Curvy Rose

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

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What shape looks best on me?

One of my pet peeves is watching a curvy bride be pressured into trying on a dress that is too small, encouraged to buy an unflattering gown, or asked to imagine how a gown would like on her, all because the salon has a limited number of gowns in her size. It makes me down right angry to see women degraded with words like, "well we only have a limited number of plus size gowns to choose from," or "there's only so much we can do, sorry." It's down right mean. What the bridal industry considers to be a beautiful bride is changing and I want you, as a bride-to-be, to arm yourself with the bridal vocabulary to clearly communicate what you are looking for, predetermine what looks best on you, and quickly assess if the salon you are visiting can accommodate your needs. Your time is precious and you don't need to spend time in places that are unwilling to help you look your best on your special day. At Curvy Rose, we know what looks good on women of all shapes and sizes and we want to partner with you in finding the gown that reflects your personality, vision and love for your partner.  

One of the most important aspects of finding the right gown is understanding the shapes and fabrics you will encounter on your journey. If you are like many women, telling the difference between a ball gown  and a sheath is easy, but figuring out the difference between a mermaid, trumpet or in some cases an A-line is tough. Depending on the design and details of a gown it could be a smash-up of two different shapes. The wonderful news is, there is always a dominant shape to every wedding gown and more importantly, you have a dominant shape. Once you marry the two, you'll win every time. 

So let's tackle each shape individually and give you some ideas on the wedding gown shapes that would look best on you. 

photo courtesy of: http://nulayerdev.com/plus-size-jeans-for-apple-shape.html

photo courtesy of: http://nulayerdev.com/plus-size-jeans-for-apple-shape.html

 

If you carry most of your weight around your middle, you are an Apple shape, like me. What's great about being an Apple? You have killer legs, nice shoulders and a great bust line. It's time to show them off! 

What to Look for: Look for gowns that define the waist and show off your shoulders or legs. Whether you opt for ruching (wrap details), empire waist, off the shoulder or lace appliqué, dresses with a defined skirt that begins at the thigh or higher work best for you. 

Try on: Sweetheart and V-necklines on A-line (skirt skims along your body into an A shape) and fit and flare (where the full skirt begins at the thigh) and even shorter dresses like Tea length A-lines to show off those gams. Details like beading, especially under the bust are flattering.

Say no: As an Apple shape myself, I'm not a huge fan of the ball gown. I feel like a mound of whipped cream with a sparkly brooch on top, but I've known Apples who love them. Ball gowns do make your waist look smaller. Other shapes to avoid: Sheath (column type dresses) and dropped waist A-lines (where the bodice ends well below the natural waist).

Sophia Tolli - Thema.jpg | Curvy Rose | curvy bride | plus size bridal store
plus size bridal store | Sophia Tolli Daria | Curvy Rose | Atlanta, GA
Sophia Tolli | Curvy Rose | Atlanta, GA | plus size bridal store

 

If you carry your weight evenly throughout, you are a Rectangle/Banana. What's great about Banana shapes is that you have AWESOME legs and arms. Give them LOVE! 

What to Look for: Dresses that will give you the illusion of a defined waist is key. Dresses that either gather at the waist (a belt can help fit the bill) or flare at the hip or knee. If you are into illusion necklines, opt for a sweetheart or V-neckline to draw attention to the bustline.  

Try on: A-line (where the skirt gradually flares from the waist) and fit-and-flare styles. Gowns with details like a peplum or overskirt work great. If you have a smaller bust, try gowns with spaghetti straps or a plunging neckline. Empire cuts and ball gowns are also a flattering option. 

Say no: Sheaths, clingy or shiny fabrics like satin and chiffon. 

Pronovias - Tamara.jpg | Curvy Rose | Atlanta, GA | plus size bridal store
Sophia Tolli Andria | Curvy Rose | plus size bridal store
Sophia Tolli - Adelie .jpg | Curvy Rose | plus size bridal store | Atlanta, GA

If that waist gap on that pair of jeans give you the blues, you're probably a Pear. What's great about being a Pear? You've got a great butt and nice hips!

What to Look for: Dresses with a lot of details on the top, lace appliqué, beading and details that draw the attention to your upper body. Ruching or wrap details that accentuate the waist are also stunning on this figure. 

Try on: A line gowns,  empire waist gowns (where the skirt begins under the bust), Fit and Flare dresses (where the skirt begins at the thigh or higher), and ball gowns. 

Say no: Sheaths and dresses made with clingy fabrics that will show every lump.  

MoriLee | Curvy Rose | Atlanta, GA | plus size bridal store
Pronovias.jpg | Curvy Rose | Plus size bridal store | Atlanta, GA
Sophia Tolli - Nightingale.jpg | Curvy Rose | Atlanta, GA | plus size bridal store

Last but not least, the most coveted of the female figure. If you're busty, got a defined waist and round hips, you are an Hourglass. What's great about being an Hourglass? EVERYTHING!!

What to Look for: Sweetheart, scoop or V-necklines do a great job of showing off your bust. Halters are not as popular today, but they are a nice option for you too. Look for full skirts on Fit and Flare's as well as Fit and Flare's with a slimmer skirt. Highlighting your waist and hips are key. 

Try on: Drop-waist (where the bodice extends well below the waist), Fit and Flare dresses that begin at the thigh and lower. Sheath and A line gowns are stunning on this figure too. 

Say no: Ruffles, ball gowns. These shapes distract the eye and hide your curves. 

Sophia Tolli - Marquesa.jpg | Curvy Rose | Atlanta, GA | plus size bridal
Sophia Tolli - Prinia.jpg | plus size bridal store | Curvy Rose | Atlanta, GA
MoriLee | Atlanta, GA | plus size bridal store | Curvy Rose

Even with all of these gown shapes as a guide, what you choose to wear on your special day is completely up to you. It's been our experience that a bride knows when she has found the one. Follow your intuition and you'll take your partner's breath away. 

Fashion Injustice: The Myth of Beauty in a Box

Like a lot of women, I'm learning how to embrace the body I have, not the one I had twenty years ago before my daughters were born. Funny that I've been in this skin all of my life and have never fully embraced all of it's rolls, curves, and stretch marks. It has been a lifelong struggle, a companion really. First, as a chubby kid whose thighs rubbed together and then as a tween who budded earlier than my peers. Depending on my self image at the time, I was either covering up, slimming down, or showing too much. I wanted to wear stylish, fashionable clothes that other girls were wearing, but I eventually gave up in my twenties. Either the proportion was off, the fit was too tight or loose or the length was too short. 

So when I got engaged, I had already been conditioned to believe that I wouldn't be able to find a dress that I loved. I was told there wasn't a demand for gowns for me to try on and that I'd have more success if I lost 20 pounds. But rather than accepting defeat, I fought back by creating a dress that I loved.

Almost ten years later and not much has changed in the fashion industry. Yes, there have been bright spots here and there, yet high-end designers refuse to create collections for curvier women. Like actress Leslie Jones, we have to politely ask someone to dress us for a red carpet premiere. Smaller women don't have to accept less than than deserve, so why are curvy women treated so poorly? This was all the more true at New York's Fashion Week that ended Friday. Other than model, Ashley Graham's lingerie line there was very little focus on women larger than a size 12. So I was ecstatic when Tim Gunn, co-host of LifeTime's cable show Project Runway, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post exposing the fashion industry's disdain for plus size women. 

 

Gunn took a stand and I'm thankful that he did. We need more people, including men in the industry to shatter the myth that beauty comes in a tall, thin and blonde package. If you don't fit into these boxes you're not gorgeous, deserving of love or worthy of clothes that look great. 

I hope that celebrities and plus size stores  continue to pressure the industry to change and that more designers will abandon the antiquated ideology that demeans women and distorts the virtues of true beauty. Actress Danielle Brooks just penned an essay charging the media to do a better job of reflecting plus the fact that 67% of American are plus size. 

Perhaps one day I'll make peace and love the curves I have right now. The pressure to conform only has power when you listen to the whisper that says you're not beautiful just as you are. I hope that the work we do at Curvy Rose allows women to silence that voice and embrace their plus size beauty fully and completely.  

Next week at Vow Bridal Market in Atlanta Chanza and I will be choosing another set of wedding gowns for Curvy Rose. Among the beautiful sequins, beads, and lace, we will be looking carefully at designers that understand proportion and fit for curvy plus size women.  Call us soldiers in the fight for fashion justice or advocates for women of all shapes and sizes, we'll keep whacking at that fashion ceiling until it all comes crashing down.  

Pin Up Girl - A Bombshell's guide to 'Saying Yes to the Dress'

Since opening our doors, Curvy Rose has helped brides in all phases of their gown journey. Whether just starting out or searching for months, our goal is to provide an elegant bridal experience that all women deserve. All brides want to look FABULOUS on their wedding day. And at Curvy Rose we help them to achieve that vision. So with that in mind, I'd like to share with you a few tips that have helped many of our brides discover their dream gown. 

Tip #1 Love the Pin Up Girl

Back in the day, posters of pin up girls were all the rage. From Marilyn Monroe to Rita Hayworth and Jane Russell, they were celebrated for their bombshell figures and gorgeous good looks. Without the benefits of Photoshop, Instagram or a reality show these women were confident, sexy and curvy as all get up. But it was the girdles, corsets and bras that were responsible for creating the hourglass look that made us swoon.

One of the original Hollywood bombshells, actress Jane Russell during a time when women wore constricting undergarments to achieve that hourglass look. 

One of the original Hollywood bombshells, actress Jane Russell during a time when women wore constricting undergarments to achieve that hourglass look. 

 

Times have changed. I get it. We live in a day where we are free to wear whatever we'd like and that includes underwear. Most of us go for comfort and that's fine for work and play. But on our wedding day, we need to step it up a notch and accentuate those curves. Investing in really good shape wear will create that sultry, romantic look you're after. Try to purchase your undergarments before making your first bridal gown appointment and bring them with you to ALL appointments. 

Many people are fans of Spanx and I'm one of them. Yes, they can be on the pricey side, but they smooth those curves and that's the point. I prefer the higher power compression either in a brief or high waist shaper. Spanx also has another shaper called the OnCore high waisted mid thigh short. I've never tried them, but if you want to say goodbye to that muffin top, these are for you. All of these shapers go up to size 3X.  Whether you select this brand or another, the key is compression.  The tighter the thread, the more compression. One rule of thumb, if you have to shimmy to get them on, you're on the right track. 

Spanx higher power panty smooths the tummy and butt. Size up to 3X $38 at Spanx.com. Curvy Rose is not a paid sponsor for Spanx.

Spanx higher power panty smooths the tummy and butt. Size up to 3X $38 at Spanx.com. Curvy Rose is not a paid sponsor for Spanx.

Spanx higher power short shaper smooths the tummy, hips and thighs. Size up to 3X $38 at  Spanx.com  .  Curvy Rose is not a paid sponsor for Spanx.

Spanx higher power short shaper smooths the tummy, hips and thighs. Size up to 3X $38 at Spanx.comCurvy Rose is not a paid sponsor for Spanx.

The other item to invest in is a good strapless or long line bra that hooks in the back. I'm a personal fan of the long line, but if you're wearing spanx for tummy control a supportive strapless bra can do the job too. What's great about a longline bra is that the additional boning adds another layer of compression giving you that bombshell hourglass shape.

One thing is for sure, this is not the time to cut corners. Visit a lingerie shop and get properly fitted before purchasing any of these items, especially the bra. I also recommend having your bra sewn into your dress. A good seamstress can do that for you. That way you won't have any sliding issues on your wedding day. 

Another bonus--the right lingerie is SEXY as heck. Your fiance will love it, especially after the wedding, TRUST ME. 

A long-line bra with hook-in-eye closure in the back. This Goddess bra from  HerRoom.com  is $59. Please get properly fitted by a bra expert before purchasing. Curvy Rose is not a paid sponsor for  HerRoom.com  or the Goddess brand. 

A long-line bra with hook-in-eye closure in the back. This Goddess bra from HerRoom.com is $59. Please get properly fitted by a bra expert before purchasing. Curvy Rose is not a paid sponsor for HerRoom.com or the Goddess brand. 

Okay I hear what you're saying, why should it take all that? If I lose 20-30 pounds before the wedding I won't have to wear Spanx or any of that other stuff. Wrong. All women have curves and those curves need to pop! Even movie stars wear the proper undergarments on the red carpet. Since you're wedding is your personal Hollywood premier, GLAM IT UP!! A smooth foundation will make everything look better, and your pictures will look AWESOME too! 

Without good shape wear--Lumps and bumps!

Without good shape wear--Lumps and bumps!

With great shape wear--Bombshell on point!

With great shape wear--Bombshell on point!

Tip #2 Share, share, share

Building a relationship with your consultant is also key to finding your gown. Talk to him/her about what you like. Be specific. Do you love lace and beading? Do you want to be sexy, elegant or glamorous? Do you love illusion backs or want something more demur. Bring pictures of gowns you like and share your vision, but also be open to their suggestions. 

Whether your heart is set on a trumpet, an A-line or ball gown the goal is to create the most stunning version of you on your wedding day. If your consultant recommends a ball gown rather than a trumpet, take a chance. If you still don't like their selections, tell them why. Again, be specific with your feedback. If there is a detail that you don't like or something that you would like to fix share that with them.

Bottom line, SHARE, SHARE, SHARE. As long as you love the overall style and structure of the gown, specific features like sleeves, beading, length, and even skirt volume can be changed by a great seamstress and sometimes the designer too. 

Tip #3 Enjoy the process

Your gown journey should be an enjoyable experience. If you feel pressure, overwhelmed or unsupported, it's time to pause and take a break. Yes, waiting too long to order your dress can be problematic, but buying in a rush is even worse. Like the adage says, "bit by bit, life's a cinch." Don't absorb it all at once. Finalizing the shape of the gown is your first priority. Once you discover the gown shape you love, move on to style details like like ruching, lace, beading, and fabric.  Take your time. Try on gowns from other designers in your price point. Enjoy being the center of attention and focus on the fact that you are marrying the love of your life. That thought alone should make you feel giddy.

Wedding planning can be stressful, even for the most organized bride. Shopping for a wedding gown doesn't have to be. Arm yourself with the right support and you'll be a wedding slayer in whatever gown you choose. 


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