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ABC's of Bridal Fashion: Part One

As seen on www.thedcladies.com

With the vast range of types of fabrication, silhouettes, and colors, the process of shopping for your wedding dress/ bridesmaids dresses can be one of the longest and largest tasks of wedding planning, and a bit overwhelming. Luckily, you are given a trained consultant with a wealth of knowledge to assist you, but sometimes it can sound like she is speaking another language!

“Organza, what? Box pleat, where? And what shade of blue really is “topaz”?” It’s time to gain some background knowledge of bridal terminology to prepare yourself for your big shopping day, with the ABC’s of Bridal Fashion!



A-Line Vs. Fit- and- Flare– the silhouette of your bridal gown can set the tone for your entire bridal party. An A-line dress is the classic shape of a dress/skirt that is fitted at the waist, narrow at the hips, and flares wider towards the hem. This is the most flattering skirt for most figures. The Fit- and- Flare shape has many variations including trumpet and mermaid. The Fit-and-Flare silhouette is fitted from bodice to the lower hips, and has a skirt that flares from the mid-thigh, or lower. This style tends to give a more formal tone.

Bustle- Although a train is absolutely stunning (the longer, then better- I think!), it is not the most practical when you want to shake it on the dance floor. You have options when it comes to which type of bustle you want.

The American Bustle is also referred to as the “outer bustle”, where the train is hooked to the outside of the skirt, typically at the waist.

The French Bustle is when the train is fastened up and under skirt (not the lining) and creates a visible fold in the back of the skirt. May seem like you are adding a little more junk to your trunk, but it can truly make a dress!

The Ballroom Bustle is achieved when the train is flipped up and fastened to the lining of the dress to make the skirt the same length all the way around. You can even add a few fastens for more pick-ups. Think Belle from Beauty in the Beast with all of her pick –ups!

*Don’t forget to pack a few safety pins on your wedding day because bustles are known to break 15 minutes in to your reception*

Chiffon, Silk Taffeta, and Tulle… Oh My! – There are many types of fabrications for both Bridal gowns and bridesmaids dresses, so having a grasp on whether you like the soft, flowy look or more of the structured feel can be a great starting point!

Chiffon– The soft, sheer, transparent fabric that is popular for bridesmaids dresses. This lightweight material compliments most wedding gown materials and is most flattering for all body types. Chiffon can be matte flat, crinkled with texture, or even luminescent. This fabric tends to provide the most options when it comes to colors.

Faille– a grosgrain, glossy fabric that is stiff and provides structure to the dress. The weight of the material creates less volume in the skirt.

Georgette– is a handwoven sheer fabric that is a blend of crepe fibers. Similar to chiffon, but slightly thicker.

Silk Taffeta– A smooth, lustrous, plain woven fabric. Very common for bridal gowns and bridesmaids dresses.

Tulle– A very fine netting that is used in layers to create more volume. This fabric gives off a very feminine and romantic feel to any dress style. Tulle can also be called English Netting or Bobbinet.


Some other common terminologies you may want to brush up on include:

Ruche– The pleated, folded fabric detail on the bodice or skirts of dresses. Ruching in the bodice adds a touch of design to a dress that gives an overall flattering effect.

Hidden Zipper– This refers to when the zipper of the dress is on the side seam. It is “hidden” under your arm to visually look seamless at every angle.

Illusion Neckline- When the dress has a sheer overlay that is attached from waist to top of bodice. Typically a sweetheart lining will visible under the high neck style. Can be done on one shoulder and two- strap styles.


Drop a few of these words during your appointment and impress your consultant with how much you already know on your shopping day!


Photography: Megan Harris Photography

© 2020 Christine McFarlane Events

Baltimore, Maryland

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