Since centuries, women have been wearing magnificent gowns on special occasions to accentuate their appearance. These gowns were extraordinarily complex outfits and were often luxurious. They were made of expensive fabric like silk, satin and velvet that mostly featured heavy, elaborate embroidery, and were ornamented with beautiful and delicate pearls, sequins, precious stones and lace details.
Perhaps, the modern woman would not find it practical to wear such fancy gowns as existed in the old days, but gowns are still one of the most beautiful and feminine outfits that can elevate your looks on special occasions. All women have different body types, and they should buy a gown that is fitting to it to accentuate their looks in the best manner possible. Here are a few tips to help you find that perfect gown so you can look your best and steal the day.
Shopping Tips to Select Gown
1. Identify your body type and shop accordingly
The first thing you need to do is figure out your body shape. This will help you when you are out shopping for a gown, and you will be able to pick one that flatters the shape of your body. Once you figure out the proportions of your body, you will feel more comfortable with dressing it in a way that makes you look good as well as feel good.
The following are a few body types and the recommended styling tips corresponding to them:
If your waist is equal to or less than two-thirds of the breadth of your shoulders, the fullness of your breast and the width of your hips, then you have an hourglass body type. If you have this body type, you should go for a gown that is cinched at the waist to emphasize your well-defined waistline. You can even cinch in the waist of a regular gown by cinching the waist in with a belt or a long piece of beautiful fabric like satin, silk or lace. You can choose a gown with a scooped out, v-shaped or a sweetheart neckline to accentuate your bust area. Additionally, choose a gown that is well fitted and make sure that its skirt is relatively high waisted. A gown in a sheath style or with an empire line should be avoided as it can drown out your beautiful curves. Instead, choose a piece with an exaggerated drop waist or a corset top that hugs your body in a style similar to a mermaid.
- Pear shape:
If your waist is small and your hips are quite wide compared to the breadth of your shoulders or the fullest part of your bosom, then you have a body shape that is similar to a pear. Since the modest curves in the upper part of your body too, deserve their fair share of attention, you should go for a gown with ruffles, prints, embroidery or similar details on the top half. A belted A-line gown could beautifully wrap around your curves, and any gown with a high waisted skirt will also look great on you. You should go for a piece with statement sleeves that have a lot of detail on them. Another great idea is to look for a piece with layered details. You can even choose a gown with an asymmetrical hemline for a more bold and out of the box look. A gown that flares out at the bottom will well suit your curvier hips, and chunky heels might just be perfect to complete your outfit.
- Apple shape:
If you have slender legs, a slim butt but a heavier bosom, and easily gain weight in your midriff area, then you might have a body shape that is comparable to an apple. You should go for a gown with a neckline in a v shape, or a scooped out shape so that you can show off your curvier bust and make your torso appear elongated. You may also go for a piece which has details in the form of embroidery, patterns or embellishment on the neckline or the hem of the gown. A gown in the form of a wrap dress would look beautiful with your body type, and a gown with bigger patterns might be a good idea. For the fabric of the gown, you should invest in thicker material that would not cling to your body, but ensure that it is tailored well. Anything that has a flow, like a straight-cut style, a bias-cut style a waterfall style or an empire line might do you wonders.
- Rectangle shape:
If your hip, bust and waist measurements are mostly equal with a small bust and slim waist, then you might have a body in the shape of a rectangular, and people with this body type often tend to be athletic. You can go for a gown in a body con style that hugs your figure well, to highlight your curves and adds a dash of femininity to your outfit. Colour blocking is a good technique that you can use to highlight particular parts of the body and make sure that the skirt of the gown is high waisted and tight around your hips. Add volume to your bust and hips by adding layers and ruffles and do not shy away from bright colours and intricate details. An A-line skirt, a sheath gown or a billowy dress will suit your figure and so will statement sleeves and higher necklines. As an alternate, strapless or sleeveless gowns would also emphasize your toned arms and shoulders and will add some glamour to your look.
However, do not consider your body type to be a deterrent in any way because there is no ideal body type. All types of bodies are perfect and beautiful, and you can feel free to deviate from these guidelines if you wish to because you will look gorgeous in anything that you don with confidence and a smile.
2. Be mindful of your choice of colour
The colour of your gown can completely transform your look, for the better or for the worse. You should always go for something that complements your natural skin complexion. If you have a warmer skin tone, colours like peach, gold, orange, red, yellow, olive, violet, cream and grey would really suit you, but colours on the cooler side of the spectrum in deeper shades on blue might not look very flattering on you. If your skin has cooler tones, you can go for the latter colours in the form of hues like blue, emerald, purple, lavender or pink. Gray, white and navy are also good options but if you choose a warmer colour, make sure you choose one in a pale or washed out tone. For people with neutral skin tones, it is advisable to go for soft colours instead of jarringly bright ones unless it is bright red which would give you a statement look. Neutral tones like jade green, muted pink, coffee shade, black and off white would look great on you. Other than these skin undertone specific colours, some shades like white, a blushy pink, teal or purple can work well for all skin tones. Additionally, besides a colour that complements your skin, you can even choose a gown in a colour that makes your eyes pop or goes well with the colour of your hair.
3. The trendiest might not be the best choice
Do not pick a gown that you are not fully satisfied with just because it lives up to the current trends. What is fashionable and trendy today might not qualify as the same tomorrow and remember that your gown is an expensive one-time investment. Do not go for fancy patterns or styles that will not be trendy but rather, outdated when you don them again in a year or so. It is a better idea to choose a gown in a more classic style that will always be evergreen and flattering such as a sweetheart or v-shaped neckline, an A-line skirt, or colour such as black, white or gold. This will ensure that you always look classy in your gown, even if you wear it years from when you bought it.
4. Prioritize quality over everything
Do not go for a fancy, or elaborate gown that appears cheap because it is likely that the designer compromised on the fabric and quality to make the gown cheaply available. A gown that is made by a qualified professional might not be cheap, but it will be made with reliable material and durable stitching to enhance your features in the best possible way while also being sustainable and well worth the higher price. Ultimately, you must strike a balance when it comes to the tradeoff between price and quality. If you want to go for a designer gown but are held back by the steep price tags, you can even wait for a sale or discount season, or look for affordable choices at a thrift store.
5. Stick to your price range
Always have a price in mind before you set out to shop for a gown and make sure that you accurately account for extra overhead costs such as shoes, lingerie, shapewear, accessories, makeup and jewellery. This will ensure that you do not run out of budget later. Do not waste your limited time trying on gowns that you can not afford. Instead, stick to your price range, and make sure to explore all the affordable options you have so that you truly settle for the best that you can get in that range. You might even need to get some alterations done later, which would also add to the cost.
6. Explore all your options
Do not end up setting your mind to buy the very first dress that you see. Often, your first choice might not be the correct one, and you might get the exact same piece at a lower price at another store. Even if you like a particular dress, do not immediately pay the bill and bag it. A better option would be to check out the most number of stores you can to make sure you do not see a better alternative and spend some time thinking before you take the final plunge. A gown is a one-time investment that you make for the long haul, so make sure that you do not end up buying something that you might later regret.
7. Buy something that fits you now
Often, women make elaborate plans to eat healthily, hit the gym and expect to lose a few pounds before special occasions. But make sure you do not go overboard and end up buying a gown in a size that is completely different from your current size. One cannot drastically change their body in such a short time and keep in mind that buying the gown is a long time haul, so you might not be able to maintain that kind of an unnatural body forever. Spend your money on something that makes you look and feel good the perfect way you currently are instead of aiming to fit yourself to an idealistic beauty standard.
8. Let your instincts rule
Finally, remember that the gown is primarily for you, to make yourself feel confident, comfortable and beautiful throughout the occasion. If you feel unsure on the inside and realize that you need to be constantly validated by your friends and family that you indeed look great in the gown, then maybe it is not the right one for you, and you need to move on. You should feel great about yourself when you wear it and be able to picture yourself rocking it at any occasion. When you are left with no hint of doubt about the gown, then you can be sure that you have found the right one.
Finally, make sure that you feel comfortable and confident when you wear what you choose and that it makes you feel good about yourself, which is the most important of all things. When you find the right gown, there will be a voice in your head that will tell you that you did. Ensure that you make the most of the special occasion and take lots of pictures to preserve the memories of yourself wearing your beautiful gown!