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Flatter Your Figure --- Make a White Gown Figure Flattering

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This past Valentine's weekend marked my 7th wedding anniversary. Since my youngest cousin took up photography, my husband and I asked her to take some anniversary photos of us. While having fun dressing as a bride again, I came up with ideas on how to pull off a white gown. Hopefully, these tips will help newly engaged ladies as well as those of you going to a black and white ball or planning a vow renewal

First of all, let me share how to work with a short torso, which is my main concern. Please note that a strapless neckline will make a short torso appear even shorter. It was a real challenge to me that almost all the bridal gowns I saw were strapless during my engagement. How did I deal with it? I added on a organza bolero in the same white color as my bridal gown. 

I've recently had pink silk roses added to the white organza ruffle bolero I wore with my bridal gown, because 3D florals are currently trendy, and bright florals on white gowns have been hot since Hollywood launched a colorfully embroidered Cinderella wedding dress last year. 

It's very easy to sew silk flowers onto a dress, so you don't necessarily have to buy one coming with 3D florals. It's harder to find a bolero that matches a strapless dress perfectly though (it took me a long time to search for one). That means it's better to pick a gown with a high neckline if you have a short torso like mine. Fortunately, strapless dresses are no longer dominant.  

(The photos below are hot links to the outlet of Neiman Marcus or Bloomingdale's as long as the gowns are available.)

You can save money by purchasing a white gown from a department store instead of a bridal salon if you don't mind it not having a train. Actually, this is not a problem at all because you can easily put on a chapel veil and let the long tail of the veil drag on the floor to serve as your train. 


See, my wedding gown (from a department store) only has a small sweep train, but I've got chapel veil to make up for the length. 

You probably have noticed the shortness of my torso in the strapless bridal gown. I had to go strapless while wearing the chapel veil which just wouldn't mix well with my ruffle bolero. This is one more reason for getting a gown with a higher neckline (instead of copying me by covering a strapless dress with a bolero) if you have a short torso, too.

On the other hand, if you have a long torso, the strapless neckline will be right for you. As a matter of fact, all types of floor-length gowns work well for a long torso, because you won't need to worry about your legs looking proportionally short in any of them. You can easily length your lower body by wearing high heels, which will be hidden in your gown. 

A long torso tends to present an apparent waistline, which will naturally look fantastic in a fitted bodice and won't require any help from a waistband

By contrast, belting is often necessary for a short torso to accentuate the waist

Please DON'T use a sash, which will loosen when you move around. If you have a short torso like mine, you need a belt that stays tight. You may say a belt doesn't match your wedding gown as nicely as a sash does. Yes, but you can follow my example by cutting off the jeweled embellishment of a sash and sewing it onto the front center of a silver (a shade darker than white for a slimming effect) fabric belt which closes with snap buttons in the back. Then you get the glamour of the sash and the waist cinching effect of the belt.  

Now with the waist taken care of, what about the bust and hips? 

In terms of the bust, you should wear a bra no matter what size your bust measurement is. A wired bra will give support for big boobs while a padded bra enhances a small chest. If you are really small-busted, select a gown with thick beading or 3D florals on the bust to add volume there.

As for the hips, regardless of your hip measurement, an A line is universally flattering. It makes small hips seem fuller and large hips appear less fleshy. 

Those with wide hips should pick a clean A line, which means NO gathering right below the waist, because gathering would create extra volume. In the meantime, gathering is OK when it comes below the widest point of the hips. Down from there, you can have whatever design, because the lower portion of the skirt doesn't hug your body and therefore won't affect your shape. 

Now, as ruffles are in, why not get a gown with a ruffle A-line skirt like mine? 

My vertical ruffles were fashion forward seven years ago. They are just on trend this year.

Happy shopping!


Flatter Your Figure

Flatter Your Figure is a weekly blog on about how to make the latest fashion work for real women of all body types. It presents a new post every Wednesday or Thursday.