Wedding Dresses for Your Body Type: Apple Shapes & Plus-Size Tummies
by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)
If you’re an apple-shaped woman and you’re getting married, I may be able to help you find a flattering, plus-sized wedding dress that will show off your amazing beauty. Most people have no idea what to tell you, because they don’t understand your unique body type. Well, I do. I’ve had an apple-shaped body for 62 fun-filled years… and I’ve walked down the aisle three times… so you’ve finally found the right article.
If you’re not sure what an apple shape is, I like to tell people that my apple-shaped body looks like a marshmallow on two toothpicks. And, if you just fell off your seat with laughter, you are probably an apple, too.
Here are the typical attributes of an apple-shaped woman:
- Broad shoulders (usually)
- Large Bust
- No Waist
- Big Stomach
- Small Tush
- Narrow Hips
- High IQ
Plus Size Wedding Dresses for Apple Shaped Bodies
I have worn more than one type of wedding dress:
- I was a tiny, waif-like apple, at age 20, when I wore a folkloric, empire-waisted, ivory, prairie-dress wedding gown.
- I was a boy-shaped size 6, at age 28, when I wore a cream-colored, tea-length party dress (sans veil) for wedding number two.
- I was a curvy size 12 or 14 for my third wedding, at age 52, when I wore a cute, strapless, ivory wedding gown. Here’s a bad photo of me in my cute wedding dress from David's Bridal.
Actually, I wasn’t going to wear a “real” wedding dress with a veil for my last wedding, but my husband was insistent… and I’m glad I gave in. He was right. The whole thing was much more fun when I looked like a real bride.
Note: I know size 14 is not technically a plus size, but I’ve teetered between XL and 1X for the last ten years. So, I know how to dress a plus-sized body with a tummy... but, more importantly, I know what NOT to wear.
Terrible Wedding Dress Tips for Apple Shaped Women
I had a whole article written about wedding dresses for large, apple-shaped women… but I scrapped it and started over after reading some of the tips on other websites. Okay, not all of the articles were bad, but some of them were horrifying.
Most women will never understand how difficult it is to cover a large tummy without looking like a blimp... or a pregnant blimp… and without looking like a dowdy old church-lady from Small Town, Kansas.
Here are some of the terrible tips I found on other articles, followed by my replies:
I am not citing the authors or the names of articles, because I don’t want to embarrass anyone. However, all of these tips are for apple-shaped brides, and all of these "tips" really are online.
- Tip #1: “A gown with a long torso, fitted to the high hip is a great way to flatter this particular body shape.”
- Reply: Yeah, it's a great way for you to look like a liverwurst sausage wearing a skirt.
- Tip #2: “The right wedding dress for an apple shape should cinch at the waist, then flare out into an A shape in the skirt.”
- Reply: If you wear a dress that cinches in at the waist, you’re not going to be able to breathe… heck… you’re not even going to be able to zip the damn dress up. And, if you CAN get into the dress, you're going to look like Miss Kansas From Hell 1950... or a drag queen with terrible taste.
- Tip #3: “Consider showing off your legs with knee or tea-length dresses.”
- Reply: Most (but not all) apple-shaped women in knee-length dresses and spindly-heeled "wedding shoes" look like they're about to tip over at any moment. (They look too top-heavy). If you want to show off your legs, try a long dress with a slit or a long dress with a high-low hemline. Tea length is good... most of the time.
Tip #4: “Skip (dresses with) straight across strapless necklines.”
- Reply: Forget this nonsense. If you bare your shoulders, it will keep people from staring at your middle.
- Tip #5: “Don’t select a strapless wedding dress.”
- Reply: See above answer. Note: The bodice of my most-recent wedding dress was a strapless, corset-like top with boning… so everything that needed to be held up was held up… and everything that needed to be held in was held in... by the dress.
And, as far as I can tell, way too many websites recommend a ballgown (with fitted bodice and tight waistline) for women with thick waists and big tummies. Hahahaha.
But, as bad as that is, my favorite tip is the one that says you should wear a (white) ballgown wedding dress, belted with a black sash at the waist, to make your waist look smaller. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Note: It looks as though the "writer" cut and pasted that last (black-sash) tip from another article. Not only did she plagiarize it all wrong, but if you were to follow her tip, it would be just like drawing a thick black line around the Equator... on a globe.
Best Apple Shape Wedding Dresses
If you look anything like me, your tummy looks pregnant, even though your youngest child is currently in grad school. Well... I want you to know that you’re not alone. And, I promise you, there are wedding dresses out there that will make you look like a fairytale princess or a movie star. Well… don’t expect miracles. This is a reality show not a Disney movie. But, it's a reality show with a happy ending.
Wedding Dress Silhouettes to Hide Big Tummies
Your Best Dress Shapes:
- Empire Wedding Dresses: Empire dresses are great, but you might want to avoid the appearance of a second-trimester pregnancy by wearing a gown with a streamlined silhouette or a lacey overlay. And, check out dress designs with cascades of fabric that float over the stomach in a deliciously ethereal way.
- A-line Wedding Dresses: A-line dresses are flattering as long as they nip in at the right part of your torso… and they aren't too snug in the mid-section.
- Other Styles: You might be able to wear a ballgown if it has a high empire waistline. And, corsets can be good. My last wedding dress was a two-piece gown with a stiff, corset-style top.
Your Best Necklines:
- V-necklines: Slightly plunging necklines draw the eye upward, draw attention to your best asset, and break up your wide upper body.
- Square and Scoop Necklines: Both of these necklines are fabulous for chicks with broad shoulders.
- Sweetheart Necklines: Sweetheart dresses, with sleeves or strapless, look good on everyone.
- Strapless Necklines: Check out plus-sized strapless gowns. If you find one you like, but you can’t bear to bare your arms, just add some sleeves or buy a lace bolero at David’s or another wedding store.
- One-Shoulder Necklines: Asymmetrical necklines break up the wide expanse between your shoulders. And, asymmetrical details make the eye dart around as the mind tries to find symmetry.
Don’t Stress Out: All Brides Are Beautiful
The most important thing about your wedding is that you feel good. It’s always nice to look good, but don’t wear a dress that’s uncomfortable. And, don’t starve yourself for months beforehand or you’ll end up hungry and cranky on your big day.
What’s the point of wearing a smaller dress size if you’re scowling (or fainting) in your wedding photos?
So ignore the wedding dress tips that don’t sound quite right to you, and make a list of the styles you think you might want to try on. Once you get serious about finding your dress, it won’t take long to find a beautiful wedding gown with the perfect mix of coy coverage and slinky sex appeal. You’ll know the right dress when you see it… in the mirror.
Photo Credits: All wedding gowns courtesy of David's Bridal. David's is the store where I found the wedding dress for my third and most recent ceremony. I am writing a new article about winter wedding dresses, even though I've never been married in winter. Of course, you never know what's next in life, so it's a good idea to be prepared, just in case you or I need to find a gown that looks good under a feather-filled puffer jacket.
When I post the article, I'll put a link below. It may take a few days to write it, because I will be forced to do actual wedding-dress research. Fortunately, the majority of my wedding fashion articles are based on my own foggy matrimonial history, which I then condense and clarify through hours of meditation. (Translation: I usually know what I want to say, but then I have to sleep on it.)
- All dress sizes in the photos are 14W-26W unless noted.
- Main photo: A-line Dress with Beaded Lace Jacket, Lace A-line Halter with embroidery, Spaghetti Strap Empire Waist, Dot Tulle Empire Waist.
- Plus Size Wedding Dress for Apple Shape Woman: Dot Tulle Empire Waist.
- Shrug With Sleeves for Wedding Dress: Long Sleeve Lace Jacket, XS to 3X.
More Articles for Hip Plus-Size Women:
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