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O Bridal Attire
including a revealing scoop neckline, V, square, halter and open necklines.
Gown shopping tips
Your shopping experience should be fun and enjoyable, yet focused. Keep in mind that you may have to visit several shops, and even make more than one trip to find the gown you truly love. Be patient and don’t wait until the last minute. Most shop owners suggest ordering your gown seven to eight months before your wed- ding to allow for delivery, fittings and alterations. This also allows time to have your bridal portrait ready for display at your reception.
Unless you do your best shopping alone, bring along a companion to serve as an advisor. Consider your mother or other relative, a friend, or even a profes- sional bridal or beauty consultant. One person we know brought along her long- time hair stylist who had a keen knowl- edge of the bride’s style and preferences, as well as an excellent sense of color, fash- ion, and design.
The person you take along with you should be one who can remain patient and unruffled by the process (even if it takes awhile), help you stay within your budget, and above all, promise to be painfully honest and objective about what looks good on you. Anyone who would tell you that you look marvelous in a burlap bag should be delegated to another task.
Also, keep the shopping party small with no more than two people joining you. This is no time for the whole family, your entourage of bridesmaids, or your entire sorority or office staff to tag along. Too many opinions can create confusion, and add more pressure to an already over- whelming venture.
Find out which stores have the best sales help. You’ll find that some sales people do nothing more than point the
way to the racks and the fitting rooms, while others are known for their exper- tise and service. Be prudent when patron- izing those that serve complimentary champagne or wine. While a sip of bubbly can help put you at ease and add a sense of celebration to the task at hand, too much can adversely affect your decision-making, and it may prompt you to overspend.
One final note about shopping: wear appropriate attire for trying on gowns, including hosiery and dress shoes. Bring along any treasured piece of jewelry you may want to wear with your gown. Also, salons appreciate it if you wear light make-up to keep from soiling the dresses. Attention to these small details will help ensure that you make the right choice.
Tips for specific figure types:
If you are petite (5’4” or under), consid- er an A-line, Empire or Princess silhouette with a jeweled neckline and a short or capped sleeve. The vertical lines of a slightly flared or A-line skirt will also give the illusion of added height. Another option is an off-the-shoulder, scalloped, V-neck bodice with a Basque dropped waist that dips to a V-shape point at the center front of the dress. Instead of a gathered skirt, choose a skirt with larger flat pleats.
If you are tall and slender, your selec- tion process will be more difficult, but only because there will be so many styles that will look wonderful on you. Your choices will be numerous, from the dramatic sophistication of a sheath, to the romantic look of a gown with a neckline that just skims the shoulders, accented by a flared or tiered skirt. A jewel or scooped neckline with a horizon- tally shirred and sleeveless bodice, and a pleated or slightly gathered skirt will be another great look.
If you have narrow shoulders and waist with full hips, choose a gown that draws the eyes upward such as a gown with a bodice that is detailed with beading or lace appliques, an off-the-shoulder, por- trait collar, or a scoop neckline with a short sleeve. To disguise heavier hips, choose a soft full skirt with minimum detailing.
For full figures, consider a slender- izing Princess, A-line, or Empire style with vertical panels, or try a Basque waist with a soft flared or pleated skirt. A sweetheart neckline is a wonderful option for the bride that is large-busted. A jeweled or Sabrina neckline also pres- ents other flattering options. A 3/4- straight sleeve, or long straight sleeve will complete your look.
If your bust and hip measurements are approximately equal and you have a small waist, stay with classic lines. The classic elegance of simplicity carried so well by Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O. may be the perfect silhouette for you. Also, try an open or V-neckline with off-the- shoulder, short, cap or long sleeves and a fitted, natural, or slightly dropped waist- line, with a full skirt or, if you prefer, a sheath with a train.
The Perfect Gown
Once you begin trying on different styles it will quickly become apparent what designs are most flattering. Try on all styles of gowns at first – even designs that you wouldn’t normally be drawn to. You may be surprised at how they look. Once you see what works, try on several gowns with the same silhouette.
As you can see, there is a lot to con- sider when buying this oh-so-special dress. But it’s not anything you can’t handle equipped with this information and enough time to really shop until you find that perfect gown – thne gown you’ve imagined yourself in since the day you
said “yes” to his proposal. AC W
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