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suits you: caroline castigliano’s tips on how to dress for your body shape

April 25th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Lyla

Lyla

Here at Brides Up North we are dedicated to helping to inspire, excite and assist you, our lovely readers, on your wedding planning journeys, arming you with all the necessary information to make the process more straightforward, and above all, enjoyable!

As such, we often call upon our trusted Sponsors, who are experts in their fields, to share their top advice, tips and pointers that will keep you right along the way. And today it’s the turn of top British bridal designer Caroline Castigliano to take to the blog with some fabulous words of wisdom for you ladies currently on the dream dress hunt.

As one of UK’s leading bridal designers, Caroline has been realising brides’ dreams for 27 years and has built up a glowing reputation for her incredibly beautiful designs with clever corsetry that shows of the female figure at its best.

We caught up with her as she prepared to fly off to New York Bridal Week to discuss how brides should best dress for their body shape. Ladies, you may well want to grab a notebook as this information is golden!

Images provided by Caroline Castigliano.

Baboushka

Baboushka

There are so many styles of wedding dresses to choose from the search can feel a little overwhelming. Initially, what should brides-to-be think about when setting out on their dress search?

caroline says: Once you have booked the venue, and have seen the room where you are going to have your wedding breakfast, you have seen the dance floor, you just want to think about that moment. When you leave the table and walk towards the dance floor with your now husband how is it that they want everyone to see you.

You don’t need to know the shape of the dress, if you are working with an expert they will find the silhouette for you. What you need to know is what that dress is saying to people – is it saying a very strong traditional look, soft and romantic, elegant and classic, vintage, boho. What is the appeal of the dress?

Without considering the silhouette decide on the vision – once this has been determined – go see one of our fantastic stockists and you will get advice. It is important to work with someone that understands silhouettes and fabrics so they can show you what suits you and what creates a strong silhouette for you.

If you are 5ft you will suit totally different silhouettes to someone that is 5’8” tall – if you are full busted you will suit different silhouettes to a bride that is more petite. Once you get going it is all quite easy but it starts with that one all important question – what vision do I want my future husband and my guests to see when I arrive at the wedding?

In what ways can professional boutique stylists and designers help brides make the most of their figure – highlight assets and disguise any body hang-ups?

When choosing a wedding gown, it’s important to find a silhouette that properly accentuates your figure. The cut and fabrics of your gown are essential for the beauty of your dress.

Fit is everything, a gown has to fit amazingly, it has to balance a person’s figure, bring out all the fantastic elements and play down the things they don’t like so much. They should look in the mirror and feel that they have never ever looked so beautiful; that they look the most beautiful they ever have in their life – that is the absolute key.

The art of designing brilliantly is when you can have someone who comes in who is 5 ft tall with a very full bust and she looks incredible in a dress and you can also take a dress on a girl who is 5’9 with a very small bust and make her look absolutely incredible. Design is about being able to take all the different body shapes and make them look stunning.

Tertia

Tertia

How do your dresses help to enhance the female figure while remaining comfortable?

Corsets are the engineering of our gowns, they are the foundation that everything is built around – each panel is hand cut to mould and sculpt the figure. They also have a very flattering effect on the bride’s figure, I design the corsets to really balance the figure and extenuate a small waist. I have a number of different corsets that create different effects depending on the design of the gown, nothing will ever compare to a beautifully structured corset creating the foundation of the gown. We have also developed a unique stretch corset that is to die for so while you are getting the beautiful balance you also get great comfort.

What elements can help to improve a bride’s posture, stance and confidence? 

I like to create a corset in as many of my gowns as possible as it really helps a bride with her posture. Even if you are slim with a perfectly balanced figure corsetry helps in every way as it makes you stand up straight and walk nicely with a straight back. It also effects the way she sits so ultimately has a sensational effect on all the photographs and videos taken on the big day.

 What styles of dresses would you suggest for the following body shapes and which of your designs would you pick for each:

athletic

Tertia_front

Tertia

Brides who have a straight body shape will find they have a less defined waist than most. Your bust and hips tend to be pretty balanced and you are not as curvy. This is known as more of a ‘sporty’ athletic body shape, and it is important, when picking a bridal gown for a straight structure, to enhance your waistline and create a soft curve on the bust.

Look for: Bridal gowns with full skirts give the illusion that the hips are wider than they will add a feminine shape to you. Look for embellishment around the bust and necklines it is also good to have an off-the-shoulder strap as this draws the eye to the width of the shoulder and then gives the illusion that the figure is more curved as the eye leaves the shoulder to a small waist.

Avoid: Strapless dresses can make your shoulders look broader than they are so avoid harsh necklines and column wedding dresses that have no definition in their shape as they won’t give you a defined waist.

Caroline Castigliano gown of choice: Tertia

pear

Everlasting_front

Everlasting

Look for: For a pear-shaped body choose a ball gown. A waisted dress and full skirt accentuates the waist. These gowns will still show off your waistline and really flatter your body type. A pear shape bride wants to really emphasise the top of the body, beautiful arms, lovely bust shaping and small waist – a corset will always redefine your figure and create a perfect balance between your bust and waist. Choose a gown with embellishment on the bodice or a beautiful lace, falling in to a full or A-line skirt.

Caroline Castigliano gown of choice: Everlasting

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Very Significant Other: Getting Your Fiancé Involved

December 17th, 2012 | Julia Braime

David Lawson Studios

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Let’s get Christmas week off to an all-inclusive start with some advice from our regular guest blogger the lovely Rachel of Mosaic Brides about how you can get your other half involved in the wedding planning process.  And this isn’t just about getting the boys in order either, as this advice can apply to any wayward fiancé on either side of the partnership.  Get ‘em involved, people!  Using images from my own wedding (a groom who did as he was told FYI!) by David Lawson Studios

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Rachel says: For most of us girls an engagement ring isn’t necessary to start planning our big day, it simply signals a time to put our thoughts into action.  Long before we meet Mr or Mrs Right we spend time swooning over wedding dresses, deciding who our bridesmaids will be and how we will dress them – we even think about the flavour of the sponge and filling for our three-tier wedding cake (mine’s a simple iced white cake with vanilla, lemon and chocolate layers, decorated with fresh vintage style flowers)!

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By contrast our significant other may not have given any consideration to their wedding day, and for some even getting down on one knee does not prompt such thoughts.  As a result it’s sometimes the case that a bride can feel alone during the planning process when her partner takes a back seat and utters those three frustrating words "I don’t mind". But with many couples ditching traditional weddings in favour of more personal affairs, it’s never been more important that input comes from both sides to achieve a day that’s a reflection of both of you. 

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David Lawson Studios

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So, if your husband or wife-to-be is under the impression that their duties end at the proposal, suit hire and picking a best man or woman who will plan them a send off to rival The Hangover, I suggest the following…

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In the beginning

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Sit down and talk. From the very start make clear to your fiancé that you want them involved with planning the wedding and the ways in which they can help.

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Next, discuss your opinions on the main areas like destinations, venues, styling, size of the wedding, food, entertainment and, of course, the budget. To encourage your partner to come up with their own ideas, or to prevent them just going along with what you say, try writing down your ideas separately and then coming back together to discuss your thoughts. While you might have the same ideas on some things other areas might need compromise – it’s no good asking for their opinion and then ignoring it.

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David Lawson Studios

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Work as a team

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Part of being in a relationship is working as a team, a quality that can be incredibly useful when planning a wedding.

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Discuss which elements you can do together such as attending wedding fairs and venue visits then look at your strengths and divide some of the other jobs between you.  For example, if one of you is particularly creative then take the lead in styling the venue or designing invitations, if the other is good at research they can spend time looking up venues, entertainment, transport and so on. 

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It also makes sense to let the person who is good with numbers handle the budget while the more ballsy of the two can take charge when it comes to haggling.

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David Lawson Studios

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Talent spotting

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Don’t be offended if your partner doesn’t take an interest in every little thing.  It may well be the case that they don’t mind (or even care) which flowers, favours or bridesmaid dresses you have in mind but this provides the perfect opportunity to involve other relatives and friends. Meanwhile your fiancé can take some time out with their side of the bridal party to pick their wedding attire.

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Also allocate your other half jobs that you know will spike their interest. So if they love music leave them to look for a band or to plan the play list, if they fancy themself as the next Jamie Oliver ask them to consider food options or if they usually organise your annual holiday let them arrange a dream honeymoon.

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David Lawson Studios

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Keep calm and carry on

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If despite your best efforts you feel that your husband or wife-to-be is still not taking an interest talk to them – communication is key in a relationship and is absolutely essential when it comes to planning a wedding.

Let your other half know that you want them to be involved and explain the ways in which you can inject elements of your personalities into the day as this might help to engage them.  Equally don’t get carried away and leave your partner out – the day belongs to both of you.

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There is no doubt that planning a wedding is a stressful and demanding task that can lead to arguments but it should also be a time you enjoy together.  To avoid fall outs don’t talk wedding all the time. Try to have a night or two where discussing weddings is strictly off limits, giving you both a break and a chance to spend quality time with one another.

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Finally and most importantly don’t lose sight of the reasons why you are actually getting married, beyond the paper pompoms and that three tired cake there should be a whole lot of love.

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  – Images © 2012 David Lawson Studios

Rachel Parry of Mosaic Brides is a regular guest writer for Brides Up North

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