Since Meghan Markle entered St. George’s Chapel in an exquisite — and surprisingly simple — Givenchy gown, bridal ateliers were bombarded with enquiries for simple white dresses, devoid of lace, tulle and beads. Heavily embellished wedding gowns have given way to clean aesthetics, thanks to the new duchess, and a penchant for simple cuts and minimal adornments gripped leading bridal designers, like Reem Acra, Floravere and Pronovias.
It’s not surprising if you, too, have your heart set on a simple yet gorgeous frock. But let’s face it: it’s hard to let go of the princessy vision of luxurious satin and ornate embroidery all pooled up in a sleek, executive car rental in the UK. On top of that, there’s a thin line between minimalist and downright boring.
So what embellishment should you go for, without sacrificing the clean aesthetic? Here are a few pointers:
Go for Bows
If you’re really bent on keeping your gown free from sparkles and flowers, choose a dress with bows. These pretty and adorable additions up the ante of any gown and make it look more feminine. Supersized, they give the gown a sculptural effect. Low-key and small, they can be functional. They can be used to fasten a collar, for instance.
Pockets, Pockets, Pockets
A hot topic in women’s fashion, pockets have been incorporated in dresses and skirts. They have since moved to the bridal market, with more brides wanting quick access to their phones (for selfies during the reception) or tissue (in case they or their grooms tear up).
It’s a sign that women choose comfort and practicality, especially on the day that they’re supposed to be at their most beautiful. Designers respond accordingly. Ateliers, from the very top designers to high street brands, now design dresses with pockets.
Cowl Neck or Halter
If the usual boat or sweetheart neckline doesn’t strike a chord in you, then try less conventional cuts like the cowl neck or the halter. The latter is Meghan Markle-approved: she wore a white halter dress (again, no frills or embellishments) by Stella McCartney at her wedding reception.
Since then, more and more designers have created halter dresses. After all, they feel more sophisticated and polished than popular off-the-shoulder and strapless gowns.
In need of more glamour? Turn to cowl necks. The draped folds in front of the dress add a subtle sensuality. It’s a statement neckline reserved for the truly modern and adventurous bride. These dresses have less structure and are lighter. If you want to give a nod to tradition, choose one with lace or pearls.
Return of the Big Skirt
The ballgown is officially back, and big skirts are in. 2019 will see an abundance of this elegant silhouette, which was once an emblem of prestige and timelessness.
This year, though, brides aren’t keen on the sparkle and the bling. Several years ago, having a ballgown for a wedding dress meant that the skirt is all frills and ruffles, with embroidered flowers, beads and trimmings.
With the Meghan Effect hovering over ateliers, these princess gowns will be lightly embellished, with the simplest ones having only flounces and multi-tiered sheer tulle skirts.
Why go through all the sorting and thinking and choosing for one dress? Well, it’s your wedding day — a once-in-a-lifetime day — and you deserve only the best. The Meghan Markle trend would land you a fine choice, but, in truth, there’s only one criterion you have to follow: if it makes you feel like a queen, it’s the dress for you.