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Tips for Choosing a Wedding Dress Silhouette for Your Body

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My dress: top and skirt

From the get go I knew that finding the dress that would most flatter my frame wouldn’t be an easy task, and I knew others would want to know the process I went through. For reference, i’m 5’6, about 190 pounds at this point, with a 36F bust and a short torso. Meaning, my body isn’t a “straight” size, and finding a dress that flattered me was more challenging than I care to admit.

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I vowed to try on dresses of every silhouette, style and shape before making my decision; and try on every dress I did. Some were really bad (above), some weren’t so horrendous (below), but there were a few key factors I considered across each style I tried.


1. Did I feel pretty? <-- Above all else, I wanted to feel beautiful on my wedding day, and if trying on a dress didn't produce that feeling, I moved on.


2. Was my chest supported? <-- I have a large chest, and I didn't want to worry about falling out all over the place on my wedding day. If I loved a dress that didn't allow for straps, I seriously thought about how difficult alterations would be to add straps of some kind. Which brings me to my next, most crucial piece of advice.


3. You don’t have to take dresses as they come. <-- With every dress I tried on I considered whether or not I could make simple alterations to it that would make me more comfortable. In my mind that was: a) could I add thin, or thick, straps? b) Could the cups be expanded to really fit my chest? Both of these alterations are relatively minimal, but in the end made a huge difference for me.

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When it came down to it these tips were crucial, but not as important as the last one, which I discovered as a result of an amazing sales associate at the Nordstrom Wedding Suite in San Francisco (highly recommend, by the way): Think outside the box.

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This woman recommended that I try on a two piece dress (!?). Can you believe it? Cue the freakout moment. My immediate response? “I am NOT wearing a crop top to my wedding…” Duh. But nope, wedding dresses these days come in two pieces that allow the bride a bit more customization.

In my case, I purchased a tulle skirt (of the fullness I desired), and a bustier top of a style I loved. This allowed me to wear the skirt at my most flattering, natural waist, instead of the pre-defined waist of a one-piece dress. Score!

This was the top and skirt I ended up with. Absolutely stunning, comfortable for the day, and one that I felt like really flattered my figure.

And now, time for some beautiful wedding photos, courtesy of Carla Boecklin Photography.

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