Wedding Dresses: Ball Gown

Photo by Volans Couture

The dramatic huge, bell-shaped shirt and glittering, tight bodice makes the ball gown a regal choice for the brides hoping to create their own version of happily ever after. Just for that moment you are living the fairy tale you dreamed of as a little girl. Don’t be shy admitting you want to be princess for a day. Slip one on and be dazzled!

The Basic Design

Imagine Cinderella’s dress. That is this gown looks like. The top is usually a fitted bodice that reaches to the waist, while the bottom is a very full skirt that flows outwards till it circles your body. Depending on the design, you may need to wear a hoop skirt or few layers of crinoline underneath to pad the skirt. Adding tiered layers to the skirt, delicate embroidery and other embellishments makes these gowns even more ornate. Perhaps the most popular element in a ball gown dress is tulle. This fine silk or nylon netting is often used to keep the skirt in shape whether it is used to form the layers or as an underlay for soft fabrics like organza and taffeta.

Photo by La Belle Couture

Princess Gown vs. Ball Gown

Princesses, especially fairy tale princesses, wear ball gowns. However in reality the princess gown is not as extravagant as the ball gown. The design is an A-line silhouette with clean cut lines that was made popular by Grace Kelly when she married Prince Rainer III back in 1965. Below are descriptions that lists the differences between the two styles.

Princess Gown: Instead of a clear waistline seams, there are two vertical seams that travel from the bust to the hem. Visually these seams help to make your body appear longer and slimmer. Back at the waist, the skirt flows from the bodice to form one continuous piece. It is tightest around the hips, but it widens slowly after that. A princess gown is can be kept at knee-length or stretch across the floor to form a cathedral train. While the skirt will never be as generous as that of a ball gown, you can wear layers of petticoats to make it look fuller.

Ball Gown: This design is much less versatile. There is simply no such thing as a knee-length skirt. However, you can certain consider adding a long train for that extra wow factor when you walk down the aisle. Besides having an obvious waistline seam, the ball gown doesn’t hug the hips like the princess gown. The skirt simply spills outwards from the waist to form a circular shape round the lower half of your body. Your skirt may come as a separate piece instead of being attached directly to the bodice.  

Ideal Body Type

The full skirt help to hide the lower body, so pear shaped brides wishing to hide wide hips and thighs love it. With the right bodice structure and skirt volume, a curvaceous, well-endowed bride will appear to have a lovely hourglass shaped figure. Adding a dropped waist can help to further emphasis a small waist or at least create the illusion of one for women who aren’t as blessed. Tall, slender brides also look great in this opulent gown as their height prevents them from disappearing among the folds of their huge skirt.

Petite or big sized brides may find the design a less than flattering. Short, small-sized brides may be dwarfed by the sheer volume of their skirt, while the more voluptuous plus-sized brides may feel she appears a little too bottom heavy. These lovely ladies may wish to consider getting a princess cut instead. With enough crinoline underneath, they can make the A-line skirt almost as generous as that of a ball gown, without distorting their natural proportions.

Photo by My Dream Wedding

How to Style Your Ball Gown

Wear Simple Accessories: Extra adornments may pull attention away from your statement piece. Try to stick to thin chains and bracelets or wear a single strand of pearls. Chunky jewelry should only considered as a second option. At most wear one or two such pieces.

Minimize Gown Details: Diamante, rhinestones and embroidery are lovely in moderation. Remember your gown is beautiful enough without them. Too many glittering stones or intricate lines may pull the focus away from design. When that happens, the initial impact is lost.

Photo by White Link

Choose a Manageable Skirt:  The magnificent multi-tiered skirts on display in the shop windows aren’t very comfortable to wear on the most hectic day of your life. Having a flattering skirt that falls closer to your body makes it easier to enter and exit the car and you won’t need to worry about squeezing through the narrow doorways.

Keep Your Makeup Subtle: The nude look is great for a daytime ceremony. A simple blush, a hint of pink and brown along the eyelids, some colour on the lips and a touch of mascara are really all you need to pull off the look. To be elegant, you have to compliment your dazzling gown and not compete with it. This same logic applies to your evening makeup as well.

Photo by Z Wedding Design

Most women are romantics at heart. That’s why the princess-like ball gown continues to fascinate them even though they are no longer little girls. Certainly any bride wearing this dress shall make a grand entrance as she steps into the ceremonial hall. With the right accessories and make up, who’s to say you aren’t a princess for that day.

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