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Top tips for strapless gowns

Published: 
Sunday, August 10, 2014

Simone Sant-Ghuran

Strapless gowns first made their appearance in the 1930s and 1940s and was a style of choice by famous design houses such as Halston and Dior.

One of the most famous early strapless gowns was a black stunner worn by Rita Hayworth in the 1946 movie, Gilda.

Since the 1990s though, strapless gowns have been the gown of choice for an overwhelming number of brides. In fact, in 2012 Kate Berry, style director for Martha Stewart Weddings, estimated that “75 per cent of all the wedding dresses out there nowadays are of the strapless variety.”

There are two schools of thought on strapless—with some designers saying that strapless gowns tend to be flattering on most women, while other designers are saying that it is one of the more difficult silhouettes to wear.

However, most would agree that the reason why some women have problems with strapless gowns is largely to do with the fit, size, and the fact that the bodices don’t have the requisite boning and inner structure such as a built-in bra or a waist stay (this is a piece of grosgrain or petersham ribbon attached to the boning inside the gown to prevent the bodice from sliding down).

Here are some common fit issues:

Pulling up—We’ve all seen it (and perhaps done it too)—pulling up strapless dresses by our thumbs and fingers during the course of an evening.

Spillage—This happens when the strapless bodice is too tight or too low-cut, causing the chest area to puff or pop out over the top of the bodice. Some women also get pockets of flab appearing just under the collarbones. 

Armpit or back flab—These are pockets or folds of skin that bunch up in the underarm or back area as a result of an improper fit.

Uni-boob—This happens when an ill-fitting bodice creates a squashed together chest, which has no definition.

Wearing the strapless gown too high—The cut of the neckline should be flattering but it won’t appear that way if the neckline is hoisted too far up the chest.

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