May 10, 2011

Every-Body can wear vintage!

Wedding Dress Fantasy
I have found myself sitting outside many a dressing room waiting for a friend to emerge wearing their potential wedding dress. And time and again, I have had to look fear in the eye and tell the lovely bride-to-be that the dress "of her dreams" (which she also has a magazine clipping of that she has carried around for 10 years) just doesn't work with her body.

With the endless options these days for brides, there is seemingly no limit to the types of dresses a girl could fall in love with... except one!  THE CUT!  Let's face it ladies, all bodies are not created equal... and the world is a better place for it!  How boring would it be if we ALL looked the same in every dress?!  However, that doesn't change the fact that finding the right dress can be hard.  And finding a flattering wedding dress becomes even more daunting when you're going for the vintage look.

I too carried around a magazine clipping of a slim-cut 1930's-style satin gown and the reality was that when I put it on my 36-24-36 hourglass frame, it looked HORRIBLE!!!  My boobs & hips shined like dimpled stuffed sausages in the thin white satin, while my tiny waist disappeared in a sea of baggy material (it wasn't pretty!).

So, how does a vintagy bride-to-be approach the situation without looking like bridal roadkill?  Grab a paddle, because it's time to wade out of Da-Nile!  First things first... chose your body shape and then find your section.

Banana Mama:
You have dubbed your body "Banana"!  I'll give you the bad news first:  you can't wear an hourglass-shaped dress.  Now that the bandaid has been ripped off, the good news:  You can get away with a lot!  Since the lines of your body are straight, you can wear tight-fitted dresses and satiny fabrics.  Woohoo!!  Most vintage banana brides I've seen end up wearing A-line or Empire waist dresses... this is a big No-No!  You'll end up looking like Alice after she took the shrinking pill.  

The Cut for You:  Mermaid.  Sigh of relief, because you can pull off the most coveted style of wedding dress in the cosmos.  They are often tight (playing up your naturally slim assets), while adding curves through the fabric (adding interest to the straight lines of your body).  And to get the vintagy feel... look for a mermaid gown with a touch of lace or corseted bodice.

Pure Magnolia Couture (photo by Ambrosia Photography)
Lovey By Isha (photo by Sarah Layne Photography)

Apple of his Eye:
You have dubbed your body "apple"!  The bad news:  a synch-waisted dress is not in the cards for you.  The good news:  You can get away with gorgeously decadent gowns and you have fabulous legs (I'm sure I speak for all hourglass, big hipped gals when I say... I hate you!).  My BFF for the past 15 years has an apple shaped body, and let me tell you... she get's away with the most decorative, interesting dresses out there.  Why?  Because she uses amazing visual interests to her advantage... bringing the eye away from her waist and up towards a bedazzled neckline or down towards a deliciously ruffled skirt hem (and her damn gorgeous legs!).  

The Cut for You:  Empire Waist (and sometimes even a bit of A-line).  The Empire waist will play up your gorgeous boobs (the groom will be happy), diminish the appearance of your waist, and show off your neck fabulosity.  You're also the chosen few who can actually get away with the vintage 1950's tea-length dress and make it look like you (and your perfect legs) were born to shine!  Don't forget to look for interesting details along the neckline and skirt hem.

U Poppy (photo by Emma Rolos)
Amanda Archer

Pear Perfection:
You have dubbed your body "pear"!  Now for the bad news:  you can't pull off the traditional mermaid gown.  But the good news:  You probably have the most selection out of all the brides.  Why?  Because you are tiny from the waist up and need a little more room from the waist down (the way most dresses are constructed).  Play up your enviable upper body... make it tight!!  And play up the bride in you... get a fun, flowy, large skirt!!

The Cut for You:  A-line (although you can also get away with all Empire Waists and even some Mermaids!).  Look for dresses where the bodices are form-fitting and the skirt is flowy.  If you're looking to make your bust look larger, look for tops with ruching or added flowers/beading details (this will give the illusion that you have more of the hourglass figure).

BC Girls
Nata Jane
Knot Couture (photo by Tressness Photography)
Danielle Marie Design

Hourglass Class:
You have dubbed your body "hourglass"!  Bad news first:  skin-tight is not the way to go and neither is the loose-fitting Empire're going to have to find a happy medium.  Good news:  you have the assets to fill the right dress!  Having been an hourglass gal since puberty, I fully understand the ups & downs of dressing this body.  And although I know that we can't help but add the Va-Va-Voom to any piece of cloth we put on, sometimes there's too much Voom in your Va (if you know what I mean). 

The Cut for You:  A-line & Sheath.  Don't go overboard with the curves... you could poke one of your guests' eyes out if you turn too quickly! A-line dresses will show off your bust, emphasize your tiny waist, and gently flow along your curvy lower body.  If you want more of a sexy look, go for a sheath dress that has been taken in a bit at the waist... this will show off all your curves to perfection.  To top off the vintage style, look for lace or beading to highlight your waist (if you're anything like me, your waist is the skinniest part of your body, so bedazzle it!).

And that my lovely Petticoaters is my guide to dressing Every-Body in Vintage.  If you have any tips to add, leave a comment to ensure that all my Frosted Brides look perfect! But at the end of the day, my word is not set in's how you feel in the dress that really matters!

Thank you to for the body chart! :D


  1. FUN, FUN, FUN...I love your posts!

  2. What a great post! Great details and advice!



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