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Big Brides & Curvaceous Couture!

By Nagashree

Wedding is the occasion where you would want to look your best. The perfect wedding attire can go a long way in helping you look and feel beautiful. However, finding the best dress – be it a lehenga, anarkali suit or even a gown, can turn out to be an intimidating task, especially if you are on the healthier side. It can be a frustrating task to find a dress which would suit your figure and make you look gorgeous and stunning. So, let’s talk about various options for plus size brides.

Let’s be realistic, most wedding attires aren’t made with plus-size girls in mind. There are challenges faced by to-be-brides with a fuller figure. There are instances where heavier brides-to-be are subjected to hideous levels of customer service and severe lack of choices. “It always brought up emotional trauma, I dreaded travelling from one store to another and try and could not fit into” says Anagha (name changed), a newlywed. Just because the world is stuck on small doesn’t mean plus-size brides should have to settle for whatever fits.
The body proportions can present a test for many brides who are one size on top and a different size below the waist or hips. Lehengas for instance are cut to a standard size, which doesn’t really exist with a plus size figure. Hence much of the fashion wear offered tends to be shapeless or they battle with one or other part of an outfit not fitting. But the truth is that all women have shape, and it’s all about shape and not size. Size tends to be our personal issue, but when we realize what great shape we have, then we can begin to choose styles that work for us and with our shape.
Any bride, regardless of size, can find her ideal dress; she just has to know what to look for. If you’re a plus-size bride, it’s important to choose a material that flatters your body. Fabrics that are easily creased such as silk dupioni, satin and taffeta, look great on fuller frames because they conceal imperfections and camouflage heavier areas. Stay away from beaded materials and appliquéd details as they’ll most likely end up enhancing those spots you’d prefer eyes to avoid. Your clothes should fit your body, but not cling. Anything too tight will accentuate any unflattering bumps you may have. “Plus size women should always choose some fabric that has a nice drape and should definitely avoid tight fitting clothes. The preferred fabric for women with such a build would be silk, chiffon or voiles, voiles are in fact my personal favourite”, says Meena Bindra, chairperson, Biba.
You’ve got curves, so use them!
Many plus-size women choose dresses with V-neck or sweetheart necklines that cover the décolleté but still call attention to their figures. Don’t be afraid to show off a little bit more if you’re comfortable doing so, but beware of plunging necklines, as they have a tendency to make you appear top-heavy and rounded.
Indian weddings are full of colour, celebrations and amazing dresses, and the best part is that a lot of Indian outfits are perfect for plus sizes! The silhouette and cut of a lot of the traditional outfits is such that it looks nice and flattering on larger ladies. The types of clothing that can be worn by guests are very similar to the ones that are worn by the bride. The key differences include the potential colour and detailing of the dresses of the guests compared to those of the bride. Indian bridal wear includes styles like elegant sarees, elegant lehengas and stylish Anarkali suits.
“A saree is a long-established choice for women of all sizes, and it usually is a good choice even for plus sizes because the lengthy fabric covers enough and the blouse can be made in a manner such that the curves are accentuated in just the right manner”, says Lakshmi Keerthi, a Bangalore-based designer. “It is important to remember that if you are quite large, then this might not be the best idea, as the end look might not be all that flattering”, she adds.
Saree is a perfect outfit for women of any size and shape. The ethnicity of this eternally classy garb gives a royal feel to the one who wears it irrespective of the age, height and figure of a woman. For plus size women, Anarkali can be a good option as well. Anarkali suits would make you look slimmer and smarter. It is also becoming popular for bridal dresses. “Ankle length flowy ones with kalis from the shoulder give slim fit and cover the unwanted curves on the sides and abs”, says Lakshmi Keerthi.
Gown Town
Wedding dresses typically run a few sizes smaller than regular clothes, so don’t be horrified if you can’t fit into your normal size. This is your wedding, your dress and, regardless of your size, you should never have to settle. “None of the dresses would even begin to do up so they were pinned in place or the lacing held together with rubber bands so all I could see was my back fat spilling out from the back of the dress and it was horrifying”, Janet from Bangalore shares her experience.
Strapless gowns may be a rage, but for plus-size brides this wouldn’t go well with as it tends to accentuate and widen shoulders and arms. When selecting sleeves or straps, make sure the material doesn’t squeeze or bind your arms, shoulder or back. You should avoid sleeves that start puffy and end smooth or fitted, as they have tendency to make arms look bigger. Instead, choose short capped or lacy sleeves, or a light, long-sleeved jacket that can be worn over the dress.
Perhaps the most important aspect of any plus-size bride’s dress is the skirt. Select a gown with a full-skirt or an A-line skirt with an empire or a dropped-waist seam that will elongate your midriff and flow away from your hips. This will give your body a curvy, smooth shape that all your female guests will envy.
Bling it on
It’s alluring to choose too much of bling in a wedding. But loud and bright embroidery is going to draw attention to the entire outfit, so it is advisable to resist that temptation. Used in moderation, this can be a powerful weapon and used at the right places, it can really emphasize the right aspects. Large embroidered patterns are going to stand out, whereas delicate and small repeated patterns like booties are going to give the outfit an even and balanced look and is apt for plus size women.
Gold, silver or other kinds of embroidery used on the pallu in a saree or on the hem of the long tunic in a salwar kameez is perfect because it draws the gaze to the parts that need to be emphasized.Dresses with horizontal lines or sarees and lehengas with wider border have a tendency to visually widen the body and thicken the frame, so it is wise for bigger women to choose vertical and narrow bordered costumes.
The options offered by traditional Indian clothing for larger frames are plenty, with a lot of room for being an individual and expressing your personality. Choose with care and always opt for a designer that you like. Most good designers are able to offer sizes for you on a customised basis. It is also a good idea that you discuss about the options available with your regular retailer.

Pic Courtesy : Biba by Rohit Bal

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