Every bride regardless of age or size wants to look her very best on her wedding day. As a matter of fact, it’s become an expectation for brides to look absolutely sensational. From the moment the engagement is announced (“oooh, let me see your ring!”) the next question to the bride is, “ooooh, what are you wearing?” While it is common chatter among women to discuss what to wear to which event, the truth is, when it’s a wedding, and you are the bride, the stakes are as high as a Jimmy Choo stiletto – especially when you are a plus size bride.
Designers, magazines and catalogs continue to display wedding dresses mostly on straight size models with that little asterisk that says, “also available in plus sizes.” Really? Show me! And most wedding dresses are sized in the most bizarre way. Needless to say, these models don’t share the same fit issues that the plus size bride has.
The best way to get around the size issue is to use size only as a guideline and go for the shape of the dress. Catherine created Shape Shopping™ in 1999 after studying the image course at Parsons School of Design. It’s about applied fashion when it comes to the image business. Learning to work with the imperfection of bodies has been a mission and much needed in the plus market where most women simply say, “If I can button it, I’ll buy it!”
The core of Shape Shopping™ is knowing the figure types. In the past, even the most simple shapes became confusing to determine. When a plus size client is asked to say what shape she is, most would jokingly answer, “Big.” Remember: ‘Big’ is a judgment not a shape. And figure typing can be done without a tape measure because it is based on differentials. Horizontal differentials. We are not dealing with the vertical proportions. The difference between the bust and waist; the waist and hips; the bust and hips. Let’s face it, most people know where their challenging areas are and a lot of the challenges come in the form of “do I have a defined waist or do I have a tummy and no side waist definition.” Therefore, defining the two categories by ‘waist’ and ‘waist not’ is simply, yet gives you a decisive jumping off point for eliminating which garments are simply not going to work. Shopping should be a process of elimination, not consideration. You can simply choose which silhouettes you like, and which like you back. The WAISTS – the Oval and Rectangle and the WAIST NOTS — Hourglass, Triangle.
Before you decide on a dress, you need to examine its characteristics to see if they complement your curves. Before you hit the racks or the bridal salon, there are few fit facts that you must consider. Knowing what to look for will help you decide efficiently and effortlessly – devoid of the emotionality of “there’s nothing out there for me!!” Allow the trend to be, if there is one, decided by: does it highlight my assets and diminish the challenging areas? Emphasize the positive as they say! Sound like a plan?
Every Wednesday during the month of February we will feature 2 Fit Facts for Plus Size Brides.
About The Authors:Catherine Schuller is a professional Image Consultant specializing in the plus size client. She has helped thousands of women with her Shape Shopping with Figure&Fit instore retail program which she designed after studying the image program at Parsons School of Design in the mid 90s when she was phasing out of plus size modeling and into the image consulting profession. Judith Ann Graham is a professional makeup artist and has specialized in the Bridal Market for over 15 years. With years of bridal experience, she wrote the popular The Bride Guide. Catherine and Judith are both instructors at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and members of the Association of Image Consultants International. Together they formed a company called Your Image Power which focuses on career fairs for job seekers needing to focus their ABC’s (Appearance, Behavior and Communication).