The Secrets Of Structured Wedding Dresses (For The Most Flattering Fit)

Most brides to be will find out or know already that shopping for a wedding gown is unlike any other shopping trip. Even when we’re getting dressed up for an important event, we mainly wear a dress or an outfit that slips happily over our faithful bra and hold-in pants. We rely on that hidden “scaffolding” to make us feel our best for every occasion, or we simply find our everyday clothes have added stretch fibres in the fabrics which do a lot of the ‘fitting’ for us. So day to day we don’t really have to worry about structure much at all.

When it comes to the most important occasion of all however- your wedding day– you want to look your absolute best, and your trusty underwear may not suit the gown you choose. In fact, it comes as a surprise to most brides, that other than a pair of pants, you don’t actually need a bra or a corset at all, as it can add more bulk than anything else.

Once you start trying on wedding dresses you may decide you want a strapless gown, maybe even backless. That’s where clever structure should come into play. There are so many categories of wedding dresses, the list is endless. So we thought we’d break down some of the designs from our dress collection with our specialist corset queen, Kay Heeley who always puts structure into her gowns regardless of style.

Kay has designed and manufactured gowns for real women for over 20 years, and she brings this extensive experience into the dress collection she designed for The Perfect Bridal Company. Every dress incorporates hidden structure for the most flattering fit, ensuring each style works beautifully across the entire size chart, from a UK 4 to and UK 32.

PB Willow dress detail | The Perfect Bridal Company
Our Willow dress has a balcony bra style fitting

When a dress comes with structure this means the dress is equipped with some kind of boning, consisting of lightweight strips of plastic sewn between on the seams of the bodice of your dress. This boning is used to help the bodice stay in place when wearing a strapless dress. It can also help you with your posture, create shape and help iron out seams that naturally crease, to keep them looking crisp and smooth.

Boning is also a great help for the woman with a larger bust, who feels that she always has to wear a bra under her clothes, but also for ladies who have a small bust to give them a little more shape in this area.

PB bodice detail | The Perfect Bridal Company
Boning helps keeps a strapless dress in place

Another feature in all of our gowns are bra cup moulds, which adds instant bust shape regardless of shape and size. Added push up bra cups can also be incorporated by a bridal seamstress if more fullness is needed and these are easily placed if the dress already has the perfect bust shape created by boning and bra moulds.

PB bra cup detail | The Perfect Bridal Company
Bra cup moulds add instant bust shape whatever your size

Structure in a wedding dress helps you feel just as comfortable as if you were wearing a bra and allows you to expose more of your neckline, shoulders or back with confidence.

The comfort factor is such an important criteria for most brides, so a structured dress doesn’t always need to mean not being able to breathe! Most boning available to manufacturers these days is made with soft mouldable plastic strips encased in a sew-able tape, which actually softens slightly when in contact with the body. When a bride puts on a dress for the first time Kay often compares the feeling to putting on a pair of jeans straight out of the wash- after wearing those jeans for 10 mins, they feel more comfortable as the fabric fibres relax under body heat… your wedding gown will do the same.

So, let’s talk styles- one of our favourite styles for a bra like feel is Willow (image above), with an in built balcony style bra. The bodice looks and feels like a basque and the boning is cleverly used in a way to replicate an actual corset cup. Added support in this style is helped by the wide set slim straps which are still delicate enough to not take away from the neckline, but add that supportive feeling.

Willow has a stretch crepe lining means it has the comfort factor and is also be suitable for all sizes. We created a blog a few months ago regarding the myth around fishtails, that they only suit super slim brides. This is not the case and we encourage girls to simply try all options!

PB Sarah detail | The Perfect Bridal Company
Our Sarah dress incorporates Kay’s clever boning techniques

One of our most popular styles which absolutely would suit any shape and size is Sarah. This structured Mikado gown gives the most incredible shape to anyone! The soft V style bodice is so flattering it draws your eyes to the waist, and the huge box pleat skirt against the waist ratio means any bride will literally lose a dress size without even trying! 

The fact that the fabric is already structured means that the boning is only in the centre front bodice panels, down the bust seams and side seams, as the fabric does a lot of the work. Take a look at the images below to see inside this dress and Kay’s clever boning techniques which she incorporates into all her gowns.

If a bride is saying ‘I Do’ in a sunny destination abroad, she may choose a dress style that’s looser, more flowing and lighter in weight than something structured with a built in corset. Don’t worry- we also have that covered with our Madeline and Erin gowns. These light weight tulle and chiffon dresses with their sheer illusion bodices still have cleverly inserted structure, giving a bride of any size the support and shape they desire.

As we’ve already said, structure doesn’t have to be hot and uncomfortable, it’s actually the thickness of the fabric which does that. So when choosing a dress for a sunnier destination, our Erin and Madeline dresses give the option of comfort as well as shape.

Structure really is what makes a Perfect Bridal dress so special and a cut above in terms of fit and quality, as well as the attention to detail and inner construction. All of this has been designed by Kay Heeley who has worked with structure and silhouettes for over 20 years, so most definitely knows how to create the most flattering fit.

Try on one of our dresses at your nearest stockist and you will see we are committed to delivering not only impeccable design with every dress, but also internal corsetry and support for brides of all shapes and sizes. You may never want to wear an unstructured garment again!

Click here to find your nearest stockist.

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