It's time to be confident in the search for your dream dress, ladies...
Before I started trying on dresses, I had a good idea of the look I was going for. I pictured something sleek and simple, with a close-fitting train. I’d pair my gown with an elaborate, sparkly headdress for a Vivien Leigh-meets-boho-bride look.
Unsurprisingly, my first dress shopping experience left me in a state of confusion, because the person staring back at me in the mirror wearing her ‘dream’ – albeit very beautiful – Belle & Bunty gown didn’t quite resemble the iconic ‘30s vision I previously had in mind. In fact, I stepped into that boutique a ‘simple satin’ kind of girl, and left dreaming of full-on feathers and layers of ruffled tulle.
Despite my turmoil, my first shopping trip to choose my once-in-a-lifetime gown was the most fun I’d had in ages – and as it should be. Don’t let it be a daunting experience; start your dress search armed with all the information you need, with these top savvy shopping tips.
Rule #1: Step out of your comfort zone
If you have a particular colour, style and fabric in mind, it’s only natural that you’ll want to try on the dresses you instantly like the look of, but be sure to start your search with an open mind. More often than not, brides will fall in love with a gown they might not have considered before, had it not been for a friend or family member. So if the shop assistant, or your bridesmaid, suggests a design they think would look great on you, try it for size – you might find that you’re pleasantly surprised.
Rule #2 Set a budget, and stick to it
Be prepared to discuss what you’re willing to pay. If you’re realistic about what you can afford, the shop assistant will be able to advise on dresses that might suit, after all, nobody wants to fall in love with a design that’s well out of their price range.
Rule #3 Don’t underestimate the power of pants
Wherever possible, be prepared. Forget those comfortable, once-white, once-elasticated pants that have been in the washing machine more times than you can possibly count – well-fitting and supportive nude or white underwear is a must so you can see a true reflection of how the dress should fit. Don’t forget, you’ll also be standing around in your underwear a lot.
Rule #4 Bring moral support, but not the whole herd
Most boutiques suggest two or three guests maximum, as too many conflicting opinions will only confuse you. Take along mum, a sister or bridesmaid; someone who loves hanging out with you in bride-mode and whom you trust to give an honest opinion.
Rule #5 Don’t be ruled by trends
It might be a gown that’s bang on trend, but be honest with yourself when you look in the mirror, does it work for you? “The dress needs to make you look balanced,” says stylist Zoe Lem. “Look at your shoulders, hips and waist – does it give you an hourglass figure? There will always be trends, but they won’t suit everyone. The Gatsby trend is a perfect example of this. If you did want to have an element of this in your look, you could always style your dress with art deco accessories, even if you can’t wear a deco dress.”