In Western society, the traditional image of a wedding dress is a long white gown in satin and lace with a trailing veil of tulle. When preparing to shop for “the dress” for your own big day, stop and take a moment to ask if this traditional look is authentically you. Does it truly reflect your personality? Just like every other item in your closet, the dress you choose to be married in should capture you and be as singular and unique as the person that you are.
On your wedding day, do you want to hear: “Alison, your dress is so beautiful. You don’t look like you!”… ? While being told that your dress is beautiful is something that every woman wants to hear, the “you don’t look like you” cancels out the prior compliment.
Here are some ways to help you stay an “authentic bride” on your big day:
Should you wear white?
Let’s start with color. Is bright white a color that is currently in your closet? When you wear it, do you get compliments on how you look in it? There is not a single color that every person looks great in, and not everyone looks their best in pure bright white. In fact, sometimes the color either washes the wearer out or gives them a sallow appearance which in both cases is unflattering and is the polar opposite of how one wants to look on their big day.
If, however, you are set on wearing “white” for your nuptials, why not consider wearing your own version of it? To find this color, look no further than the whites of your eyes. In natural light, try holding up paint swatches, stationery or items of clothing next to your face and looking in the mirror. The objective is to “match” the white of your eye. Some of the possibilities might include optic, ecru, snow, ivory or cream. Then, when shopping for a dress, bring this “color swatch” with you to find the perfect “white.”
Create a harmonious look
If you are open to a color possibility beyond white, nothing is softer and more perfect for a wedding than the skin tone or “Essence” color. This is most probably the color of your face powder or foundation. Hint: If you put some of this color in the palm of your hand, it seems to harmonize all of the skin tones found in your palm, creating a smooth beautiful glow. Possible Essence tones might include chestnut, mahogany, peach, shell pink and golden tan. Bring your compact to the store with you to “match” this flattering color in a dress.
Other colors that may flatter you
Lastly, is there a color in your wardrobe that you are complimented on more than any other? If so, you should consider this for your wedding dress. Remember that this is a day for you to shine and be the center of attention, and if ballet pink or lemon chiffon is your “color,” why not consider wearing a dress made of it?
Whether you choose a “white,” your “Essence” color or another flattering color for your dress, equally important is the dress style.
Go to your closet for clues
While a wedding dress can absolutely go a bit more “costume” than what you wear to the office, make sure that it is as flattering as the clothes that you are complimented on most week-to-week. There are going to be many choices of neckline, silhouette and fabric in the stores. To help you focus on what you are looking for, look no further than your closet for the clues to help you define what your dress should be. Hanging in your closet and folded in your dresser drawers are the clues on the necklines, fabrics, shapes and tailoring that are most flattering on you. Are many of your sweaters scoop-necked, emphasizing your oval-shaped face? If so, consider a scoop neckline for your wedding dress. Do your a-line skirts follow the natural curves of your body more fluidly than your pencil ones? If so, consider an a-line shaped skirt for your wedding dress.
Discover your clothing personality
Now take a look at all of the pieces in your wardrobe together. Would you describe the person who wears these clothes as sporty, traditional, sleek or dramatic? Take the words that you discover with you on your shopping trip. They will keep you focused while wading through a sea of potential dress options.
Armed with these tips, you are now ready to start shopping for the dress that will reflect the most beautiful and authentic version of you — AND you will never hear “You don’t look like you.”