A few years ago, a trend toward strapless wedding gowns began. Now it seems to be the norm, and it seems jarring to me. I **feel **(note: an opinion only) that a wedding dress should make some pretense of modesty. I’m not saying long sleeves and collars up to the chin, but it seems a symbolic contradiction for a bride to wear white (which “symbolizes” virginity, even though no one expects the couple to be virgins) and then show bare skin from her lower back and the tops of her breasts (sometimes the tops of her nipples) upward.
*I’d like to know how others feel about the phenomenon of strapless wedding gowns. *
Not interested in whether you think I’m judgmental, full of shit, stuck in the dark/rigid/unenlightened past, totally without a sense of style. I’ll stipulate to anyone’s insistence on all of those things if we can just stick to the main question. Thank you.
Disclaimer: I do NOT expect everyone to agree with me, so don’t anyone say later, *“You obviously think you’re right and expect everyone to agree,” *because I don’t think that, and this is just my opinion.
I think some people can pull them off (no pun intended), and some can’t. I think I look like a cheap hooker in strapless dresses, because I’m busty. Which made wedding dress shopping very annoying, because I had almost no options that met my criteria (which were no strapless, no polyester, and no big white poufy things). And the remaining 5% would have needed to be taken apart and put back together again to fit properly, by which point it made more sense just to have a seamstress make one from scratch. So I did that. And I am not a fan of the vast majority of traditional Western white wedding dresses anyway – I like color!
But if you can wear a strapless dress and feel comfortable and not worry about a wardrobe malfunction, by all means, go for it. Let’s face it; the overwhelming majority of Western brides are not virgins, so it’s kind of silly to pretend they are, even in a ritualistic way. I don’t understand wanting to show that much cleavage, but if others feel like it, or if they don’t have a ton of cleavage to show, who am I to judge?
I don’t like slutty wedding dresses.
Then again I am getting older.
I went to a reception Saturday and my cousin’s gown was strapless but she has nothing to fall out anyway. I did notice that she had to keep pulling the top up though and that right there is reason enough to me. If you have to keep adjusting your clothes then you are wearing the wrong clothes. She didn’t look slutty, just uncomfortable.
When my friend’s daughter got married the priest told her to remember she would be getting married in a church and her gown should show respect for that location. No strapless, backless, bared midriff, low cut, etc or he would not marry her in the church.
It depends on the dress and the woman. A strapless dress can be more modest than one with straps. Compare a strapless gown with a relatively high neckline and an A-line skirt, with a halter-neck gown with a deep V that exposes a huge amount of cleavage, and is skin-tight through the hips and thighs.
Anyway, sleeved wedding gowns and straps are coming back into fashion, thanks to Kate Middleton. And a strapless gown, if properly fitted, shouldn’t be sliding down and uncomfortable like a strapless sundress might.
The “tradition” of the virginal bride wearing a white wedding gown is not some ancient symbol. It’s very new, and the solidification of “all brides wear white” really wasn’t a cultural imperative in the West until after World War Two. It’s not a tradition that dates back hundreds and hundreds of years, and it was never particularly strongly associated with virginity in any strict way anyway–yes, most brides wearing white in the late 19th- and early 20th-century were probably middle to upper class anyway and more likely to be virgins–but it’s really a very modern cultural construct that white wedding dress = virginity anyway.
I’m firmly in the NAY camp. Strapless is a style that looks good on very few. Any extra flesh at all on the upper arms or back, and it looks bad. Extremely tiny women usually look very malproportioned in them (big skirt, tiny top that can’t hold up the weight of/balance out the skirt). Those with enormous busts tend to spill out of the top. Most women seem to need to hike them up repeatedly during the day of the wedding–not a very attractive or elegant maneuver.
Then there is the fact that they look ridiculous for any season but a late spring/summer wedding. I think people look ludicrous parading around in a strapless dress in the dead of winter.
That said, I don’t really care about the modesty thing much. I just wish for three things:
That women would choose a style that looks attractive on them.
That women who do choose strapless would just be honest that they want to look sexy on their wedding day, and stop pretending strapless is modest. (There is a reason that women do not wear strapless tops or dresses as professional office attire, after all.)
That there would be some options available for those of us who do not want “ballgown” or “extremely sexy cocktail dress that barely covers anything.” I’m 36, I’m getting married at a courthouse in the afternoon at the end of November, and I need something that doesn’t look matronly, but also looks appropriate to the occasion. I found exactly zero dresses suited to the occasion. I found exactly one that will suffice, because it has elbow sleeves. I would feel ridiculous (and cold) sashaying around in a dress without sleeves at that time of day/year.
True; white wedding dresses weren’t common until Queen Victoria wore one (prior to that blue was preferred because of it’s association with the Virgin Mary). And the white dress never symbolized virginity; if anything it symbolized that the bride’s father was rich enough to buy her a widely impractical dress which couldn’t even be cleaned & she’d never wear again. BTW it’s pretty common knowledge that red is preferred in most of Asia, but did you know that in Scandinavia black was the preferred colour until the 20th century?
No, because typically people who have tattoos get them because they like tattoos. It’s certainly possible that a woman will look back and say “God, all those tattoos look weird” or whatever, but I think it’s about 100% more likely that a woman will look back and say “Gosh, look at these wedding photos–we were so young and naive! And thin and attractive!” or “Oh my god, look at Jenny’s hair, how did we all think that was attractive?” or whatever.
I don’t have anything against them. It’s a pretty normal silhouette for formal gowns (think proms, award shows, etc.)
I don’t get the complaint that they are immodest. On the scale of “1950s high school formal” and “Vegas stripper” they are solidly on the “considered appropriate for high schoolers sixty years ago” side.
Before the engagement was broken (thank goodness!) Daughter 1.0 and I looked high and low to find her a non-strapless dress, for many of the reasons already posted. The girl isn’t overweight, but definitely busty, so she would have looked slightly trashy. She would also have spent the day hiking up her dress to prevent a wardrobe malfunction - who wants to spend all day worrying, instead of visiting with friends and family and dancing? (And who wants to do that father daughter dance while worried about revealing too much? Ick!) And, practicality aside, that look has been done to death, in my opinion. Why go to all the time and expense just to buy a dress that looks like every dress worn by every bride in the past two decades?
(Seriously, my only regret about the broken engagement is that we did find the absolute perfect dress for her, just the right combination of modern and romantic, but with a very elegant Deco feel. And the perfect non-frumpy, flattering, and appropriate dress for me. But it’s a lot easier to find a good dress than to get rid of a psycho husband!)