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Style for Mature Brides

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 21 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Older Bride Mature Bride Wedding Dress

With more women postponing marriage until later in life and many women remarrying in their middle age, mature brides have become a commonplace phenomenon and many of the ‘taboos’ on wedding attire for older brides no longer apply. An older bride does not need to look ‘matronly’. No matter what your age, you should be able to wear what fabric, styles and colours you like. However, there are still some guidelines worth following to ensure that a mature bride looks her best.

Trains

In general, there is no etiquette rule stating that mature brides cannot wear a train – it is ultimately a personal decision. Mature brides, however, tend to have a more practical mind-set and therefore may wish to opt for a dress with no train or at least a minimal one. This way, not only will the dress be less hassle to wear but it is also more likely to be easily re-used in the future as an evening gown or cocktail dress.

Alternatively, if you have really set your heart on a traditional look, then ask your dressmaker or alterations specialist for a ‘wedding dress bustle’ – this will enable you to hook up your train in a decorative way so you can move freely about without worrying about someone stepping on it or having to carry it. In addition, don’t forget that a long gown can always be shortened later to provide a more 'everyday' dress.

Sleeves

One of the most common worries for older brides is bare arms and shoulders as it is often an area of dissatisfaction in older age - and so sleeves are one of the most requested additions by mature brides. While sleeves can certainly be added to sleeveless and off-the-shoulder styles, this can be very expensive and therefore it is often better to select a wedding gown with sleeves in the first place. Alternatively, a strapless or sleeveless gown that is worn with a small jacket is also a very stylish look.

Fabrics

Most wedding dresses come in traditional bridal fabrics like chiffon, crepe, satin, georgette and poly silk blends. These drape the best and also do not wrinkle easily. Wrinkles show up prominently in wedding photos and can seriously detract from the overall look of the bride.

Some mature brides may prefer natural fabrics as these can be more comfortable to wear because they allow air to circulate. This can be particularly important if you tend to get warm and perspire easily. However, note that natural fibre fabrics tend to wrinkle very easily so it is generally better to select a blend of natural fibres and polyester. This type of fabric will still be breathable but will wrinkle less.

Styles

Most older brides will have areas of the body which they are not so keen to draw the attention to – in particular, the mid-section or waist and tummy area of their figures. One good way of ensuring this is to make sure that the dress you choose is semi-fitted (as opposed to form-fitted), especially if your wedding gown fabrics is a soft type that they glide over areas of the figure where you may not be as toned as you like. Mature brides also usually want to cover their shoulders and arms, either with a jacket or drape or by choosing a wedding gown style with sleeves.

With these issues in mind, here are a few dress types which would be flattering to mature figures:

  • Strapless wedding dresses combined with a jacket which covers the back and arm areas.
  • A-line gowns also give good coverage of the figure: the higher the A-line flare starts, the more it will cover your figure. This is a dress shape which flatters all figure types.
  • Empire-line wedding dresses, which do an effective job of hiding the mid-waist section.
  • Princess-line gowns, which is simply an A-line dress with princess seaming – these vertical lines are extremely figure flattering.
The most important thing is to make sure that the dress is not too tight and fitted – a slightly loose dress is much more flattering.

Look Around...

While at first glance, it may not seem that there is much choice in dresses which suit the older bride – especially if you’re looking for modestly styled but still stylish-pieces – there is in fact a good supply of gowns which compliment the mature bride, as long as you are willing to do a bit of research and 'hunt around'. Finally, remember that you do not need to opt for a traditional wedding gown – you could always choose a two-piece wedding suit which can be re-used in the future, while still looking very stylish and attractive on the wedding day.

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