Wedding Fashion Trends 2011
By Devorah Isenberg , Thursday, March 17, 2011
The much-anticipated royal wedding is only weeks away, and millions of brides worldwide are putting the finishing touches on their spring weddings. The most important part of the wedding is, of course, the dress and all the little special accessories that make the bride look like a princess on her special day. Although wedding fashion tends to be pretty timeless and classic, there are a few bridal fashion trends that can take your ensemble from pretty to perfect, and elevate your whole look. Weddings this year are old-school, glamorous, and elegant, reflecting the royal nuptials and the resurgence of high fashion and the economy. Of course, if you have your heart set on wearing flip flops to your beach wedding, it’s still your day and you should do what makes you happy, but for the rest of you, here are the big trends that will define bridal fashion in 2011.
Hats. Believe it or not, hats are back, and they look like never before. Inspired by Kate Middleton and the royal family, who wear hats to many state functions, and perhaps by Sarah Jessica Parker’s unforgettable headpiece at the Sex and the City premiere, hats are the hottest way to cover your hair and set off a simple hairstyle. Try the small formal piece known as the fascinator—it’s a small hat or cap embellished with feathers, lace, netting or beads, and it will look stunning with a retro-inspired gown.
Dresses. Both structured column dresses and traditional ballgowns continue to float down the bridal runways, so you can decide if you want to look like a Hollywood starlet or a fairy tale princess. Either way, embellishments are back and bigger than ever. Three-dimensional floral details add dramatic visual appeal and texture; an entire skirt made of fluttering organza petals can create the perfect look. Corset structures and boning help brides look their best on their wedding day, and visible corset details add subtle sexiness and a definite vibe of femininity to even the simplest column dress. Last but not least, the sparkle and shimmer that has been lighting up the red carpet all year is translated for the wedding dress in a slightly more elegant, less dazzling way. Sequins and beads are toned down for a subtle and elegant shimmer, while pearls add luster and opulence, making even a simple dress seem regal.
Hairstyles. After years of tousled, beachy hair at weddings, the updo has finally returned to its place of prominence in the bridal pantheon. Whether you have fine, thin hair or an abundant mass of curls, a skilled hairstylist (and perhaps a few extensions) can give you the dramatic upsweep of hair that you’ve always wanted. Keep the style loose and slightly undone, with stray curls floating down, or go structured and Grace Kelly-inspired for a look that is as timeless as it is beautiful. Embrace the ease of having your hair tucked out of the way, and use the beautiful backdrop provided by your hair for a gorgeous piece of hair jewelry. Hair jewelry, such as clips, combs, barrettes and even tiaras, is the most important piece of bridal jewelry (other than your engagement ring, of course!) It’s what transforms a simple chignon into an elegant bridal hairstyle, and what makes a casual ponytail into a wedding-worthy look. Don’t be afraid of using some structure and height to highlight your beautiful eyes.
Jewelry. For the most part, the oversized statement jewelry of the last few years has given way to smaller, most subtle, but more precious pieces. Don’t just load up on diamonds; choose pieces with personal significance to your and your husband. For “something old,” wear a pendant necklace that belonged to his grandmother. For “something blue,” sapphire earrings and bracelets are a huge trend, as they contrast beautifully with a stark white dress. If your dress has a heavily embellished neckline, skip the necklace and opt for a gorgeous pair of earrings or a tennis bracelet instead; if the dress is relatively plain and simple, choose one statement piece of jewelry to tie your whole ensemble together. Of course, the number one rule of bridal jewelry remains this: use your engagement ring as your guide. If your engagement ring is a heavily embellished, yellow gold piece, use that as your cue. If it is sleek, modern platinum, follow that look in the rest of your outfit. You want the engagement ring to be a natural part of the entire look.
Trains. No matter the style of your dress, a train can elevate your look and make you look royal and dignified, even if inside you still can’t get over the fact that it’s actually you getting married. Although the new princess will probably wear a full chapel-length train to her royal nuptials, you can opt for something a little less fussy and a little more modern. A train that just touches the floor and is edged in gorgeous beading or embroidery will add an Old World touch to your look. An even more modern approach is the Watteau train, which starts at the back of your dress, near your shoulder blades, and cascades to the floor in an ethereal, delicate sweep.
Bridesmaids. Don’t forget the lovely ladies who will walk down the aisle with you and stand by your side as you say one of the two most important words of your life. Move away from the tacky brights and boring pastels of the past, and try to find bridesmaids dresses your ‘maids will actually want to wear again. One way to do this is to find a few coordinating dresses in a non-bridal store and encourage them to purchase those. Another way is to choose a flattering, stylish color and allow them to choose the style that suits their taste and body type. Two color trends that made a huge splash on the red carpet this year would work perfectly for bridesmaids’ dresses. The first is deep jewel tones like emerald and sapphire. The deep colors flatter every face and figure, and the rich, vibrant hues keep the look upscale and elegant. Another, more modern option is to choose classy neutrals like gray and black, and then ask the bridesmaids to dress up the look with a flower corsage, ribbon belt, or pretty hairpiece. Then, after the ceremony, they will be left with a work-appropriate little black dress they can wear over and over again. Don’t forget to thank your bridesmaids with a sweet little piece of jewelry, like a pendant necklace engraved with their initials.
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