I design and make wedding dresses; many of them are custom dresses, made on the body of the woman that will wear the dress. I have been making dresses for 20 years. One of the reasons I became a custom dress designer is just because I think it's so fun. I love working one on one with someone; deciding what their whole wedding will look like, where will it be and what time of year. Wedding dresses are very specific; they are for this one-time event. They are often one of the first things newly-engaged brides think about and sometimes one of the hardest things to find.
I've designed and made some really personal wedding dresses, for both my sisters, my sister-in-law, dear friends from design school and dear friends from childhood. Like all weddings, these dresses were specific to the woman, her event and her body. All of these women were different shapes, heights and weights, one was six months pregnant and another was about a month pregnant (lots of last minute changes). In every case my goal was to create a beautiful dress for a beautiful woman. This is my goal for all of my clients, not just my friends and family.
Since recently getting engaged myself, I have a whole new perspective on my job. It's part of my job to read and look at bridal magazines. But now that I'm looking at them as a bride, I've started seeing things I'd previously dismissed: all the articles about hiding my "figure flaws" and finding the right dress to hid my "figure flaws." Yuck. Figure flaws. That does not sound fun.
I don't like the term 'figure flaws'. In fact, it offends me.
Now, I understand that not all women are 100 percent in love with their figures all the time. But figure flaws? That's just rude. It assumes that it's a given, it assumes the viewer doesn't accept her figure. It assumes there is something about the bride that is flawed and must be hidden.
There are so many beautiful women in the world, for what reason are we focusing on flaws? And why do we even call them that?! What's with the implication that having curves or not having curves or being tall or short is a flaw? The only thing inclusive in that kind of thinking is that we are all flawed. This is just an observation but even women that don't look like Gisele are beautiful.
Your figure isn't flawed.
There might be things you love about your figure more then other things. Okay. So instead of calling the things you like less "flaws," can we all agree to discuss instead the things you want to show off, the things you love? I'm completely in support of finding the dress that works for your body, we all look and feel better in some things then other things. Let's talk about what you feel awesome wearing. Do you feel like Joan Holloway when you wear a pencil skirt? Fantastic! Do you feel feminine and sexy in a ball gown? Great! Let's start there.
I've had well-meaning friends suggest that I wear a padded bra to my wedding, thinking, I guess, that a padded bra would create some kind of cleavage. Um, I don't have cleavage, with or without a padded bra. I know this kind of discussion comes up among friends even if there isn't a wedding coming up, but I would just like to suggest a different perspective in this conversation. My fiancé knew what I looked like when he proposed. He accepted me "warts and all," as the saying goes. I would like to suggest that yours did too. And wouldn't this whole process be more fun if the conversation was about what makes you feel the most beautiful? And happy?
Women of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds fall in love and get married everyday. Love doesn't discriminate against different bodies types. Wedding dresses shouldn't either. Love is inclusive. Dresses can be too.
I saw a quote in Vogue from Alber Elbaz, the fabulous designer of Lanvin in Paris that said, "When I think of women, I don't think of size or age, I think of beauty."
I say yes, of course, exactly! And thank you.