For my Feel Good Friday post, I am thinking about a bride who was endowed with a generous bustline, who despaired of ever finding a dress that would make her look modest enough to be married in a church, and maybe a little less wide up top. I was happy to give her pointers that eventually led to her perfect dress, and that really made my week! I thought I would share these tips with you since so many brides come to my dressing room with the same concern...
Myth #1: Regardless of what you have heard, halters are not the number one go to style for a busty figure. The structure lifts and squeezes "the girls" together, creating more of a cleavage line that will be visible to your guests. Also, the weight of the strap on the back of the neck can be irritating or painful for a girl with a large bust who is having all that weight supported on her neck. If you like this style on you, make sure your dress is generously boned to take as much of the weight off your neck as possible.
Tip #1: Try a dress with a wide tank strap. The strap accomplishes several things, it provides support for the gown and your bust, and a wider strap will distribute the weight so it doesn't pinch. The strap will also cover the top portion of your bust, the part that hangs over the top in a strapless gown, and provides more skin coverage. An added benefit is that visually you look longer, since your dress is not cut off at the chest like a strapless, but goes all the way up to the shoulder. A V-neck tank is a very flattering cut. Do NOT wear a spaghetti strap - the proportion is all off and the tiny strip of fabric looks lost in a sea of flesh, it'll make you look bigger.
Tip#2: Try a gown with a wrap or pull structure. What this provides for the girl with a curvy figure is a definition beneath the bustline, defining the waist and making sure that fullness through the chest does not mean fullness everywhere. Busty girls are often familiar with the frustration from shopping for clothes that fit in the bust and then hang off the body like a muumuu, but the wrap will give you shape. Note: this doesn't work well if you are busty AND are an apple figure, the added fabric at the waist will be bulky, so try a princess seamed dress instead.
Myth #2: Many people feel a busty girl should not wear strapless. I don't think that's necessarily true. It depends how her shoulders look; most naturally chesty girls have muscular shoulders from carrying around the weight of the breasts, and sometimes they have shoulder dents from bra straps. These girls probably should not wear a strapless. But if you have evaluated your shoulders and you think they are not dented or husky like a football player, than you should try a strapless to see what you think. Remember that when you wear a strapless gown you have a choice how high to wear it; a busty girl should wear it a little higher to cover more flesh, but not so high she doesn't have enough room between dress and throat or that she gives herself armpit flaps.
Tip #3: Try strapless dresses with details at the neckline. A crumbcatcher is a beautiful and modern touch that gives a little extra coverage. A piece of scalloped lace that extends up the neckline by even a 1/2 inch or so can soften and add modesty.
Tip #4: A straight-across strapless will generally minimize a bust, a sweetheart will accentuate a curve and reveal more cleavage.
These are general rules of thumb, meant to assist someone struggling with finding the right dress but not understanding why she doesn't love any. Every girl is different, and all kinds of factors come into play such as height, body shape, etc. EVERY bride deserves to look and FEEL beautiful on the day when they start their new joined life and when they know all eyes are on them, here's hoping you do!
As always, feel free to leave me a comment with your wedding gown questions and I'll try to answer them.