When a bride walks down the aisle, all eyes are on her – and her gown. So it’s no wonder that choosing the right dress is practically as big a decision as choosing the right husband. How does a bride-to-be know which is “the one”? Flipping through bridal magazines can be overwhelming, and browsing in boutiques can be hit or miss. But here’s some help from fashion school experts who’ve got their (ring) finger on the pulse of bridal fashion design. These top trends will make brides walking down the aisle feel like they’re walking down the runway.
Ball gown silhouettes. For some women, bridal gowns are all about fantasy, so the voluminous skirts that make the bride look like she’s walking on a cloud contribute to the fairy tale effect. Whether the ball gown is covered in embroidery, ruffles or feathers, the wedding guests are sure to let out a collective sigh of admiration when the bride makes her entrance. On the practical side, the full ball gown covers larger hips and thighs, further flattering the bride. This ultra romantic silhouette has been popularized by fashion designer Monique Lhuillier, whose flowing designs are as memorable at weddings as they are on red carpets.
Pleats and folds. Perhaps Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall started the trend two years ago when she introduced her signature pleats and folds, but regardless of their origin, the look will be one of the definitive details in wedding gowns this year. Designer Angel Sanchez shows that multiple folds can add volume to a dress in a fresh, modern way. And even bridal fashion design icon Vera Wang, usually so sleek and streamlined, plays with pleats in a few of her designs this season.
Fifties-inspired gowns. Brides will be having a love affair with the fifties this year. Retro details like scoop necks, exaggerated waistlines, tulle skirts, ¾ sleeves, and tea-length hemlines recall an era that celebrated femininity and traditionalism. While brides can find an authentic fifties wedding dress at vintage stores, fashion designers like Stephanie Allin and Anne Barge pay tribute to the era in their current collections.
Flashes of color. Traditional wedding dresses may be white, but brides this year will be introducing a bit of color in all that white. The colors chosen typically complement the wedding flowers or the bridesmaid dresses, and they can be found on bows, sashes, waistlines, and hemlines of the bride’s gown. While the most popular colors are deep reds, flirty pinks, and soft blues, the most dramatic color to weave its way into wedding dresses is black. British designer Jenny Packham, who has dressed celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Kate Beckinsale for the red carpet, features bits of black in her current bridal line. Rather than appearing goth, the black accentuates the white and even adds a more formal flair to the gown.
Chain retailer bridal collections. The biggest trend in wedding gowns this year isn’t a particular style – it’s where they’re being sold. In fact, fashion school historians may consider this one of the most significant developments in wedding fashion ever. Mass market retailers like The Limited, Ann Taylor, and Anthropologie are introducing bridal lines, and J. Crew, which has sold wedding gowns since 2004, is even opening its first bridal boutique. These retailers not only offer brides a more affordable alternative, they tap into brand loyalty. The woman who likes to wear J. Crew every other day of the year can feel comfortable in a J. Crew wedding gown; and the person who sees herself as an Anthropologie type of girl can stay true to her personal style on her wedding day.
These trend alerts can help brides find the wedding gown of their dreams. Because they know that while marriages are never perfect, their wedding dresses can be.