Your Guide to Buying a Strapless Wedding Gown

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Your Guide to Buying a Strapless Wedding Gown

Many people consider the strapless wedding dress to be a classic. The strapless wedding gown has survived the times because it fits most body types. It minimises brides with large busts and maximises those with smaller busts. The strapless dress also draws attention away from other problem areas, such as the hips and waist. Almost any style of gown skirt and accessory can be worn with a strapless bodice. These dresses are also easily found in bridal shops, as well as online websites and auction sites, such as eBay.

The fit of a strapless gown needs to be determined by a competent seamstress. Since its fit requires close measurements, they are usually taken professionally. Despite its popularity, the strapless dress has its problems. There are three basic styles for the bodice of a strapless dress. There is the sweetheart neckline, the slight curve, and the straight bodice. Each of these bodices have the same problems. One needs to look at which type of strapless bodice she wants, how to correct the issues that come along with a strapless dress, and which accessories best complement strapless bridal gowns.

Basic Strapless Bodice

The three basic strapless bodices for bridal gowns are the sweetheart, the curve, and the straight. These terms refer to the shape of the top of a wedding gown. The decorations on these bustlines may vary but the general shapes do not.

The Sweetheart Bodice

The sweetheart bodice is the most common and is characterised by a dip in the centre of the bust.  The V-shape between the breasts and the rounded cups give the bodice the shape of a heart, hence its name. This bustline is said to be the most flattering of the different strapless choices. It accentuates a small bust and helps conceal a large bust by covering it completely.

The Curved Bodice

The curved bodice has a simple up curve or down curve along the bust. This style is more demure than the sweetheart, and is worn with an accent, such as lace, beading, or crinoline across the bust. The down-curve bodice dips slightly between the breasts, but not so much as to be revealing. The up-curve bodice curves upwards across the bust. The highest point is between the breasts, and the sides of the bodice are lower. Both of these are perfect for those with larger breasts who want a strapless dress but do not want too much emphasis on the bust.

The Straight Bodice

The straight bodice is exactly what the name implies. It is a bodice that is straight across the chest. If a bride is self-conscious about her bust, the straight bodice takes the emphasis off of the breasts and puts it on the upper chest or waist, depending upon the style of the skirt. This type of line is the least revealing. The straight line bust often has a wrap of cloth, crinoline, or beaded satin fabric, which further removes attention from the breasts. Also taking attention away from the bust is an empire or flared waistline.

Issues With the Strapless Wedding Gown

There are two major issues that most brides have when wearing a strapless wedding gown. Strapless dresses either slide down and have to be constantly pulled up, or the bride risks exposing herself when she bends over. Either the gown has to be very tight through the chest and waist, or a bride must take measures to keep it from sliding down. Each of the following tricks help to minimise the risk of exposure and keep the dress from slipping down. Modifications can be made by a qualified tailor or seamstress.

The Laced Back

A strapless dress should have a lace back similar to the lacing on 19th century garments. This is an eyelet lace that can be made looser or tighter to fit any body style. By tightening the upper portion of the bodice, the lacing prevents a bride from coming out of her dress as she bends down. The lacing, when tightened, works to prevent the dress from sliding down but cannot prevent it completely. Dressmakers often use this lacing in combination with other forms of fitted tops.

The Corset Top

A corset-top dress is the easiest and most convenient way to prevent the top of a wedding gown from slipping down. A corset top has a vertical ribbing. This ribbing was originally made from whale bone. Modern dresses have stiff plastic or metal ribs to keep the top of the dress conformed to a specific shape. This also keeps the top of the dress from falling because the bottom portion of the corset sits on the hips. This fitting, along with lacing in the back, keeps the dress from falling down and the bride from exposing herself. The corset top is most often seen on the sweetheart style of bodice.

The Top Laced Bodice

This type of bodice works well on both the curved and straight bodice dresses. A top lace is a small set of laces that tighten the very top of the dress that keeps the portion curved over the breasts from moving. Since these styles of bodices cover the tops of the breasts in a straight line, the top lace uses the chest to keep the dress from slipping.

Double-Sided Tape

Double-sided dress tape is not the type of tape used for hanging papers or wrapping boxes. This tape is a special type of fabric tape that holds a dress to the skin. It does not damage the dress or a bride’s skin or undergarments. This type of tape holds any of the different bodices, but is not very effective for a sweetheart bodice because of its shape.

The Clear Plastic Strap

If none of the other options are available, there are also clear plastic straps that can be attached to the straight and curved bodice dresses. Clear straps can be attached to the dress by buttons or sewn directly into the material. A bride can cover these straps with a wrap that matches her dress. A wrap allows the strapless dress to shine through, but not the plastic straps.

Accessories for a Strapless Gown

There are many accessories for strapless gowns, considering almost any skirt or dress complements a strapless bodice. There are accessories for these gowns, including jewellery, wraps, and hair pieces. Many of these choices depend on what the wedding gown looks like. If the gown is covered in sequins, rhinestones, or is otherwise decorated, it is best to leave the jewellery at home. For any strapless wedding dress, a shawl or wrap is an accessory that a bride should have. It can be elegantly draped around the arms or worn for warmth in the event that it gets cold. If a bride is wearing her hair up, a tasteful set of earrings complement the bodice of the dress.

The Sweetheart Bodice

The sweetheart bodice has the most flexibility when selecting jewellery. Since the neckline is in the shape of a V, and rises into a heart shape, most necklaces complement it. The necklaces that are particularly appealing are those that hang against the chest in the same V pattern as the bodice. This draws attention to the heart-shaped bodice.

The Curved and Straight Bodice

The curved and straight bodice are basically complemented by the same jewellry. They both look excellent with an oval necklace that drapes over the neck near the collarbone. This shows off a bride’s neck and shoulders. A wide choker around the neck also shows off the bodice of the gown without drawing too much attention to the bust.

How to Buy a Strapless Gown on eBay

The strapless wedding gown is a classic style, and many of them are for sale on eBay. eBay is a good website to both purchase and browse for strapless bridal gowns. All one has to do is type in the search terms for the gown that she wants and click search. This brings up a listing of the different gowns for sale or auction. Read each listing carefully. Most sellers include a description of size, type of bodice, and gown type.

As you read the listing, make sure to look at the seller’s feedback and return, payment, and shipping terms. If it is close to the wedding, then ordering a gown that takes several weeks to arrive may not be the best idea. The return policy is important if the gown is too small, damaged, stained, or just not what one expects. The seller feedback is a valuable tool to let a buyer know from whom they are ordering. Feedback can also tell a buyer who a trusted seller may be, and who is not.


The strapless gown is both timeless and classic. The bodice of a strapless gown, despite its problems, can accent almost any body type or shape. The strapless bodice can also complement any style of gown skirt and is easy to accessorise. There are a number of ways to compensate for the problems that occur when wearing a strapless gown, including lace, decorative items, and specialty dressmaker’s tools. As with any wedding gown, the strapless gown should be altered by a professional seamstress.

A strapless wedding gown can be found on eBay, in bridal shops, and in some high-end department stores. In many ways, the wedding gown is the most important gown that one buys in her lifetime. This makes it important to find a gown that is both comfortable and stylish. The strapless wedding gown, due to its popularity, can be passed down through generations of brides or is easily resold. This type of gown has been popular through the ages and that popularity shows no sign of waning.

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