Struggle Size: A Bridal Gown Guide

I got stuck in my wedding dress…

I decided to try on my old wedding dress that you’ve seen plenty of times on the website and since it’s a size 20W I figured my size 20/22 body would still fit in my wedding dress. My dress hurt my feelings and she was put in timeout. It dawned on me that wedding dresses don’t adhere to the same rules as most fashion sizes. Once I realized that I realized a size guide is needed for the designers. So never fear, The Plush Bride is here!

A quick overview of what the sizes would be on most wedding dresses. Size up 2 sizes larger (sometimes 3 depending on the silhouette) than what you wear in the streets and it should fit your body. The only other caveat is that you would have to be mindful of the dress shape and whatever detail they include that could change how it looks on your specific body type.

With all that said, I visited Wonderland Bridal’s Trunk show of Stella York’s Everybody/Every bride collection and tried on about 6 dresses. Best part? I videotaped it ALL! Check out the video here and I also go into detail of the sizing as well.

Fabric Facts

Brides have a lot of things to consider when choosing their perfect wedding dress. Length, color, size, fit and the designer are some common concerns for brides to be. I also concerned myself with not sweating profusely (Thanks, Florida). If sweating is a concern for you too, then another thing to consider is the look, or the fabric, of the dress. The problem here is many brides, including me at one point, have no clue what the difference is in some of the fabrics found in Wedding dresses. We’ve learned after many years of watching wedding shows that tulle and organza are different, but many of us don’t even know why they’re different.

A common misconception is most of these ‘fabrics’ are not really fabrics at all. For example, satin is a ‘finish’ or a feel. It can be polyester, silk or any type of blend. Same as tulle, Organza, or lace which are also blends. Reason being, it’s cheaper to use synthetics or blends of a fabric than the 100% silk or natural fabrics that can cost more. Many bridal dresses use the below fabrics that blend silk with their respective finishes. If you choose a fabric with natural fibers, they would feel better but wrinkle much easier. If this is still all confusing you, never fear! The Plush Bride is here! Below are only a few of a never-ending list of fabrics but most commonly used in wedding dresses.

  • Tulle
    1. You know those fabulous poof skirts that look like tutus? That fabric is known as tulle. It’s a sheer fabric that’s open and breathable and looks a lot like netting. It’s the same fabric you would see ruched on a gown paired with lace. Or used as draping decoration for Baby Shower chairs (ugh) or weddings. Oftentimes, Tulle is designed on the outer part of a ballgown to give it the light and airy look. This is a highly sensitive fabric that will tear easily by being snagged on stuff like your fancy wedding ring.
David's Bridal Jewel Tulle Plus size dress
David’s Bridal ‘Jewel’- Tulle Skirt
  • Lace
    1. This fabric is one of the few things from the 80s that i’m glad made a comeback. Lace is a type of fabric that you would commonly see on your grandmother’s dining room table runner, or a doily. It also is a very popular wedding dress fabric that has many different types and is commonly used as an overlay or added detail to a dress. Like Tulle, it is open and airy (great for the sweaty bride like me) and susceptible to tearing as well. Below are some types of lace that you can choose from on a wedding dress:
      • Chantilly: A very detailed lace with borders around each design and has large spaces between each one on the netting. Usually seen on the open back looks of a wedding gown or sleeves.
      • Julietta A-Line Gown
        Julietta Chantilly lace Gown- Mori Lee Bridals Style # 3156
        open back chantilly lace
        Open Chantilly Lace Back
      • Alencon: a lace with grand designs on the netting that is trimmed with cord. It’s usually seen on the trims of veils or dresses.
      • Alencon Lace Veil
        Alencon Lace trimmed Veil
        Julietta Alencon Lace Dress
        Julietta Alencon Lace Dress. Style # 3143
      • Venice: A much heavier fabric that has a tighter detail and thicker feel. Perfect for cooler weather and often seen as an overlay on a wedding dress or on the neckline and sleeve details.
      • Mori Lee Madeline Gardner Venice Lace
        Mori Lee Venice Lace Gown. Style # 3131
  • Chiffon: A lightweight and sheer fabric commonly used as an overlay (because sheer dresses from head to toe may not be what Grandma is looking for) and designed in several layers. It also snags easily (sensing a theme?) and has a beautiful weightless look to it. This is the main fabric of my wedding dress seen on this blog.
  • David's Bridal A-Line Chiffon
    David’s Bridal A-Line Chiffon Style # 9V9743
  • Organza: Another light and ethereal fabric that is very similar to chiffon that can also easily snag. It’s made from silk usually so it’s soft but It’s not a draping fabric due to it’s structured feel. It works nicely for summer and spring weddings and It’s a great fabric for a plus size bride who lives in hotter places like Florida or Texas.
  • Ruffled Organza Mermaid by Mori Lee
    Mori Lee Ruffled Organza Wedding dress Style # 3124
  • Satin: This is a shiny, smooth, stiffer fabric that is perfect for gowns that have structure. It can be used in almost all dress styles and a designers dream. It’s the perfect fabric that works with any body type and used commonly in ball gown styles or Ruching designs. Bridal satin is usually all silk and extremely durable so if you live in a cooler area or have a winter wedding, Satin is your friend.
  • David's Bridal Satin Dress
    David’s Bridal Satin A-Line Dress Style # 9V3204

The Unlikely…

It wasn’t till I started searching for a white dress to wear to an all white wedding that I found a few of my favorite online stores actually made wedding dresses too. (Shout out to Solange and her bossed up wedding photo that had me going to many an all white wedding in 2016) Below is the list:

1. ModCloth:

This designer is known for their retro chic clothing and I usually love their plus size dresses and swimsuits. These two are fantastic for a simple bride who may want to get a second dress for the reception, or just want a simple understated yet outstanding gown for their big day. Sizes go as high as 4x on some dresses. Here’s the kicker, they have bridesmaids dresses and wedding guest dresses all available in plus sizes. Click here for more.

2. ASOS Curve Bridal

ASOS Curve is already popping for their high end fashion looks and finds. One of my favorite places for online plus size shopping, they also have a beautiful Bridal line of dresses that are also affordable and perfect for the plush bride.

3. Department Stores

I mean, lets face it. We love Macy’s one day sales that seem to happen every other day. So why not check them out and stores like them for more than cute outfits or wedding guest attire for the low? (No lie, that Last Act section had me looking hella fly at many a wedding for a solid $10.)

The majority of the Bridal sections only size up to 16 while some stores have select dresses available in 18 (the one shoulder pictured above is one of them)

4. Kiyonna

This designer has popped up in many a google search for plus size wedding dresses. (Which will always send you to David’s Bridal, almost like they already know the struggle) Kiyonna has a limited offering of what they usually offer, but still a great selection of sizes up to 5x.

*please note this isn’t a sponsored post and all opinions are my own*