Express With The Dress

By Sharon Naylor

January 31, 2017 4 min read

Wedding gown styles evolve each year, giving brides a myriad of options to express their personal with the dress of their dreams. Wedding gown collections debut during Bridal Fashion Week. The world's top bridal gown designers -- Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier and Vivienne Westwood, to name a few -- show off their elegant, glamorous and adventurous creations. This year, Jennette Kruszka, director of marketing and public relations for renowned bridal gown shop Kleinfeld, says, "This season, both traditional and nontraditional trends floated down the runways."

Though designs are birthed from the designers' creativity and imagination, they also tend to represent generational and societal trends. For example, Kruszka notes that the modern-day bride wants to "look and feel effortless" on her wedding day. As such, one of the most popular silhouettes shown on the runway for the 2017 season is billowing sheaths of fabric, many of which are made with lightweight chiffon and organza. Cascading ruffles, one desired texture, are "a great way to incorporate an element of drama." The ruffles are expertly placed and spaced to create a flowing effect, especially down the gown skirt.

Modernization appears in other aspects, such as modesty and femininity. For example, lace choices are shown in bolder, more graphic designs compared to the finer, more delicate designs of years past. Off-the-shoulder dresses are gaining steam, which may suit a bride's wish to show a bit of skin. Marchesa, Sashin & Babi, Maggie Sottero and other designers tried this look. In an elegant, daring move, many brides are choosing gowns with plunging necklines. Illusion necklines allow appliques, beading and crystals to look as if they rest on the bride's skin, creating an elegant yet sexy look. These styles were among Brides Fashion Director Elle Strauss' top 11 favorite wedding dresses for fall 2017.

According to Kruszka, brides are always looking for something new. "For the last several years," she says, "strapless has been the number one silhouette, but the new generation of brides wants to give a nod to old-school style by including modern day sleeves." Designers and customers alike are still talking about Kate Middleton's trendsetting gown with full-length lace sleeves. On the runway today is an array of romantic cap sleeves, flutter sleeves and even flowing boho sleeves.

As we know, when it comes to fashion, accessories can complete an outfit. The veil is a staple accessory for the bridal gown. A long cathedral veil with little to no embellishment is a classic look that appeared on the runway. But nontraditional headpieces were also seen. For example, bridal designer Mark Zunino showed an organza hooded caplet. Kruszka says: "(It) is a great way for a bride to wow guests and get two looks in one. The hood replaces the veil and can be worn for the ceremony and removed for the reception." Say, for example, the place of worship where the ceremony is held requires that women's shoulders be covered. A caplet is both functional and fashionable.

No matter what style of dress is chosen, seeking out a talented alterations expert is a must. That way, the bride can ensure the dress fits comfortably and perfectly to her shape.

Every bride deserves to look and feel her best on her special day. The 2017 bridal gown trends allow for full self-expression and individuality.

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

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