Dress Success

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Tips & trends to help you choose the perfect gown

By Elle A. Grant | Newport Wedding 2020

When it comes to choosing a wedding dress, brides have to battle a sea of contradictions. There are differing opinions among family and friends, between bridesmaids, and in the fashion proclamations pouring from the pages of bridal magazines — not to mention the simple matters of fit and price. Where does a bride even begin?

First things first: When choosing a gown, the wedding’s location, time of year, time of day, and the bride’s personality should all be primary considerations. Then there’s the issue of what kind of silhouette the bride prefers, and what cut works best for her body. (see our cheat sheet on the four basic gown types here)

Beyond that, there are trends to consider. Lucia Aguiar of Lucia Aguiar Bride has noticed an increased interest in dresses that are light and easy to move in. She attributes this to Newport’s popularity as a wedding destination in the warmer months, and to the numerous receptions that are held outdoors.

A lighter dress usually translates into something that is feminine and romantic. At the same time, Aguiar also emphasizes the creative streak in the brides she meets, many of whom are interested in princess-style gowns, beading, different colors, daring costume jewelry and other bolder moves.

“Brides are embracing the philosophy that less is more.”

Laura Zabbo of Spark Bridal Outlet notices a move to more traditionally inspired looks in her market viewings and her clientele. Seemingly everything she previewed at market had a sheen or sequined layer beneath a sheer layer, which gave the gowns a bit of sparkle. Silver threading and silver beading also instilled a subtle shine.

Most of the brides in her shop favor simplicity, with clean lines, plain white fabrics and simple accents. Brides are embracing the philosophy that less is more, Zabbo reports. She also predicts that the ruffled bottom — a trend that has moved in and out of popularity over the years — will enjoy a resurgence in the coming wedding season.

Both boutiques noted that brides are taking an “all-or-nothing” approach to the bridal veil. Either they’re interested in long, traditional veils known as cathedral veils, or they’re not interested in veils at all. Aguiar and Zabbo noted that if classic veils are not worn, brides often choose to wear flowers such as baby’s breath in their hair, instead, for an ethereal look.

Both women also noted the increasing popularity of lace in the coming year — but not necessarily the conventional lace one might expect. Look for floral and leaf patterns to overshadow more intricate, traditional designs. Shoes are becoming another popular method of self-expression, even if the bride is wearing a traditional gown. Look for footwear in a variety of colors and patterns, as brides attempt to reveal a hint of their creative, artsy side, even within the context of a formal wedding.

So what’s going out of style? Aquiar believes that classic strapless gowns are becoming a bit less popular as sleeved gowns gain a following. High-neck gowns and spaghetti-strap gowns both enjoyed a resurgence recently but are already beginning to fade. And while some simpler, lighter colors are retaining their popularity, deeper colors (including darker nudes) are bowing out gracefully after a few years of success. These days, brides are more focused on cleaner colors and the time-honored, irreplaceable white.
Here’s the bottom line: While being chic is an admirable ambition, the best thing a bride can do is invest in something that makes her feel beautiful. And find a darn good tailor!

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