The Perfect Dress, at Any Size

April 18, 2012 in handmade and vintage goods

Shafonne Myers

Shafonne Myers merged her love for blogging and wedding planning when she started Pretty Pear Bride, a site dedicated to helping plus size brides find inspiration for their big day. She loves spending time with her husband and two darling children, teaching, and making everyone feel like the most beautiful person in the world.

Once the excitement of your engagement has worn off, the stress of the dreaded checklist starts to kick in: wedding planning. If you aren’t a perfect size 2, you might have been putting off shopping for a dress. However, it’s not for lack of excitement: isn’t it every girl’s dream to find their ideal wedding dress?

But in all honesty, anxiety sets in when faced with such a monumental purchase, especially if you don’t fit into a standard size. What about those brides that are apple or pear shaped, or big busted? And don’t forget about my plus size and curvy brides! That’s where Etsy comes into play. This mecca of all things custom is ideal for anyone looking for a dress to specifically fit their body type.

The Apple-Shaped Bride
Lace BodiceTea Length Wedding Dress BridalBlissDesigns
1930s Inspired Bias Bridal Gown RSchone
Tea Length Lace Wedding Dress ThePeppermintPretty
Sweetheart Neckline Wedding Dress DanielleCicero

Let’s chat a little bit about different body shapes. Apple shapes are characterized by a shapely figure with a thick midsection, bigger bust and slimmer hips and thighs.  This body type needs to stay away from anything that is going to accentuate the midsection. A-Line and empire dresses work well because they hide your flaws but show off the right curves. V-necklines work well because they elongate the body and provide a natural slimming effect.

The Pear-Shaped Bride
Wedding Dress With Lace Sweetheart Bodice Bridal Bliss Designs
Wedding Wrap Dress in White Silk Taffeta DDreamCloset
Tea Length Wedding Dress with Sleeves ThePeppermintPretty

Pear-shaped brides are characterized by a smaller midsection and larger hips, bottom and legs. Pears’ upper halves are narrower, creating an unbalanced look, so the best advice is to find dresses that will flatter your positive attributes while equalizing the fuller portions of your body. A-line dresses work because they flows with the shape of your curves without clinging. Wrap dresses are an ideal fit because they camouflage the lower half of your body while allowing your best curves to shine.

The Busty Bride
Shop Wedding Dresses; dress pictured by DahlNYC
Calypso Custom Made Wedding Dress DesignByLannette
Simona Trench Wedding Dress daniellecicero
Amelia Knee-Length Dress TingBridal
Taffeta Wedding Dress With Deep Neckline EdelweissBride

Busty brides have a few options for bridal attire. First off, V-necklines are definitely your friend: they elongate the body and downplay the cleavage area. Tighter dresses are also good because they show off your curves and draw the eye away from your bust. Sleeves are also a consideration: larger breasted women often have larger arms, and sleeves can camouflage this area of your body. There are numerous options for sleeves, ranging from full sleeves to three-quarter length and cap sleeves.

Whether you are pear, apple or plus sized, there is a gown out there that will complement your body shape and make you feel amazing on your wedding day. Enjoy the search!

  • studiolara316

    Lara Harris from studiolara316 says:

    Great article!

    8 years ago

  • LivvyW

    Olivia London-Webb from LivvyW says:

    So glad and inspired to see this article! Thank you!!

    8 years ago

  • Floralworld

    Floralworld from LeFlowers says:

    Lovely dresses!

    8 years ago

  • gonzalezerlyn

    Erlyn Gonzalez says:

    Thank you so much for your help.

    8 years ago

  • eyeondesigninvites

    Kay from Tyingtheknotinvites says:

    Very informative! Great article!

    8 years ago

  • KennaLeeLovely

    KennaLeeLovely says:

    Love the info! But what about the althetic build? I am not a apple, pear or 'busty'-just short and and more thick/muscular. What advice do you have for my type of girls? Help!

    8 years ago

  • arterabridalveil

    ArtEra Bridal veil from ArtEraBridalVeil says:

    Beautiful substance.

    8 years ago

  • daniellecicero

    Danielle Martin-Cicero from daniellecicero says:

    Great article. For KennaLeeLovely, i think the athletic build looks great in gowns that create a waist shape, minimize the shoulders if they are too broad OR accentuates them if your shoulders are a point of pride for you. I think cutouts in the back are great for the athletic build, and waist cinching ruching or sashes are an excellent choice. And of course if you have great arms, sleeveless styles are great but CAP sleeves are better, they hit right at the point of the arm that most women balk at showing (batwings!) My Simona Trench dress was featured in this story :) and I actually made it for a bride who has an athletic build, it minimized the broadness of her shoulders, cinched in her waist and made her look like she had an hour glass figure. Her legs were fantastic so the length was perfect! Full length gowns are great to hide thick calves or if you want a shorter gown, a tea length dress that hits right below the widest part of the calf can be good. I love etsy because so many of us bridal designers specialize in custom orders which helps the bride because she can make special requests to get the fit she wants!

    8 years ago

  • reginacantrell1

    Regina Cantrell from reginacantrell1 says:

    very helpful!

    8 years ago

  • ariella42

    Ariella Carver from HausofAriella says:

    The first time I went to try on wedding dresses I nearly cried. I was convinced that I was going to look awful on my wedding day because every dress the consultant handed me made me look like a short white cupcake. When I went to another bridal salon I realized that the first consultant I had just wasn't very good at her job and was giving me dresses that didn't flatter my body type. I'm on the short side and am busty, but have a smaller waist, so high-waisted dresses made me look bigger. I discovered that dropped waist dresses looked great on me though. I recommend that every woman looking for a wedding dress research dress styles that might work for her then go to a bridal salon to try some on. Even if you intend to get your dress on Etsy eventually (which is always a good choice), you should try some on in person to get a better idea of what works for you (and what doesn't).

    8 years ago

  • Trolltale

    Trolltale from Trolltale says:

    I think it is missing something about those of us who has big busts, and big hips, but a smaller waist.. What do we do? :) Otherwise, very nice!

    8 years ago

  • amyding

    Amy ding from lassdress says:

    very nice!

    8 years ago

  • lacesparklevintage

    Anna Marie Rotondaro from lacesparklevintage says:

    Cheers to Shafonne for her services!

    8 years ago

  • hubbahubba

    hubbahubba says:

    I absolutely love your shop.....Bravo!

    8 years ago

  • KMalinka
  • AshHumph

    Ashley says:

    I have the same issues as KennaLeeLovely. I was going to wear my grandmother's 1956 dress, but came to find out that my shoulders would rip the lace if I tried to close the back, the bust was too big and the midsection too small unless I wore a corset. I will definitely be looking at the Simona Trench dress and similar styles!

    8 years ago

  • amberrogers119

    Amber Rogers says:

    Me and trolltale are in the same boat.

    8 years ago

  • loudtisa

    Tisa Allen says:

    What about those of us with no curves at all?

    7 years ago

  • muse24784

    Robyn Barnes from Totorohappy says:

    me too amber and trolltale. lol. i did see the comment about the drop waist though. i know my prom dress was a sleeveless dress corset style with a big poofy bottom. that looked great on me when i added the shoes.. i felt naked with my arms i really want to find a dress that flatters my arms.. ugh.. guess there is always the gym..most dresses are no or short sleeve.unless long vintage lace.. i did see a girl with a gold glittery shrug on with one of the dresses.. thats an option. and tisa i would say to maybe invest in one of those shaper things at walmart that add stuff? i see those quite a bit.

    7 years ago

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl says:

    I think I am none of these yet all of them at the same time. Gosh...

    7 years ago

  • mcbbelk
  • vidernoa

    noa vider from vidernoa says:

    Beautiful dresses!

    7 years ago

  • reflectionsjewelry

    Emily Delfin from reflectionsjewelry says:

    very helpful - thank you!

    7 years ago

  • uhhmeilyah

    Amelia deGuzman says:

    wish someone would address what the super short bride should take into consideration when choosing a dress! (I'm 4'11'' and conservative formal dress usually makes me look even smaller, somewhat childish :P)

    7 years ago

  • manzie4

    amanda boczek says:

    ok so im short, busty and have hips lol what style should i wear? HELP! ive just had a baby and feel really self conscious about my body

    7 years ago

  • deliasky

    delia Phillips says:

    is this dress could be made in other color ?

    7 years ago

  • sandrostumpo

    Sandro Stumpo from GalleryDiModa says:

    This is funny but I feel like a guy who accidentally walked into a women's dressing room commenting here, but I will anyway.-haha. I have heard my girlfriend commenting that most women's clothes hanging in stores are usually for one body type- Barbie. When I get married I will definitely keep this article/shops in mind so my sweet angel doesn't turn into Bridezilla because she hates the way her dress fits!

    7 years ago

  • fannydress

    Fanny Dress from Lovingdress says:

    i am wedding dress maker , do offer custom-made for all kinds dresses ,even plus size ,welcome to go my store and contact with me any time.

    7 years ago

  • herovintage

    Marlee Malone from HeroVintage says:

    Today we listed a beautiful plus size (size 20+) wedding dress from the 1950's! It was an exciting find, and we can't wait to see it go to just the right person. : ) Loved this article!

    7 years ago

  • teresasilverman1

    Teresa and Danny Silverman from 4RLoveOfAntiques says:

    Great Article. We just got my daughters dress and she is a plus size, Our first time out we just went to a regular Bridal place. No No No, They could get like 2 dresses in her size. but nothing even fit enough to get a good look at what it would really look like. So we went to a Plus size wedding store and what at pleasurable experience we had. The dresses were amazing and a lot more to chose from than I thought there would be. Buy the time we were done. She had that perfect dress and looked like a beautiful princess. So I am so grateful for the plus size stores they have now. It has made a big difference in her, how she dress's today compared to before. Accent those curves lady's. I was always to skinny and got teased. So I always knew how she felt, we were just opposites. The wedding is in September and another surprise for me she is going vintage. I did Victorian. Life is funny the way things work out. I can't wait, its so much fun planning and making things for it. Always be happy with you for we all are beautiful in our own ways.

    7 years ago

  • CrystalMeth82

    CrystalMeth82 says:

    Aw, this is nice. Just one small niggle: "...tighter dresses...draw the eye away from the bust." One: no, they don't, nothing does. Two: why do you think I would want to? Sure, maybe some of my big-bosomed sisters wish to tone down the boobs sometimes, but I love mine and dress to accentuate them :)

    7 years ago

  • carolynemert

    carolyn emert from creationsbyannnyette says:

    I am a seamstress who specializes on unique body sizes. All sizes deserve a beautiful dress in perfect fit.. Do not settle for less than your dream. I can help you customize your dream gown..Visit my shop customcreationsbyannyette

    6 years ago