Bride, bridesmaids and mothers in different gowns at a wedding reception

Perfect Wedding Dress Designs: No Dieting Required

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.


Wedding season is here, a dangerous time for any woman in a bridal party. All eyes used to be riveted on the bride, but our image-conscious culture now expects everyone in her entourage to look picture perfect. And there will be plenty of pictures, from scenic location poses to live action videos to the endless candid shots taken by anyone with a cell phone.

As a result, every woman related to the bride or groom, from great-grandmothers to step-cousins, will want to look thinner, firmer, and younger for the wedding. Fortunately, there’s a way to do that without having to starve, sweat, or undergo surgery!

The Non-Diet Way to Fit Into a Dress

When I wrote The Wedding Dress Diet it was in response to all of the calls I received as a consulting nutritionist from brides-to-be who wanted my help getting in shape for their wedding day, or more specifically, their perfect wedding dress. They were determined to whittle their waistlines, tone their triceps, and boost their butts and boobs in order to zip up the dress of their dreams.

My goal for the book was to help newly engaged women of all shapes and sizes buy the best bridal gowns for their figures, then guide them through a sensible eating and exercise plan that would allow her to easily slip it on before the final fitting.

I soon found out this was advice every woman could use before buying a party dress for a big event.

You Can’t Diet Yourself Taller

The first step is taking stock of the things you can’t change and what you can do in spite of them. Choosing the right wedding dress design can add curves where you want them or minimize them where you don’t, all without extreme diet and exercise regimens.

Too Tall – If you’re tall and want to visually knock off a few inches, choose a dropped waistline. Your height will also allow you to wear tiered dresses or those with contrasting patterns and colors that break up the visual canvas.

Very Short – If you’re short and want to look taller, consider a high waistline, such as an empire waist, with the seam just under the bust line to make your torso appear longer. Other elongating options include a column dress in a single shade or with a vertical pattern.

Broad Shoulders – You can make them appear narrower by choosing a draped, wide-collared dress or V-neck, but not a deeply scooped neckline. Also steer clear of shoulder pads, puffy sleeves and halter necks.

Boney Shoulders – Detract attention from them with a high neckline and a simple capped sleeve. Puffy sleeves will dwarf you and clingy fabrics will show every protruding bone.

Big Bust – You can minimize your endowment by drawing the eye away from the chest with an elongated bodice that drops to a V in the center of the front of the dress. Detailing on the hemline, such as lace, will also keep the eye going down. Avoid a dress that is pinched at your natural waistline, a plunging neckline, and any froufrou on the bodice.

If you want to accentuate your voluptuousness, go for a strapless or off-shoulder gown, a V-neck or a high-necked bodice with a keyhole or cut-outs at the throat.

Small Bust – A higher waistline in a dress will give the illusion of having more up top, as will a strapless sheath that has shirring, ruffles, beads or other embellishments over the bust. Avoid plunging necklines, low waistlines and unfitted gowns with no defined shape.

Thick Waist – Look for a slightly higher, banded waistline seam attached to an A-line below.

Tiny Waist – You can emphasize this asset with an A-line dress due to its fitted bodice and waist that flares gradually below the waist or a Princess design that is snug on top with a seamless waistline that flares slightly at the hemline.

Wide Hips – Reach for a halter neckline to pull the eyes away from your hips and any type of contrast or embellishment on the bodice that will keep the eye focused up rather than down. Wrap-around dresses do a nice job of cinching you in at the waist and gently flowing over what lies below the waist.

Narrow Hips – You must take advantage of a flared skirt to convince your admirers that there is more width underneath that fabric than is actually there. For the same reason, avoid straight shifts that have no defined waist, but if you must wear one, belt it.

See my next blog about how to accentuate your best features from the neck up with the right hair style, make up and accessories. You might be surprised to discover what is your best asset of all.

Posted in Beauty, Eating Right, Fad Diets, Fitness, HEALTH GOES STRONG, Obesity, Weight Control and tagged , , , , , .

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