The coolest thing about Barbie is all her different personalities. There’s Night-Time Glamour Barbie, President Barbie, Palaeontologist Barbie and even Rapper Barbie; in total, there are more than 150 careers on her CV, giving five-year-olds everywhere the opportunity to express each and every side of their own personalities. Looking for your wedding dress is a bit like shopping for a Barbie. Except you have to pick only one. That’s where the fun starts.
Some people have clear visions of what they want their wedding dress to be. Classicists have long dreamed of a big meringue, while aesthetes know not to bother with lace. But, despite having a strong sense of what I like and what suits me, I find buying clothes a little like choosing a Barbie. I can flip from whimsical to structured to glitz and glamour with the swish of a blazer and heels, which is half an occupational hazard, and half a fun game of dress-up – completely fine on a normal day, but when it comes to shopping for my wedding dress, I’m going to have to commit to just one; a near impossible task.
I’m not alone in being overwhelmed by the choice. According to recent statistics, 30% of UK brides try on between five and nine dresses before finding The One, with an alarming 7.5% road-testing 20-30 styles. I know I’m in the majority when it comes to choosing a colour (59% go for ivory) but apart from that, I’m none the wiser, which is why I’m doing my research far in advance. In a bid not to be in that 7.5%, I’ve decided to narrow down the types of brides I might want to be – here are just some of the options I’m considering so far…
STYLE: Modern, sexy bride
STOCKED AT: Galvan London in Notting Hill
Brit brand Galvan is a hero for silky, slip-like dresses; a bit like Meghan Markle’s halterneck Stella McCartney evening gown. I love the simplicity of their designs and their anarchically pared-back shapes; the dramatic tie-neck Mayfair design is ideal for a sexy wedding look that still has an elegant appeal.
BRAND: Alon Livné White
STYLE: Fashion bride
STOCKED AT: Morgan Davies Bridal in Clerkenwell
If I decide to go for something more trend-led, Israeli brand Livné White, by designer Alon Livné, will be my first port of call. Bodice-style 2018 offerings make even full-skirt styles feel modern, whilst the Valencia jumpsuit has caught my eye for a potential late-night change.
BRAND: Liz Martinez
STYLE: High-octane drama bride
STOCKED AT: Angelica Bridal in Angel
If, like me, you have a slimmer top half and wider bottom, a more naked-on-top wedding dress is an option worth considering. Liz Martinez’s plunging designs with dramatic tulle skirts may have a touch of the OTT about them, but the dimensions are guaranteed to flatter.
BRAND: Monique Lhullier
STYLE: Romantic, traditional bride
US label Monique Lhullier may not be at the affordable end of the bridal scale, but her showstopping collection of tulle, floral and lace adorned dresses has the perfect balance of tradition and romance. The plunge-neck Annie with bow detail and cap sleeve is another flattering shape, this time with a feminine feel as opposed to the skin-baring Liz Martinez designs.
STYLE: Casual, cool bride
STOCKED AT: TheReformation.com
It’s easy to get carried away with some of the showstopping gowns out there, but my rational side says spending a small fortune on a dress I’ll wear once is a serious waste. Reformation’s bridal collection is tempting, particularly for a wedding abroad – romantic, floaty designs (again with that plunging neckline) will be practical for dancing the night away in the heat. Plus, considering how much more affordable they are than other designer dresses, I can justify the pesky customs fee.
BRAND: Zahavit Tshuba
STYLE: Modern, romantic bride
STOCKED AT: The brand was stocked at Les Trois Soeurs, but the Canary Wharf boutique has now closed.
I’ve easily saved the best for last. Having originally convinced myself I wanted something simple, understated and elegant, this was the brand that made me do a 180 – the impossibly romantic, over-the-top tulle creations from the Israeli designer have that illustrious trifecta of cool, beautiful and show-stopping. Booking that appointment now…
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