Trend Report: Wedding Dresses

New Trends, Colors, and Details

A woman's wedding dress is the most important fashion decision of her lifetime. Most brides take months visiting different boutiques and obsessing over bridal magazines until they find "the one." Women are no longer limited to the traditional whip cream white ball gown of the past. There are an infinite number of dresses to fit the style of every bride, whether she is after a glamorous, romantic, or a cutting edge look. In fact, the bridal industry has blown up in the last few years and designers are creating unprecedented dresses to win the hearts of the most discriminating bride.

White and ivory will always remain the most popular choice to wed in, but faint shades of pink and gold are becoming hot choices for dresses. White and ivory can wash out most complexions, but a soft champagne color can flatter your skin tone. Brides should try out each shade to see which ones looks the best with their coloring. It is now common for dress designers to offer several different colors in the same style gown. Sashes were another way that color was incorporated in the design of the bridal gown, sometimes to even match the bridal parties attire.

Grey was a huge color on the runway. Several dresses were made of luxurious satins in the palest shade of grey and others featured bows and ribbon detail in a deeper charcoal. Although it is not a traditional color, it is decidedly gothic and enchanting for a wedding. Black, seldom seen at weddings, was popping up in the form of belts, embroidery, and even bejeweled necklines on dresses. Black and white is one of the chicest color combinations for the fashion forward bride.

Many of the dresses have conservative and demure front views, often with high necklines, saving the back view for the main attractive. Some of the dresses have elaborate trains or featured plunging backs. This style offers a sensational surprise as the bride makes her way down the aisle to say her vows.

Floral details were plentiful. Fragrant lush blooms are expected at weddings, but no longer are they limited to bouquets and centerpieces. Flowers were integrated in many of the designs this season. One remarkable gown has satin orchids weaving across the bodice and wrap around an off the shoulder strap. On another, roses of rows crawl around the bust and are sewn in clusters on full skirts. For the bride that prefers a modern twist, a single oversized white peony serves to anchor a backless halter gown.

Dress fabrics are becoming lighter and more casual. A fresh welcome into a world of satin and silks are the summery poplins on several dresses. There is something innocent and dreamy about a full-length gown formal in pure cotton. These breathable fabrics are a sweet solution to survive the summer heat of an outdoor backyard or beach wedding.

Dots and circles are big this year. Of course this isn't the first season Swiss dots emerged in the bridal scene, but many of the new textiles have bigger circles and oversized bubble motifs.

Lace is a natural favorite among brides who covet romantic, vintage styles. Countless women still consider Grace Kelly, who wore a long sleeve lace gown when she wed Prince Rainier of Monaco, to be the most exquisite bride of all time. While it was necessary for Grace Kelly to show the utmost modesty due to the nature of a royal wedding, most brides can be more flexible. For a more seductive look, brides are opting for lace dresses that are formfitting and strapless. Lace bodices are also paired effortlessly with tulle skirts for a current look.

Ruffles are not just for Flamenco dancers. They add instant drama and volume to a dress and are particularly flattering when they frame the neckline. It's an exotic style for a flirtatious bride lusting after something saucy and fun to wear for her wedding.

Preppy brides will appreciate the return of pleats, which is both neat and regal looking on a wedding dress. The complex pin-tucked pleating evident on gowns this season is clearly a work of art.

As for styles, two favorites are the empire waistline and mermaid gowns. Empire waist dresses can be tricky to wear, but also quite flattering on women who want to hide their waistline. Mermaid dresses are close fitting in the bodice and flair out around the mid-calf. It looks best on slim or athletic women who want to accentuate their curves. Styles run amok from slim sheaths to voluminous gowns. The sky is the limit for the bride on the hunt for a wedding dress.

By Meredith Paslawsky

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