Choose a wedding dress for your body shape – with vintage expert Zoe Lem

In case you’ve missed our announcements over the last few days, we’re very excited to be taking to the stage at the Zoe Lem Vintage Wedding Fair as part of her panel of vintage-loving experts. Yesterday, we introduced you to a bit of what Zoe does with a fabulous round up of dresses through the ages. Today we’ll be revealing how to find out which of those styles suits you. Zoe guest posts on the blog today to tell you how to figure out your figure and choose the most flattering dress for your body type! 

What looks good in a magazine won’t suit everyone

So many women spend hours trawling through the internet on online wedding magazines and blogs, skimming through the pages of glossy magazines, rummaging through the rails of bridal boutiques all with the one mission:  finding that perfect dress.

Everyone wants look and feel amazing on their big day so finding a dress that flatters you by makes the most of your assets is the main objective. However, finding the dress that makes you feel a million bucks is often easier said than done.

After all the time spent finding inspiration and pulling together the looks that you love, you need to really consider what will actually work on your body rather than the model in the photo.  It can sometimes be an unkind tease when some of the dresses look amazing in the shots, and the era is one that you have always dreamed of replicating, but when you go to try on that dress, it doesn’t look right.

So before you set your heart on a dress, it’s important to take a good look at its features and yours. Are they compatible? Is there volume in the right places? Does it nip in at you smallest bit rather than draw attention to the widest bit?   Questions, questions important questions that will make the difference between a dress looking like it was made for you or like it was meant for someone else.

Get to know your body and how to accentuate your best features

There is no such thing as the wrong dress, just the right dress on the wrong body type. You are the shape that you are, which is perfect, and especially at wedding time it is important not to put too much pressure on yourself to change that. So many girls are intent on dieting and losing weight before the big day, but rather than trying to shape your body into something it isn’t, learn to use the tricks and illusions with clothing and dress to enhance your natural shape.

After 15 years plus as a stylist and designer, I have dressed so many bodies and I assure you no two bodies are the same.  We all have bits that we don’t like and bits that we do and though I could tell you that you are perfectly in proportion, if you feel uncomfortable and self conscious then it will affect the way that you feel on the day.  If you feel good you will look good.

Dressing for different body types

 If you have an hourglass shape – hips and shoulders in line with a nipped in waist you want to work with your curves and accentuate the waist.  Be wary of adding too much volume to the hips. Generally shapes that are either fitted over the hips or A-line will work best.

♥ If you are pear shaped – smaller shoulders than hips with a nipped in waist (it is not about the bust but shoulders, so many ladies get it wrong and are actually an hourglass) you need to bring the balance back to the shoulders and add width.  Avoid halter neck or strapless unless worn with a bolero. Dresses with a sleeve, gathered shoulder or wide strap will give the balance back to the hips.  An A-line skirt will both balance and hide the hips so that one can’t see where the hips end the legs begin.

♥ If you are straight up and down – hips and shoulders in line and no nipped in waist you need to create a waist.  Add volume to the hips through a gathered waist as long as you balance with the shoulders. 1950s full skirts can be a great option as they will create the perfect hourglass silhouette for you, oh the tricks that we can play with clothes!

And some final words of wisdom

Most women’s smallest bit is under the bust so you want to nip in higher than you think, it may feel strange to begin with but trust me it will make a huge difference to the overall silhouette.  Be really honest with yourself as to what works and doesn’t – if you choose a dress purely because you love it or it has the most sparkles not because it suits you, you may regret it.

There is a perfect dress out there for everyone it is just about choosing the right one for you, not for a model in the pages of a magazine.

To here more about what suits who and why and which era works best for which body shape come to listen to my talks at Zoe Lem’s Vintage Wedding Fair and chat to me about what I think will work for you.

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