Though I am proud of my shape and love having curves, dressing them can sometimes be a nightmare in the wrong situation. Especially during wedding season. Occasion wear has to do so many things. There is every likelihood you’ll need to sit, stand, mingle, be photographed, drink, eat and dance in a single dress for up to 12 hours while feeling smart, comfy and sexy-ish all at once. It is just too easy to get the balance wrong and end up spending all day feeling and looking uncomfortable.
If you happen to be a plus size babe? That window for error is only increased. I’ve heard a laundry list of errors made from personal styling clients – most of which still have photographic evidence to remind them of exactly when and where they went wrong; that little black dress that looked great on the hanger but made your upper arms look like goose-pimpled sausages; the pretty fifties prom dress that blew up in the wind and revealed your unmentionables to a startled vicar and his unimpressed wife; the low-cut top that looked chic in the fitting room but gave everyone a flash of your chest when you lunged to sign the register. It’s a minefield I tell you. A minefield.
Because I have your back (and boobs and bums and more), here are some handy Dos and Don’ts for creating a successful plus size wedding ensemble (though the majority of these tips apply to anyone, if I’m honest).
Do take flat shoes, even if you’re wearing heels. Picture the scene: It’s 1am. The wine has been drunk. The lights have been switched back on. Mr and Mrs Newlywed are halfway to Heathrow and you’re contemplating the long cab ride home. You’ve spent the last three hours doing the running man in 4-inch platforms and your feet – or what’s left of them – feel very very hurty. If you’re still asking why you should always, ALWAYS pack some flats in your bag? Know that nothing beats that ‘aaaaaaah’ feeling of slipping those heels off after a night on the tiles.
Don’t wear stiletto heels to an outdoor event. Wet grass; the female wedding guest’s natural enemy. Watch as those beautiful satin stilettoes sink slowly into the mud, heel first. Like the Titanic. Where will it end? At the ankles? The knee? The neck? Quick, get a rope. Do choose wedges instead. They, at least, have increased surface area on their side.
Do have a jacket, cardigan or shrug handy. I know I sound like your mum, but it’ll be cold later…you know it will. As a plus, you can use a little cardigan to cover a multitude of calamities. The gravy stain, the busted zip, that crater-sized love bite you got from the best man in the ladies’ loo. Ahem… maybe I’ve said too much.
Do go for something versatile. To my mind the average person probably only goes to about four weddings a year, tops. Over the course of one season you’re unlikely to wear a really ‘wedding-y’ outfit more than twice. Plus size fashion tends to be more expensive than the skinny kind, and I know we all like to get a little more bang for our buck, so I recommend going for dresses that will suit a variety of occasions, from romantic woodland walks to drinks with the girls. It’s not always an easy task to find dresses you can dress up or down but from a 5-minute quick look around a I found some beautiful, versatile and timeless bits and bobs at Lands’ End. They also have a great plus size range here.
Don’t wear linen. Unless you want your outfit to end up looking like Gordon Ramsay’s face I suggest you steer well clear. Linen is a Summer classic and looks great when you first put it on but it creases like nobody’s business. This isn’t really a problem over short periods or when you’re going to spend much of the day doing one activity (like standing completely still), but if you’re standing, then sitting, then mingling, then dancing you’re likely to end up looking like a discarded screenplay. NOT ATTRACTIVE.
Don’t wear all black, or all red, or (heaven help me) all white. Are you A. Morticia Addams, B. Jessica Rabbit or C. Miss Havisham? Oh, none of the above? Well then, don’t say I didn’t warn you!