How To Choose The Best Wedding Dress For Your Body

How To Choose The Best Wedding Dress For Your Body


If you're searching for your dream wedding gown and trying to decide how to choose the best wedding dress for your body type, you've come to the right place! We sought out the expertise of bridal designer Janita Toerien to help us understand exactly how to select styles and fabrics that will flatter your body and accentuate your natural beauty.

Today we go beyond the standard definitions of what is "acceptable" for your body type, by looking at how to choose a wedding dress which flatters your body and accentuates your assets. We're also including exclusive sneak peaks of Janita Toerien 's spectacular new collections, launching this week! (More to follow in a few days. YAY!!!)

Body Positive Brides: Be Beautifully You

"I don't believe in playing by the 'style rules' which dictate that if your body looks a certain way that you have to dress a certain way," says designer Janita Toerien. "I want brides to know that their bodies are beautiful no matter the size. All muffin tops are delicious!"

Janita explains that a breathtaking aesthetic can be created for each and every bride. When properly proportioned gowns are combined with the clever use of design elements like style lines, texture, colour, each and every bride can look her best. We all know that when we know we look good and we also feel comfortable, we exude confidence. "Your wedding gown's aesthetic should be something which you relate to and feels comfortable in," shares Janita. "It shouldn't only look beautiful on your body, it should make you feel like a queen. When the a beautifully made dress accentuates your body you will want to shout out 'YES! THIS is me!' "


Janita says that she she wishes all brides realized that they do not need to alter themselves to fit someone else's version of the perfect bride. "Stop losing the weight. For goodness sake, instead start focussing on the person you are inside, and on being a supportive and loving partner instead."

Your fiancée clearly doesn't have an issue with your 'cellulite, thunder thighs or tummy'. I don't either. START LOVING YOURSELF. Click To Tweet

Loving and accepting ourselves for who and what we are is part of the journey to becoming a whole, healthy person. When we learn to love ourselves, despite any so-called 'flaws', we make peace with ourselves. Part of this is having the confidence to feel great about playing up the parts of bodies that we love the most: "I understand that sometimes we feel uncomfortable with certain parts of our bodies - our bodies change and we sometimes haven't actually grown into the change." Janita gives us her advice for brides who are self-conscious about parts of their bodies or, on the other hand, would like to show off and accentuate certain assets.

Over to you, Janita!


Above: If you are conscious of your hips consider a two piece gown with detailed top or sleeves - this focuses attention upwards. When paired with a tulle skirt a flattering, gradual flare is created. (Gown: Ariana + Melody by Janita Toerien // Hair and Make Up: Marnel Toerien // Photo: Jenni Elizabeth )

  • If you are conscious of your hips and it feels like this area is wider than what you'd like it to be, try out something that flares out from the waist. In most cases your waist or underbust will be the smallest part of your torso. Have something flare out from here to create the illusion that you are that narrow all the way down.
  • We've seen a lot of brides who think that by wearing something super tight around the hips and thighs will suck and tuck them in, but this only accentuates that area. On the other hand if you want to accentuate your hips and thighs or create curviness then this could be a good option. Some girls have little definition between their waist and hips and this can create a curvier silhouette.

Above: To accentuate your curves, go for something figure hugging. Above Left: Stretchy fabric hugs the bottom accentuating that beautiful curve between waist, hips and thighs. (Gown: Adele + Mona by Janita Toerien //Hair and Make Up: Marnél Toerien // Photo: Jenni Elizabeth) // Above Right: Figure hugging lines and the placement of the lace's pattern creates curves on a slim bride. (Gown: Maria by Janita Toerien // Photo: // Hair and Make Up: Lisa Brown Make Up Artist )


Above: A fitted bustier lined with a lot of boning gives support to larger breasts while the diagonal pleating creates a smooth, contouring effect. (Gown: Ami + Margot by Janita Toerien //Hair and Make Up: Marnél Toerien // Photo: Jenni Elizabeth)


  • If you have been endowed with a full chest, you want support to keep the girls in place. Don't get a low back dress; there just isn't enough tension around the under bust to give you optimum support.
  • A V-neckline, sweetheart neckline and illusion neckline usually work really well.
  • Even an off-the-shoulder can work beautifully if the proportions are correct.
  • If you have especially large breasts you probably don't want them to be the focus on the day! It's difficult enough finding a bra that fits well and gives enough support, so the idea of wearing a wedding dress and having a hundred guests focus on you is a bit nightmarish. My advice is to have a dress made. Full stop.
  • A custom made dress will ensure that enough support can be built into the bodice.
  • A custom made dress can also ensure that the neckline and side lines are raised enough to cover any side boob that might want to show.

Above: Adding a strap can add an extra sense of security for full chested brides, complementing the support of a bodice lined with boning and supportive cups. (Gown: Ava + Mona by Janita Toerien //Hair and Make Up: Marnél Toerien // Photo: Jenni Elizabeth)


  • If you want to accentuate your breasts or add a bit more body, something with bulky detail is great!
  • Smaller, perkier breasts can easily wear low cut tops with ease and elegance. It won't look like the girls want to jump out and have their own party!

Above Left: Voluminous pleating and cluster beading adds and accentuates the chest. (Gown: Ella by Janita Toerien //Hair and Make Up: // Photo: Ronél Kruger Photography & Art ) // Above Right: Smaller breasted brides can wear low cut tops tastefully. (Gown: Anais + Margot: by Janita Toerien //Hair and Make Up: Marnél Toerien // Photo: Jenni Elizabeth)

    Also remember that two halves look bigger than one whole. Creating a middle line or having bigger patterns on either side of the centre line will create the illusion that your chest is larger.

Above + Beneath: Brides with a smaller chest can opt for gowns with a detailed top. The middle parting and sloping lines on this gown add width across the chest. We're just mad about the back and sleeve detailing, too! (Gown: Hannah by Janita Toerien //Hair and Make Up:Nadia Professional Make-up and Hair // Photo:Debbie Lourens )

(Below) Embellishments can help to create bulk on a tiny frame. (Pantsuit: Cara by Janita Toerien // Photo: Wesley Vorster Photography // Hair and make up: Corlé Barnard Make-up & Hair )



Above: Create the illusion of height with the clever use of design elements like vertical pleats and slits which draw the eye up, creating length. (Gown: Arielle by Janita Toerien // Photo // Hair and Make Up Marli Basson Professional Hair and Make up Artist )

  • If you want to create length then don't go for a full tulle ball gown. The sloping shape creates a wider, horizontal line towards the hem and we all know that horizontal = shorter.
  • Use vertical pleats and slits on your skirt, these are lengthening elements
  • Draw the eye upward by placing focusing on the top with heavy embellishments and a high neckline.

Above: Cara pantsuit by Janita Toerien (Photo: Wesley Vorster // Hair and make up: Corlé-Barnard)


    For petit brides wearing something like a pantsuit can be quite fun! The vertical lines of the trousers will elongate your silhouette and you can have a really cool, embellished top to lift the eye up.

  • If you are tall you can easily play with a hemline that ends just above the ankles. This shortens the legs but won't make you look short and it will show off your shoes!
  • The incredible volume of a ball gown looks amazing on a taller girl!

Above: The volume of a ball gown won't look out of place on a taller bride. (Gown: Valentina by Janita Toerien // Photo Claire Thomson Photography // Hair and Make Up: Marnél Toerien)


    If you are aware of your arms then an illusion tulle or lace is an amazing choice! These fabrics just work, giving a smooth, slim effect. Think of how Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Cher and Gwen Stefani almost always wear fishnet stockings on stage, which give a smooth look. Obviously you wouldn't cover your arms in fishnet but instead a soft tulle, mesh or delicate lace which does the same thing.

(Above) Delicate patterns and detailed fabric can create a smoothing effect, making the arms looks long and slim. (Gown: Antoinette by Janita Toerien // Photo: // Hair and Make Up: Anchen Crossland - Makeup & Hair Stylist )

(Above) Soft tulle covers the arms without adding bulk and because the fabric is still thin and delicate it's not too warm for summer weddings. (Gown: Ally by Janita Toerien //Hair and Make Up: Marnél Toerien // Photo: Jenni Elizabeth)


Wear whatever you want! I don't care if you're a size 6 or a 26. Life's too short, wear the dress and eat the cake! Just be the woman you want to be! Click To Tweet

Janita's last piece of advice is that anyone - even mother or best friend - telling you that "Your arms are quite flabby, you should wear sleeves" or "You are full figured, look at the plus size range" should kindly exclude themselves from the dress fitting process. "We have a no negativity rule in the studio and will not tolerate anyone being mean to our brides," explains Janita. "To quote Mario Testino, 'It is not to change people; it's to just bring [out] the essence'."

Isn't Janita's perspective and advice just amazing? We're such fans of her ethic and her designs! That's why we're so excited to let you know that we'll be bringing you an exclusive first look at her entire 2017 collection in just a few days! Be warned - the designs are ridiculously gorgeous. Get ready to have your breath completely taken away!

DESIGNER WEBSITE: Janita Toerien // DESIGNER FACEBOOK: Janita Toerien Facebook // DESIGNER INSTAGRAM: Janita Toerien Instagram

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