There is a heartbreaking familiarity to the experience: once again, plus-size people are relegated to shop in isolation and online, losing out on the shared moment with friends when you try on “your dress” for the first time. Shaw continued, “If you extrapolate why a plus bride doesn’t have access to a beautiful shopping experience for a dress, it’s hard to overlook who society deems worthy of that moment or that day.” Every bride should have the opportunity to feel special, and clicking ‘add to cart’ pales in comparison to the champagne popping celebration we were promised. It is beyond disappointing to experience body shaming, and have to defend your body, in a moment when all you should feel is adulation.
So while we impatiently wait for the bridal industry to catch up to the desires of the modern plus-size bride, we hope these strategies, focused on what is within your control, make the dress buying process a more positive and joyous experience.
Trust Your Instincts
Firstly, there are no “rules” when it comes to plus-size bridal, apart from it fitting you, literally and emotionally, so dress however you see fit. Go for the tight bodycon lace dress, or a ballgown with a cloud of tulle or something sexy and slinky—just make sure it’s unapologetically you and suits the nuptials you have planned. Plus-size people are often forced to settle for availability over personal preference—don’t let this be one of those occasions. You deserve to look breathtaking, just as much as a straight sized bride does. Be certain you’re saying yes to the dress because it’s really THE ONE.
Research, and Call, Ahead of Time
Along with that healthy diet of body-positive bridal (Lindy West’s transcendent writing on being a fat bride is a must read) start researching size inclusive bridal lines. When you discover a designer you love, Gaby Bayona—the designer behind four size-inclusive bridal lines (Laudae, Aesling, Truvelle and Halseene)—suggests reaching out to them directly to inquire about trunk shows with larger size ranges, or for their list of bridal boutiques that stock their line in-house. It might be possible for the shop to bring your dream dress in a plus-size sample (typically a size 18 / 20) so you can have a closer sense of how the final dress will look on you. Also request to see images of the dress on brides close to your size so you can see how the fit grades up. You’re not being pushy, you’re not asking for too much—you are just trying to make the biggest clothing purchase of your life. You deserve all the information necessary to make the best decision.