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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Wedding dresses

I'm watching this program called "Say Yes to the Dress".

It's a candid reality show taking place in a huge bridal shop in Manhattan.

And - almost all of the dresses are strapless. None of them have sleeves at all.

What happened? It's like even if they wanted a choice, they didn't get it.


That would drive me crazy. I never wear strapless and would hate the idea of being forced into one. Boo!

I don't get that either. At my age strapless would be a bad choice anyway but you'd think there'd be something else.

It really doesn't make sense at all - and they were showing brides who were not in their twenties, or tiny, either. But all (except for one) were shown strapless.

There hasn't been anything else in bridal shops for a number of years. You can get dresses with jackets, but they don't button or close. Mormon sites offer dresses with cap sleeves. That's it--I have been wondering for a while now where modest brides get their dresses. When my best friend got married in 2005 every woman in the wedding was strapless but me--I bought a beaded jacket with a mandarin collar to go over my dress and was totally covered, and since I was only giving a reading, that was okay.

What do frum women wear to weddings?


The families of the bridal couple might get custom made dresses and gowns, but the guests wear suits.

I don't know if it's the same in the UK, but I would have hated it - strapless and me do not mix, particularly when I married (think "A" cup if you are being generous. My wedding dress had long sleeves with flared cuffs; excellent for autumn in the Great British Climate.

Those gowns seemed designed to take smaller girls and make them look larger. It was not a pretty look on many of them. It was on others, of course.

And autumn in Great Britain -

One "consultant" (that is, saleswoman), after finding out that the wedding was to be in New York State, outside(!) in February(!!) asked, "Is strapless okay?"

The bride not only did NOT question her sanity, she said, "Yes." And the dress, while objectively beautiful, did not flatter her as much as another style would have.

("Oh. We have some lovely ones in winter white or champagne velvet, with faux fur trim." Except I'm pretty sure they didn't.)

I've been noticing that trend over the last five years or so as my friends are getting married and I don't get it either. I very rarely find strapless dresses attractive and it's another thing that's really hard to make work for different body types.

Yes, and they showed those dresses, including dresses I thought were, well, tacky, to women of all sizes, regardless.

It meant that women looking for a unique and memorable look, ended up (with one exception) looking like all the others, with the only difference being the size of the skirts and trains.

I will say that I liked the very simple veils they were showing.

I occasionally look at wedding blogs, for the pretty pictures of dresses. They frequently snark about the strapless dresses and go out of their way to find ones with sleeves, because...really.

Yes, exactly. And there are lovely dresses with sleeves out there. I know - I've seen them. And they look much more bridey to my eyes, but then when I bought my wedding gown 17.5 years , I didn't even have to ask about sleeves. And I didn't buy it in Flatbush; I bought it in Easton, PA. They showed me dressed that barely needed alteration without the word "modesty" coming up.

Oh gosh, that is so annoying. It's not only a tznius issue for me, (though it would be a huge issue, most of the affairs i go to are frum) some of us aren't blessed with perfectly toned arms and shoulders, some of us have...a little more than we would like and would like that more covered!

hahaha, I posted up above on the challenge of being in someone's wedding if you're modest and they're not :) It's awful, where do people who are really truly frum buy wedding clothes?

I know. Maybe that's why I keep seeing bridal pictures of women with tulle draped around their upper arms, and why Knitty has a pattern for, of all things, a wedding shrug.

They showed a Modern Orthodox bride and their special Orthodox consultant. The bride looked like any of the other young women on the show (a good half were Jewish), but she could and did choose plain satin gown with a jewel neck and sleeves (which she had hemmed just above her elbow, and felt risque about it, even though she had her father-the-rabbi's permission.) The skirt was beautifully draped, though, and the narrator seemed surprised that a bride would choose to wear sneakers. But I've seen that a lot - given Jewish dancing, it makes sense.

They also contrasted her and her risque elbows with a rather spoiled midwestern Princess who had to have a dress way out of her parents budget and, well, whatever one's opinions on corset tops are, a sheer lace one is, imho, tacky.

When a friend was getting married six years ago and showed me her dress, I said "Strapless? Don't get me wrong, it's pretty, but..." and she replied that ALL wedding dresses are strapless these days. Bridesmaids' dresses too, mostly. I was somewhat shocked--I would have looked all right in strapless myself when I got married, but it doesn't feel formal enough or as if it's taking the momentousness of the occasion into account.

I've seen some lovely brides in strapless gowns, but it doesn't feel right to me. And I've also seen some brides who would've looked FINE, if they hadn't been carrying themselves like they knew they didn't look right.

It's really sad - not that there are strapless gowns, but that the choices aren't there.

That is odd. I just went and looked at a seamstress friend's website, and those are mostly sleeveless too. http://www.consciouselegance.co.uk/index.php?page=60

But so many others have sleeves, and all of them are beautiful!

(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Re: Strapless

Of course you need to provide what the market demands, and I'm willing to guess many brides do choose a wrap as well - given that I believe most UK weddings take place inside a church, I can see the need.

(No one wants dresses that actually cover the chest anymore? I mean outside certain communities? Really?)

One bride I know bought her wedding dress from a Mormon wedding store, not because she especially wanted modest but because she especially didn't want strapless and the Mormon store was the only one that had more than one available. Many of the Mormon "modest" designs are gorgeous, and they can be made with long or short sleeves. She bought something similar to 2272B on this page, only with full-length sleeves.

Oh nice! Some of the bodices are a bit to teeshirty for me, but I like those a lot better than most of the stuff you find in bridal shops.

You can get gowns altered. It's what the Orthodox set often does.

That's very pretty. I do notice that a lot of Mormon wedding gowns look like, as someone on blog I read complained, "t-shirts over ballgowns", but this one does not.

Orthodox brides will buy fashionable wedding gowns and have them altered for modesty. You can see that this one started out strapless.

I like how they managed to echo the beading on the bodice onto the neckline. That's really lovely. I've seen some Orthodox adaptations of strapless dresses that have been atrocious, and some that are lovely. That one's lovely.

When I got married, I couldn't find any dresses that weren't strapless or long sleeved. Nothing in between, and as I got married over Labor Day weekend, outdoors, long sleeves were sort of "out". In retrospect, though my dress was lovely, I'd probably have looked prettier in something off the shoulder with a bit of a cap sleeve.

Maybe next time. ;)

When we got married (eight years ago), I had a lot of trouble finding a dress that I considered sufficiently modest -- and my standards are looser than I presume yours are. I did eventually find full sleeves, non-open back, and a neckline that was lower than I wanted but not actually revealing. (I was given to understand that they would be improving that in the alterations, but I didn't detect much difference.) I was really appalled at most of the dresses I saw.

Isn't that show addictive? It's like you want to look away, and you just can't.

When I was out shopping for wedding and bridesmaid dresses with my friend M last year, most of the dresses we saw were strapless. But a lot of them also came with optional straps or detachable cap sleeves, depending on the design. (All of us in M's wedding party chose to wear straps of some sort--mine and M's just snapped in, and the other bridesmaid, who was about four months pregnant at the time of the wedding, actually had thicker straps sewn in by the bridal shop's seamstress.) But, yeah, it was hard to find anything that had actual, built-in sleeves, and what few I do remember were on bridesmaid dresses, not bridal gowns.