Full, Glittering, Cropped -- It's All In The Details

By Sharon Naylor

January 20, 2015 5 min read

Today's top wedding gown style has been described as "light and airy," "modern minimalist" and "ethereal," but what exactly makes a wedding gown all of these things? It's a delicate design at the bodice -- as opposed to the stiff, constructed bodice style of years past -- and a fuller flowing skirt, as opposed to the sleeker sheath dresses of years past. Brides want their wedding gowns to be fairy tale pretty, to look stunning from all angles. Diane Forden, editor in chief of Bridal Guide magazine, says that wedding gowns for 2015 "run the gamut from classic ballgowns to short, flirty dresses, romantic and vintage to city-chic. It's up to the bride to decide what dress looks and feels best on her." She encourages brides to try on many different styles of dresses (including ones they don't think will look good on them) to find The One.

Here are some of the top trends in wedding gown designs:

--Fuller skirts. In today's gown style, tulle skirts designed in layers add volume, movement and softness to the full-length gown look.

--Glam vintage style. Think "The Great Gatsby": long, elegant dresses with intricate beading reminiscent of the 1920s and '30s. Hand-sewn beading in masterful artistry is a top look this year, making the wedding gown even more special to wear. Also included in this look are sequins, tiny pearls and lace.

--Drop-waist dresses. A dropped waist elongates the figure, leading into a full skirt. This, especially, is one of those gown styles that Forden referred to -- the dress that might not look good on the hanger, but is in fact extremely flattering.

--Long lace sleeves. The Duchess of Cambridge set the standard with her lace-sleeved wedding gown, and it's a trend that hasn't faded. In fact, lace is even more popular now. We'll see lace collars, especially, for a regal wedding day look ala Kate Middleton.

--Illusion sleeves. "Illusion" material is a sheer fabric that allows for a sense of being covered up, but it is sheer, light, airy and delicate. Illusion material is used for pretty cap sleeves over the shoulder and as the material for the popular cape or jacket trend seen on bridal fashion runways. (The bride, then, gets two looks for her wedding gown: one with the illusion jacket and one without.)

--Off-the-shoulder sleeves. The exposed shoulder is all the rage in wedding gown styles, with the look encompassing many styles from strapless to a dropped loop of fabric extending from each strap, revealing the shoulder. Off-the-shoulder sleeves are seen in all manner of gown styles, from vintage to modern to rustic.

--Back details. An open back is one of the most popular looks for wedding gowns in 2015, with the bride's back "framed" by the keyhole or portrait opening of the back of the dress. Intricate, artistic lace often surrounds the open back, adding softness and romance to what might be considered an ultra-sexy show of skin. Lace makes exposed backs look prettier and more princess-like.

--Dresses in color. While white and ivory will always be popular wedding gown colors (especially given how many different shades of white and ivory there are), today's bride is open to a wedding dress in color. She pays no mind to the symbolism of the white dress and instead chooses her gown shade to complement her skin tone and meet her dream dress vision. Top colors of wedding dresses seen on the bridal fashion runways: blush colors of pink, pale blue, lavender, gray, silver, tan, mauve and mint green, for something different and more personalized.

--Metallics. Gowns with sparkle are in, with perhaps a shimmering wrap effect around the hips, in material that glitters in the light, making this more of a look for nighttime weddings. Top colors in metallics are gold and copper, which are warmer shades that work year-round.

--Crop dresses. These two-piece dresses for the unconventional bride feature the bride's exposed stomach, most often in a very subtle way, just for a glimpse of skin at the mid-section, above a short or full skirt. This is a top choice for destination weddings, as well.

Because vintage dress styles are in, more brides are commissioning replicas of their grandmother's or great-grandmother's wedding dresses, bringing in vintage lace styles and that breathtaking beadwork that the '20s and '30s are known for.

Sharon Naylor is the author of "The Bride's Guide to Freebies" and three dozen additional wedding books.

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