Dressing for your wedding day is the ultimate exercise in personal style— it’s the union of every facet of how you dress wrapped up into a single day. And as we all know, bridal choices and inspiration are famously endless, especially with each passing season of Bridal Fashion Week.
Meet the Expert
But to avoid getting lost in all the glamour and newness of each wedding dress debut, we’ve created a guide—with the help of Hope LaVine, a Santa Monica-based bridal stylist—to help interpret incoming and past trends, based on four major bridal style categories.
Keep reading for information that’ll help you navigate the world of bridal fashion and land you your dream dress.
For the Traditional Bride
Follow styles that draw inspiration from the past, with a heart for tradition and flair for family heirlooms. Instead of looking for gowns that embody new silhouettes, or steer away from white and ivory, be sure to embrace bridal fashion details that have been around for years. Specifically, brides with traditional tastes should follow collections with gowns featuring long trains, classic fabrics, and sweetheart necklines.
When it comes to “the bride who has dreamt of that quintessential wedding dress their whole life,” as LaVine describes, classic silhouettes are key. Even more, dramatic trains are essential in tying together of-the-moment, but timeless aesthetics. They are instant statement-makers with a quiet glamour.
Sweetheart Necklines & Classic Fabrics
Another key trend bride-to-be should pay attention to are “lace, satin, and sweetheart necklines,” says LaVine. Once a staple of 80s style, sweetheart necklines are back and more popular than ever. And to take your wedding day style a little further, look for gowns featuring a bustier style top, with thin straps and a sweetheart neckline.
For the Fashion Forward Bride
As LaVine puts it, “this bride is looking for that up-and-coming designer, that end of the show statement piece, that dress that no one has seen before.” For this style group, dresses that offer a sense of discovery, a feeling of uniqueness, and an outfit that’s unforgettable are looks most brides will gravitate towards. Most importantly, two key trends to pay attention to are:
Certainly not for the faint of heart, gloves as bridal accessories are an old-school trend that has recently come back into popularity—as designers toe the line between accessories and removable garment pieces. Also, nothing makes a ring pop quite like a gloved hand. Try adding a pair to a rehearsal dinner outfit or after-party dress if the look down the aisle feels too “runway”.
It’s hardly news that some of the most fashionable moments for brides don’t include white dresses. Jumpsuits have become the unofficial uniform for cool girl brides who want to maintain their personal style during their wedding—with looks that range from oversized to tightly tailored and prim. Wide-leg jumpsuits have also made a massive splash and can be perfectly paired with heels for a look that feels endlessly fresh.
For the Non-Traditional Bride
You might be asking, Who is a non-traditional bride? According to LaVine, it’s those that are “romantic and rebellious at heart.” A bride ready to march to the beat of her own drum. If you fall into this category, designers who create unconventional, one-of-a-kind looks are going to be your go-to. Think, styles with lots of embellishments, unique textures, daring silhouettes, and non-white dresses.
Unique Textures & Daring Necklines
If you’re set on working in the traditional color palette (and even if you’re not!), there are many ways to branch out into the realm of non-traditional—and you’ll likely want to opt for dresses with pearls, modern textiles, or feather embellishments. Daring necklines are also a great place to start if all over embroidery feels overwhelming. You can even look for accessories that pop and add character to any wedding day look—styles like hot pink pumps or a feathered clutch.
What’s more unforgettable than a colored wedding dress? Embrace all the hues, from pale pink to a bold red, and look out for collections that offer every color shade. Traditional silhouettes can even be made “bold” with a splash of color incorporated into a veil, collar, and belt.
For the Contemporary Bride
Look for “designs with lines that draw you in,” advises LaVine. The contemporary bride loves a structural detail paired with clean, crisp fabrics like “crepe, silk, or satin,” and won’t let traditional bridal norms keep her from a completely modern look. Collections that are understated but captivating (i.e. those with shorter hemlines and A-line silhouettes) are one’s that will grab your attention if you identify with this bridal style. Additionally, gowns that have capes and high necklines are further details to look out for when viewing new collections.
Channel Solange Knowles with the trend that seems to make a comeback season after season—the cape. This trend fits with any dress length, and can also be incorporated with jumpsuits and pantsuits if styled properly. While some styles may come with integrated capes, others typically incorporate versions that can be easily removed for a more transitional piece.
For ultimate sophistication, try a high neck on your wedding day. The elegant trend works amazingly in fluid fabrics that follow the lines of the body. Furthermore, high necklines offer brides the opportunity to shine, and they forever feel timeless and modern. Pro tip: You can never go wrong with a high neck and short hemline for a 1960s inspired glam look.