Leila- Couture Dress Designer for Any Bride

The “right” dress for ANY body

I want to take a moment first to introduce Leila, in case you don’t know her or her business Curvy Custom Bride. Her bridal shop is all about creating dresses that fit your personality and body so that you don’t have to look through hundreds of the single size groupings that are at most boutiques. It can be hard for a lot of reasons to feel inspired in a dress- my personal hurdle is that I am 5-foot nothin’ :). One thing I can say is that I was pleasantly surprised at the starting price point for one of her custom dresses- her craft isn’t cheap, and you wouldn’t want it to be- but it is definitely competitive with those boutique prices and it is MADE JUST FOR YOU! Here was what Leila has to say to help you when it’s time to buy The Dress:

“So, you’re getting married and you’re searching for the perfect dress?

You’ve got your Pinterest board ready. All your favorite looks and styles are pinned, and your best friends have told you where to go shopping. You’ve made your appointments and you can’t wait!

All of a sudden, you start to wonder if you’ve chosen styles that will be flattering. Women commonly tell other women what looks best on different body types, and I’m here to debunk the myth that there are styles you can’t wear. 

First of all, let me tell you a secret: You can wear whatever you want the day of your wedding. 

One dress, that so-called perfect hourglass shape, a particular hairstyle, or a certain venue doesn’t make you a bride. You’re getting married. That alone makes you a bride. 

How can I possibly think that anyone can wear any style?

This is the secret: It’s about proportions. 

If you have a fuller bust, you’ll be told you can’t do a high neck. What’s more relevant is how long your neck is. A fuller bust needs width, but it often needs more length than most off the rack dresses provide. You can get elegant bust coverage without being too covered up.

If you have a smaller bust, most dresses will be too full and you’ll be able to see straight down your dress. Building a dress from scratch or doing heavy tailoring can fix that.

One rule of thumb for any bust size is showcasing the ribcage. There’s something magical with creating the perfect fit on a bodice that can’t be ignored. I would even venture to say that a perfectly tailored bodice can make a dress.

In the dress below, your eye is drawn to her eyes and her face, carefully outlined by the mantilla style veil. The neckline is asymmetrical to keep your eye moving. The underbust is gently curved in to show off her curves while not over accentuating her athletic build.

Photography: Amanda DeBusk Photography

If you have a short neck, you want to open up the chest, and not clutter the upper chest with fabric. That doesn’t mean you can’t have ruffles at the neck, but you’ll want them to be in proportion to your neck length.

The image below shows what an open neckline looks like. A v-neck is always a go-to with a fuller chest, but it doesn’t have to be a v to keep the chest open. It can be a boat neck or a design element to keep the eyes moving. 

If you have a fuller belly, you’ll be told you can’t wear a gathered skirt. Most of the time it’ll be because you have a shorter torso. A short torso, full belly, and full bust will want a dress that doesn’t have a waist seam- or cheats the eye to see the torso as longer. A waist seam is a great way to allow for alterations, though, so keep that in mind. If you have a dress made that shows off your shape, and the waist seam is lowered to the fullest part of your torso, those gathers will hang straight down, and your torso won’t be cut up by a seam.

In the dress below, the bodice has been made longer, hitting closer to the high hip, to elongate the torso visually, while still supporting the bust with a built-in bustier and boning. The front of the bodice has a textured design but the sides are trim and close to the body to show off her curves, while still making the dress fashion-forward. 

Most brides who are under 5 foot need a lot more tailoring to an already made dress because you can’t just take in a dress in the side seams. You have to reconstruct it. Custom would be a more economical and less stressful way to go unless you have a designer or alterations specialist who knows how to reshape a dress at this level.

Bottom line, there’s a sweet spot for every element of design. It isn’t the same for everyone because everyone is so beautifully unique. Before you buy a dress off the rack, consider working with a local designer who can build the dress you want to the shape and proportions you have. My philosophy is that if there’s something you don’t like about how a dress looks on you, blame the dress. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with your body!