Wedding Dresses & Style

Courtney’s Figure-Conscious Course

posted: 04/01/13
by: TLC
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Kelly and Sam celebrate Courtney's ultra-flattering gown with a toast!

Courtney, a 25-year-old bride from Seattle, had a very specific reason for wanting a figure-hugging gown. She'd just lost 125 pounds! While very proud of Courtney, her mother wanted the bride to carry on the family tradition of wearing a second-generation lace gown. If she'd worn her mother's dress, why couldn't Courtney do the same?

While Courtney worried that her guests wouldn't understand the history of the gown and think the bride was in a thrift-store find, her grandmother wasn't concerned about the dress at all. "I want my granddaughter to go her own course," she said. Blessed by Grandma to explore uncharted dress waters, Sam and Kelly set out to find and recreate dresses that would celebrate Courtney's new figure!

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Courtney's Borrowed Gown After

What were the basic details of the original dress?

Lace, tulle and more lace! Long lace sleeves and layers of baby pleated tulle.

What were the elements that really dated the dress?

This dress was so cool!It reminded me of a dress you would see in the movies where the actress would have Little Bo Peep curls and a lacy umbrella! It had tons of beautiful lace and a little sparkle on top. The bottom had layers and layers of tulle with baby pleats and lace trim. The holes are what dated the dress -- there were so many rips and tears in the lace, I was worried about what I could salvage.

What were the biggest challenges in transforming the dress?

The biggest challenge was turning the dress into something Courtney would wear. This dress was very fairy tale, and Courtney was more simple. The dress was a puffy lace explosion when she tried it on! The top of the dress couldn't be salvaged, so I had no choice but to remake the top of the dress. Also, Courtney wanted to camouflage some areas, so I had to work within those requests as well.

What was your inspiration for the transformation?

Courtney's new body was my inspiration! I wanted to show off her new curves so she could celebrate her accomplishment!

What details from the transformation would you like to point out?

I kept the entire bottom of the dress and built Courtney a new top! It was a strapless drop waist silk bodice with embellishments at the waist. In retrospect, the waist detail needed to be an inch or so higher, but just like any wedding dress, you need a few fittings to get the perfect fit! I loved the smooth silhouette of my dress and in the end, I was able to use a big piece of the lace at the top of the bodice!

What did you think when Courtney didn't choose your dress?

She was beautiful in both, and although I LOVED my dress, she was more comfortable in Sam's dress. Also, it was more her style. Courtney wanted a new dress for her new body, and the one thing she really craved for her big day was the: "Wow! Look at me now!" She definitely got that with Sam's dress! Also, with older dresses, you're kind of stuck with the color. Sam's dress was bright and fresh, and I thought the brighter tones really lifted her up! She was beautiful.

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Courtney's New Gown

How did Courtney's wedding venue and theme influence your dress choices for her?

Courtney was planning a vintage inspired wedding, and she wanted a timeless, classic look. I knew I wanted to try a dress with some kind of crystal embellishment or something in lace. I thought there should be a nod to Old Hollywood glamour, which worked well with the shapes and styles she envisioned for her dress. I wanted the hourglass silhouette to be the focus so Courtney felt glamorous and a tad sexy.

Based on her body shape and personal style, what types of dresses did you pull for Courtney?

Naturally, Courtney was all about showing off her new body after working so hard to lose the weight. She was dead set on wearing a fit and flare gown. My goal was to show off Courtney's body in the best way possible and find her the dress of dreams -- which she'd earned.

The fit and flare shape worked well on Courtney's frame because she had the height and some great new curves to pull it off. She wanted to try strapless dresses even though there was some concern about extra skin from the weight loss. The first dress I chose was perfect because it sat higher under the arm, so any extra skin was concealed and her bust was well-supported. The dress had a lot of structure, empire detail under the bust, and princess seams, which all supported and elongated Courtney's torso to make her look even leaner.

I chose the second dress because it had lots of beautiful lace detailing and it reminded me of an updated version of mom's dress. For me, lace works like a print except it's textural. Prints and textures act like camouflage to visually hide any bumps and bulges on the body. The shape of the dress was sexy and curvaceous, but the lace made it classic. It was a nice balance.

The last dress was a one-shoulder style, with a ruched bodice and a fuller skirt. When you have a soft or curvy figure, the dress needs to have structure and support. This corseted bodice helped showed off Courtney's tiny waist and gave her some nice coverage at the chest and shoulder. With the option of adding another strap, the issue of extra skin was null and void.

Do you have recommendations for Courtney's hair, makeup and accessories for an overall bridal look based on the dress she chose?

I wanted a look that was young and fresh with a vintage feel -- and a dash of sexiness. Courtney's hair was curled into soft, loose waves with some pieces pulled back to hold the veil. I chose a bronze and soft gold metallic eye with deep lashes and liner. The lips were a glossy, bright pink, and the blush was a peachy pink shade. We chose a statement necklace with drop pearls and a vintage inspired charm to complement the Swarovski embellishment on the dress. Pearl and crystal earrings and bold bracelet finished the look.

What did you think when Courtney chose your dress?

I was proud and excited! This dress was meant to be for Courtney, and she really felt perfect in it. I think her confidence soared when she saw how amazing she looked. It was a great reward for all her hard work. She had a real moment, and I was happy to be a part of that. When you look good and feel good in your wedding dress, the whole world knows it. Courtney was truly beaming, and she made a wonderful choice.

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