Wedding Dresses

April 11, 2010

Apparently this week is Bridal Fashion Week in New York City, which means lots of new dresses are on display. I’ve spent plenty of time looking at dresses online and I am constantly amazed by how many ridiculous dresses there are out there. Obviously, the dress, for some women, is a statement of fashion and money. A very couture gown, like Carrie’s in “Sex in the City” is more about fashion than anything else. As ¬†woman on display, it’s important to put on a show, right?

But couture isn’t for me. I like and appreciate fashion. I enjoy watching “Project Runway.” But most fashion just isn’t practical and a lot of times, it just doesn’t look good.

Like most girls, I’ve definitely sat through an entire episode (or multiple episodes) of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” and the main things I’ve learned from that show is that you need to dress for you body type, what looks good in your head may not look good on your body and finally, there are a lot of ugly wedding dresses out there.

Any good bridal magazine will have an article every month going through best styles for body types. I’m short at 5’4″, but not petite. I have a slight hourglass figure. My hips and bust are both pretty average sized. In fact, I’m probably one of those lucky brides who will be able to fit into almost every sample size gown at the shop. The bridal magazines have told me time and again that I should look for sheath to make me look taller and A-line because everyone looks good in A-line. Ball gowns can overwhelm a petite frame and drop waist will just make my legs look short. I’m not sure whether I qualify, so to speak, to wear mermaid or trumpet, but I generally think those two styles are hideous, so I’m not going to worry about them.

What amazes me in looking at photos out of the bridal shows is how many ball gowns there are. the ladies over at AisleDash.com have some fantastic galleries up from bridal fashion week and I have to say, I’m not finding anything that I would like to wear, much less would look good on me. Ten out of eleven of the dresses in Kenneth Pool’s collection are ball gowns, drop-waist ball gowns or mermaid style dresses that look a lot like uber-drop-waisted ball gowns. Most of them, accounting for personal taste, were lovely on the models, but years of watching “America’s Next Top Model” have taught me that most models are 5’9″ and above and stick thin. These dresses won’t look good on most regular women.

There has also been a focus on either tulle, especially for the skirts, and sateen material, with a lot of shine. So much of the fabric seems so heavy. The skirts have no movement to them, because there’s just so much weight to them. At the New York Wedding Event, I was able to touch a few of the dresses and I don’t know what they were made of, but the fabric did not feel comfortable. It felt fake, like polyester of some sort.

The other important feature to look for on wedding dresses are the details; the fabric, beading, lace, etc. Many of the dresses I’ve seen have layers of tulle, ruffles, feathers and lots of pleating. I have to admit, I don’t think I have thevocabulary to really describe some of these dresses. I think one of the styles that I’ve seen a lot lately I can really only call the cupcake affect, meaning the skirt looks like a giant cupcake. I’ve also seen a lot of over-the-top beading, rhinestones and jewels, which I think distract from the dress itself.

And of course, necklines. Strapless have been popular for ages. I have never gotten on board with the idea of a strapless dress. I have horrible visions of the dress falling down or, at the very least, tugging at it all night long. Sweetheart necklines are supposed to look good on anyone, but again, I don’t see it for me. I think my favorite neckline style is V-neck. I think it’s the most flattering style and, depending on how deep it goes, it could be very sexy without being too over the top.

And finally, there’s the issue of straps. Like I mentioned. I don’t want a strapless dress, but it is amazing how many ugly strap options there are out there. It seems the plain old ordinary spaghetti strap is too simply for a lot of designers. I think my least favorite is the David’s Bridal lacey triangle like things. I think they’re hideous.

So after spending a lot of time talking about what I don’t like, what do I like? I want something romantic and sweet. I want sheath or a slight A-line. I want to look tall and thin. I want a fabric that’s soft with a lot of movement, probably a silk of some sort. I really like the lace overlay look, but I want a more modern lace. While look at a wedding magazine a while ago I found the exact dress I want. I don’t know if it’ll actually look good but on paper, it has everything I’m looking for. The dress, seen here on the left is by Robert Bullock, his Francesca gown. I think it’s stunning. The lace detail and beading is not too over the top. The neckline is perfect and the satin details on the neckline continue to the back and make a cross on the back. I think everything about the gown is perfect and I’m hoping it’ll look perfect on me.

Luckily, Robert Bullock’s flagship salon is right in New York City, so I’m hoping to make an appointment there this summer. My problem is that I know I shouldn’t just try on one gown. I know I should go out and try a bunch of things on, make appointments at a bunch of different bridal shops and salons and get to know the process of trying on gowns, decide what looks good on me and really get a feel for the whole wedding gown industry. But I don’t want to. I want to go to Robert Bullock’s salon, try on this dress and buy it.

I know I definitely don’t want to make an appointment at a big bridal warehouse like Kleinfeld’s (especially since their dresses are ugly and expensive, but that’s just my opinion), but I feel bad making an appointment at a small boutique place and essentially wasting someone’s time. I know so many of these stores pay their employees on commission and I’d feel bad having someone spend such a long time helping me when I know I’m not going to buy their dress. And, on the other hand, I’m afraid of falling in love with a dress before I get to try the Robert Bullock one on!

The wedding dress is such a big part of the whole wedding experience. It’s no surprise that it’s probably going to be one of the most stressful.