Bridal salons are fabulously fun to visit, but it is so important to select just the right one when shopping for your wedding day fashions! In an effort to help explain the differences in style and personality amongst the vast number of local bridal boutiques, I will be chatting with owners and visiting bridal salons in the DC area often!
I started my quest by chatting with Ruth Sutton, the owner and CEO of CurvyGirls Bridal in Fairfax, Virginia.
What inspired you to open a bridal boutique specializing in plus sizes?
60% of women in America are a size 16, yet the majority of Bridal Stores across the nation continue to carry try-on samples in sizes much too small for the average American women to try on and zip. So while smaller brides, who do fit these samples are standing in front of a mirror in the middle of the store admiring themselves in these gorgeous gowns, the unfortunate non-size 10 bride is standing in front of the mirror in the middle of the store, with underwear hanging out and bungee cords holding the dress on. Fitted dresses are just hung over their heads and belted on their bodies, again with backsides hanging out for all to see. How pretty, or respected, or empowered would you feel if this was what your bridal gown shopping experience was like? CurvyGirls bridal was born because we have a passion for bridal fashion and feel EVERY bride, regardless of her size, has the right to see a dress in a bridal magazine and be able to try it on in her size. To not have to settle for an A-Line dress to hide her curves, but have the ability to try on a fitted gown and rock that dress with her gorgeous curves. To be treated like the beautiful bride-to-be that she is and enjoy the dress shopping experience. I tell my brides, “You are only a bride for the 1st time once in your life. Love the experience!”
What are the typical frustrations of a plus-sized bride shopping for wedding gowns?
Plus size American women feel left out as like they don’t matter as much as their smaller counter-parts. Even though 60% of American women average a street-size 16, their choices in bridal wear is less than impressive and very limited. To be clear, it’s not that Designers don’t make their gowns in sizes larger than a 10 or 12, it’s that Bridal Shops, for the most part, simply don’t carry the samples in anything larger for many reasons. They are more costly, are not stocked by the manufacturer and it typically takes 4 to 6 months for the bridal shops to receive their stock pieces. CurvyGirls Bridal has close to $1M of inventory in designer labels in larger sizes which is not possible for the vast majority of bridal shops across the nation.
Are there any designers that do a particularly awesome job designing for curvier brides?
We carry Manuel Mota, Pronovias, La Sposa by Pronovias, Enzoani, Anjolique, Forever Yours, Ellis, Coco Anais, Allure, Roz la Kelin and Glamour Plus. They all have styles that are wonderful on the curvier figure. Now, that is not to say that ALL their styles work well. The gowns we carry in our store are hand-picked by me to ensure figure-flattering details and silhouettes. Our entire staffs goes through extensive training and are experts in making our curvy brides look fabulous!
Are there any styles or design elements that you tell brides to avoid? Are there styles you find universally flattering?
Because our inventory is full of so many different styles and silhouettes, we encourage our brides to try them all. NOTHING is off limits! Your perfect wedding dress should be comfortable and flattering at every angle. If you are fun, it should be fun. If you are reserved or sophisticated, your style should reflect that as well. My advice to curvy brides is to own your curves! Don’t be intimidated by others’ opinions, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different looks.
What advice do you offer to curvy bridesmaids? How can a bride be sure to keep bridesmaids of all sizes happy?
If you are planning on one style for everyone, fit the most challenging figure. If she looks good, everybody else will, as well. It doesn’t work the other way around! The other alternative is to let each bridesmaid choose a style that works best for their body. Just make sure that all the dresses are in the same material!
Want to visit this fabulous boutique?
903-M Fair Ridge Drive
Fairfax, Virginia 22033