Dress Structure 101
BT's owner and expert, Kelly Shumate is armed with some basic information about dresses and we'll be sharing more as inspiration hits. As it happens, she's asked loads of questions not just about the style of a gown, but why certain dresses feel and fit differently. There are big differences for sure and Kelly's view is that an informed bride tends to make the right decision about her gown - be it in style, shape, embellishments, size, etc. Informed brides are more often happy brides and those are always our goal.
So grab a pen, have a read and always feel free to ask questions when you're in our boutique. We're here to help!
Brides ask me all kinds of questions about wedding gowns, but today I want to focus on the structure that makes a gown a gown and not just a sundress or simple sheath.
Dresses have structure built into them like boning through the bodice and in the bra, and these allow the gown to have and to hold a shape. In fact, that structure helps to keep the dress where it's supposed to be on your body. If you buy a white sundress for a beach wedding, that's another story. What I am talking about is wanting to have the elegance and fitted look that makes a bride look and feel like a bride.
When trying on dresses, girls tend to push on the boning and I'm always smacking their hands and telling them to stop! They want it to feel a certain way, but the fact is you can bend or even break it and then you end up with a concave or saggy looking bust area. I don't need to tell you (but I will) this is not an attractive look.
Quick history lesson, girls: from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries into the early 20th century, women's undergarments had built in structure. It was unavoidable. If you've seen the movie High Anxiety, Nurse Diesel (played by actress Cloris Leachman) wore a bra that would poke your eye out. (Ask your mom or gramma; they'll know...or look below). They were padded more, more pointy, had more seams criss-crossing for shape and modesty and women just put up with it. Then in the late 60s and early 70s women started burning their bras AND NOW YOU KNOW WHY! But that's another blog.
These days, comfort is king and we've become accustomed to spandex and stretchy fabrics that provide a smooth look, mold to whatever shape we are, but provide very little structure. Girls see themselves in a gown with a structured bodice, it feels weird when compared to our everyday clothes, so in-turn they feel like they look weird. I assure you they do not. Below are gowns with no or light structure and both are fabulous and I will say, more comfortable.
I would like to provide one caveat about comfort equalling no structure: my bias for structured gowns is based on the fact that generally they just look better. They make brides look gorgeous and elegant. Everything is held into place, if you catch my drift, and they are not the tortured garments that make a girl feel like she cannot breathe.
Now! Manufacturers of wedding gowns ARE catching up. They are making gowns that have almost no or absolutely no boning or structure and they are slick and slinky, but we don't sell a ton of them because ultimately brides realize that they want to look like a bride, not a girl on the catwalk. If you want beading, lace and off the shoulder looks (just to name a few options) then some built in boning is a must.
It's important to me and to the BT team that all brides feel their most beautiful and their most comfortable. It's doable, ladies and we're here to help you!
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