Choosing the Perfect Dress

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

How to Know When You’ve Found (the Other) Right One

There’s really no substitute for the perfect dress. Try as you might, no matter how many boutiques you visit, no matter how many fittings and designs and types of lace you run through your fingers, if it doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t right. You’ll know it when you see it; it’ll just be there, waiting for you. Of course, this can be easier said than done.

A wedding dress is high up on the list of things long dreamt about. Though not every little girl dreams of her wedding or the perfect dress, or even what her wedding will be like if she chooses to have one, many still do. Only problem is, the dreams we have when we’re young don’t always translate to clear actions when we’re grown up. What might seem like a perfect vision at 10 can start to feel like a stressful obligation at 30. And nothing derails the experience faster than stress.

When you’re on the hunt for your dress, it’s a big piece of the whole. It’s meant to be the centerpiece of one of the most important days of your life. To say pressure is involved would be an understatement. But, the experience can, and should, be joyful. Hopefully, one of the highest points of the wedding planning process. So pressure yes, but only because it's so very exciting. We see brides come in to the boutique at all levels of preparedness. Some who have researched, tried-on, read all the articles and blogs about fit and body type. Then others who haven't even thought about it.. total blank slate. Coming from either place is perfectly fine. What matters is the bride's expectation. But having a few things in check, will definitely help your experience be happy, relaxing, and productive.

The first is choosing your boutique. What type of experience do you want to have? Don't be afraid to call ahead of time to get an understanding of how it all works. What designers do they carry, which sizes, how long is the appointment, how many people can join? Etc.

Passing the Vibe Check

The first step is to choose your vibe. Many brides-to-be come in with Pinterest boards and Instagram inspo that help them tell the story of their 'vibe'. The feel of your wedding is almost always something that brides are certain of. Whether it's a modern, chic wedding with clean-lines, city lights, and black-tie. Or maybe a rustic, laid back wedding with bonfires and roasted marshmallows. Deep down, we know what the story of "US" is supposed to feel like. We don’t always know what we want is called or the fashion specifics, but we know it when we see it, and when we try it on, we hope the magic happens and it just all clicks together. So think about what those adjectives might be. Romantic, rustic, modern, boho, sexy, eclectic, etc. Your bridal stylist knows her inventory. Dresses look much different on a body, than they do on a hanger. So if your stylist understands your vibe; she immediately knows which wedding gowns fit that feeling.

Vibe is more than just style—it’s energy. It’s look. It’s how you feel and how it makes others feel. That can seem vague, but think about it: where’s your venue? What style would you like? What’s your location and your theme? From this, you find the dress that fits with your vibe. While there are many specific elements and terms to translate—organza, lace, fit-and-flare, dress designer, A-line, and a host of others—meeting with a designer and a boutique that understands and can translate your vision (and your Pinterest board) to sequins and hems gets the ball rolling on your dream come true.

Location, Fabrics, and Design

Picking your location and your theme has other practical considerations. Knowing if your wedding is outdoor or indoor, and types of weather for the former, helps you organize fabric decisions. While most fabrics are suitable all year long, chiffon and organza are better for warmer weather, for instance. Some types of lace look better for rustic settings, and certain designers (like Madi Lane or Lillian West) provide an authentic and exotic aesthetic for more Boho settings. Designers like Justin Alexander design stunning dresses out of rich luxe crepe and buttery satin that are perfect for classic, elegant weddings, or modern and contemporary venues.

Keep fabrics in mind when you’re exploring your options. Ensure you have a bridal stylist who understands what silhouette is best for your frame and ideas. Heavier fabrics like taffeta hold their shape and smooth your figure, which can be desirable if you’re trying to highlight your curves. Chiffon and silks can provide a willowier look, which accent natural body shape well. Make sure to focus on fit rather than size. Bridalwear can run a small. Don’t feel discouraged if your dress size is bigger than what you normally wear. Just focus on how it looks and fits.

A popular trend for 2021-2022 has been retro. No, not that retro—think more like the ‘90s. Slip dresses and streamlined sheaths have entered into fashion, not fully replacing the ball gowns but giving us enough to think about. Assymetrical flowy organza fabrics for summer weddings are always in style, and they remain so during the waning days of the pandemic and the necessity of outdoor weddings. Don’t be afraid to pursue what you like, even if it seems unconventional or out of style. The most fashionable trend right now is authentic self-expression. Wear what feels like YOU, what makes you feel confident, and comfortable.