Curvy Rose

A Size Inclusive Bridal Boutique

Serving Brides up to Size 32. Strictly by Appointment Only.

Finding the Right Bustle Type

Unless you’ve immersed yourself in the language of wedding dresses way before your engagement, you probably have no idea what half of the terms used to describe wedding dresses even mean! That is totally okay, because here at Curvy Rose we’ve got you covered! We’ve already addressed finding the right wedding gown for your body shape, now we’re going to talk about how to find the right bustle style.

Examples of the hooks, buttons and loops in bustles

Examples of the hooks, buttons and loops in bustles

When it comes to bustles, most brides have the same questions. Again, don’t worry because we have the answers to all of these questions here at Curvy Rose!

1. What is a bustle you ask?

A bustle is held up on the skirt of your train by either sets of hooks and loops, or buttons and loops.

A bustle lifts up the train of your gown to hem length, so it doesn’t drape onto the floor. Having a bustle saves you from having to carry your train on your wrist or over your arm during your reception.

Bustles = convenience. 

Helping hands are needed when it comes to your bustle    

Helping hands are needed when it comes to your bustle


2. Do you need a bustle?

If you have a short train, short dress or tea length dress, the answer is NO.

If you have a long train, such as a Chapel length train or longer, then the answer is YES.

Not many wedding dress designers make dresses with built-in bustles, so this is something that will have to be added during alterations.

3. What types of bustles are there?

There are 5 types of bustles that are pretty popular:

American Bustle: (Over Bustle and/or a Ballroom Bustle) this bustle style has several hooks scattered throughout the waistline of your dress that allow the train to be lifted up and hooked over the top of the dress itself. This style can have one, three, or even five bustle pick up points for a much more dramatic look.

Example of American Bustle

Example of American Bustle

Austrian Bustle: This unique bustle style is growing more popular among brides due to its eye-catching shape. With this bustle style, seamstresses gather the fabric down the middle of the gown through the back creating a vertical illusion. By sewing ribbons through the back seam of the gown, it can be pulled to secure both sides together, as an alternative to over or under.

Example of Austrian Bustle

Example of Austrian Bustle

French Bustle: (Victorian Bustle and/or an Under Bustle) this bustle style is better suited for gowns that have a more natural waistline. The French Bustle is basically the reverse of the American Bustle. Hooks pick up the train of the gown as they tuck under the silhouette itself. Often, ribbons are attached to connect and secure the fabric for extra flair!

Example of French Bustle

Example of French Bustle

Ballroom Bustle: This bustle style tends to transform the dress silhouette from the back, essentially making the train "disappear," creating the illusion that your gown is floor length all the way around. Occasionally referred to as a flip-up, or flip-under, bustle and most popular for ball gowns, this style can take a train from dramatic to demure. 

Example of Ballroom Bustle

Example of Ballroom Bustle

4. Choosing the right bustle style

Different bustle styles work for different gowns. Different bustle styles also fit into different budgets. As we mentioned before, most wedding gowns will need to have bustles added to them during alterations, which is usually not included in the cost of your gown.

Certain train materials may call for you to bustle your train in separate layers, meaning you may have to use more than one bustle style. For example, a common bustling style for chiffon gowns is a French bustle on the lining and a 3 point American bustle on the chiffon, this still allows the chiffon to maintain its natural flow and movement.

It’s also good to keep in mind that if you do have a chiffon gown, your train may not require a bustle.

Despite there being 5 popular bustle styles, your seamstress will likely walk you through either the American or French bustle styles. Be sure to ask them to show you both bustle styles on your dress so you can tell which one looks best. Usually, each bustle style looks equally as good on most dresses, but this part is more your personal choice as well.

If you have fallen in love with the idea of having a Ballroom bustle on your gown, or you find that your gown would look better with this bustle style, be aware of two things.

  • Not many seamstresses are familiar with doing a Ballroom bustle.
  • The Ballroom bustle is the most expensive bustle style because you typically need at least 11 or more button sets to hold up your train.

At the end of the day, when choosing your desired bustle style, it is best to work closely with your seamstress to find which style suits your budget, works with your gown, and flatters your body shape.

American/Over/Ballroom Bustle, Under/French Bustle, Royal Bustle

American/Over/Ballroom Bustle, Under/French Bustle, Royal Bustle

5. When do I use it?

As mentioned before, you normally use your bustle during your reception. Some brides wait to use their bustle right before their first dance. Others choose to put up their train right before their reception  so they don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the night.

The choice is truly yours!

This bride chose to bustle her gown before hitting the dance floor.

This bride chose to bustle her gown before hitting the dance floor.

6. Will it break?

Of course there is a possibility of your bustle breaking. When you think about it, these little loops are holding bunches of heavy fabric for multiple hours and through a lot of movement. The possibility for your bustle breaking is definitely there.

If your bustle does break, there’s nothing you can really do about it. Luckily, most bustles are able to survive the reception, so you shouldn’t worry too much about this. We've included a quick little video from to show you how to fix a broken bustle. 

Remember, when you pick up your gown from the seamstress to take someone (a bridesmaid) with you, so they can see how to do the bustle as well. It will be a huge help for the both of you if they learn how to do this before the wedding day. If you can’t bring anyone with you, your seamstress can show you how to bustle your gown when it is hanging on a hanger. They may even be able to draw a diagram of the process for you.

Compared to the process of finding your perfect gown, finding the right bustle style is a small part of the equation. Hopefully we’ve answered your questions about bustle styles that you won’t be too confused when your seamstress asks you about the bustle style you’d like. As always, Curvy Rose is here to assist in whatever you need, if you have more questions on bustle styles, feel free to contact us and we will gladly help.



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