certain dress. I went to my first bridal shoppe and tried on about twenty dresses and immediately knew I loved the one. Since it was only my first time trying on dresses I tried on a few more but then came back a few weeks later and ordered it. I ordered it 18 months before our wedding and was so nervous that I wouldn't be in love with it as much once it came it so I kept going back sporatically and trying on the sample dress. I have a bigger chest so I was worried about busting out of my dress, but I ended up with a strapless one. As long as it is tailored enough and you have good undergarmets, it will be fine.

I say go in and try on lots and lots. Or try on some in London just for fun to see what shapes (full skirt, etc) you like on your body. Take along someone you can have fun with too! I tried on a dress that had feathers all over it just for laughs. And laugh we did until we saw another girl come out in the same dress and she was serious!

thoughtsappear said...

I love looking at wedding dresses. Good luck in your search!

Dayna said...

I've had an image of my perfect wedding dress for about 5 years now. Since a wedding is in my distant future, I haven't been able to find out if it'll actually work for me.

At least you have an idea of what you're looking for but I reckon you should try on as many as you can in as many different styles! THE dress may be a style you never even considered before...

Jess said...

I had a general concept of what I wanted and the dress I got fit it in some ways but not at all in others. It had beading and a fairly long train, neither of which I was planning on, but when I tried it on I just fell in love. I will say that if you're looking to hide your stomach one of the best things you can do is get a dress with some asymmetrical ruching across the abdomen. It's incredibly slimming! Something along these lines: http://www.maggiesottero.com/dress.aspx?style=J1373

Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

I say just start trying things on. You never know till you try it - and make sure to try something you aren't sure you'll like because you never know!

Angela Noelle said...

Oooh, I love the one that's second from the right.

My assvice is to just go into your search with a completely open mind. Dresses you think you'll love might look terrible on and dresses that look hideous on the hanger look gorgeous on your body. Everything I thought I wanted in a dress was pretty much the opposite of the one I ended up wearing ;)

steph anne said...

Just go in and try on some dresses and see how you feel in them. I went for a strapless dress. I did NOT want to have a train but the dress I was in love with had a mini-train so I went with it anyways.

Good luck and you will know when you find the right dress!

~Mum~ said...

just not strapless !!!!

we just need to go try on LOTS

Sue said...

I agree with all the advice to try on plenty ... take the suggestions about which ones to try on which are offered to you while you are shopping too ... they see lots of brides and would have a good idea about which styles suit which type of bride ... and remember if all else fails there is absolutely no reason why you can't find a design (or design it yourself) and have a reputable dressmaker make it for you ... there must be lots in Sydney who do it!

Kirsten said...

I didn't try on any dresses, mostly because I was overwhelmed with wedding planning (and dealing with my mom) that I didn't want to confuse myself. I ordered a steel-boned corset, which is something I already wear from time to time so I knew I'd wear it again, also because I knew it was the only way I'd get a flat tummy in time for the wedding (we got engaged in March 2008 and married 3 months later). Then I looked at bridesmaids separates at the bridal megamart, picked one, tried it on, liked the way it felt and looked, and ordered a white one. Lucky me that it didn't need any alterations! A few accessories completed the look - a red sash for my waist and bolero jacket to hide my back cleavage.

I do kinda wish now that I had tried on other dresses, but I did have a hard time spending any money on the pieces I only wore once (the skirt), so I'm glad I didn't fall in love with something expensive. But had I gone with a traditional dress, it would have been close to what you're looking for, but without the lace.

Kate said...

There were LOADS of v-neck lacy numbers in Auckland when I was looking, so they must be SOMEWHERE in Sydney (though I'll admit, they did tend to be at the dearer places....)

But I definitely think the shopping experience is the only way to find out what suits you. I did end up with what I initially expected, but it was the trial and error that convinced me I was right!

Emily Jane said...

I went through two dresses before I found "The One"! I had the idea in my head that I wanted one without a train, that was very simple, plain, no rouching or bustles or beads or anything... bought one... and all it did was show all the bulges I wanted to hide!! I ended up with one that was definitely not what I would've picked - covered in rouching, sequins and embroidery - with a train :)

Definitely a good idea to try on lots of dresses - you may be surprised!

lifeofadoctorswife said...

Gah. Dress shopping. It was ROUGH.

What I am really glad about, though, is that I did so much looking and didn't fixate on just one dress. Well, okay, I did find The Dress in photos, but I had a whole list of other options to try, so when The Dress made me look like a puffy marshmallow wrapped in gauze... Well, I wasn't totally crushed.

Good luck - I am sure you will find something lovely and comfortable. (And just to let you know - which I WISH someone had told me - I don't believe in the myth of "The One." I think there are lots of great dresses and you'll find something fabulous!)

KT said...

Your best bet is to try EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING on. I tried on dresses that I thought I would HATE and they ended up looking good on me and were possibilities.

I am also a bit bigger with a very large chest. The dress that I ended up buying was a strapless dress which I was NOT comfortable with. However, I had a seamstress make straps that matched and I was able to wear a bra all night long. It was such a relief.

Rouching is your best friend- especially in the stomach area. I also had a corset dress that laced up in back. Not only did I not have to worry if I didn't lose enough weight/lost too much weight (as I might have if the dress had a zipper), but I didn't need spanx or anything weird under the dress.

I don't believe in the "perfect" dress. I found one that was inexpensive enough to justify wearing it for only one day and thought that it flattered me.

Janssen said...

I was really surprised by what a girly dress I picked - it had a lot of beading on it, but it wasn't poofy, which was important to me.

terra said...

If I've got any advice for wedding dress shopping, it's to try on all different types of styles (except for the ones that make you gag, of course). You never know what you might find that you might love once you're actually wearing it. Other than that, have fun!

Julie Q said...

not at all! i didn't think I wanted strapless- but after trying on a ton of dresses, and looking at them all in pictures of me wearing them- it stood out among all the others. Always take pix when dress shopping, it makes all the dif in the world!

Chantel said...

Goodluck with your dress search. I reckon it's one of the harder choices of the day. I have always wished I could wear dresses but never feel right in them (due to my size). I hope you find the one perfect for you and look forward to reading about when you try them on :-) x

Mrs. Higrens said...

I went in thinking I knew what I wanted, like you, straps, please!, and simple, and that's what I ended up with (picture here: http://higrensandco.blogspot.com/2008/01/just-because.html) but I ended up trying on a ton, just for kicks and giggles both before and after I found it.

Some were hideous (truly, there was one with dried rosebuds in mesh on the skirt...), some looked okay and would have worked, and some just made me look like I was playing dress up.

Only you know whether you are willing to settle for one which works and is affordable or if you must have one you love. I was lucky to find one which scored on both points.





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