Brides-to-be are inundated with dresses: styles, shapes, details, and fabrics. So many fabrics! What is the difference and what does it mean when it comes to your wedding dress?
There’s a big difference between fabrics and it has a lot to do with your dress as far as a season, a venue, comfort, and personal preference. In addition, many people have sensory issues and some fabrics can be triggers.
Here’s a breakdown of the most common wedding dress fabrics.
Although many mistake satin for a type of fiber, it actually refers to the finish of the dress, as is the case for many fabrics. Satin can be made of fibers such as silk, nylon, or rayon, but still be satin because of its finish.
Satin is a tried-and-true wedding fabric that has been popular across the ages for its smooth finish and durability. Because of its body, it can be easily shaped for structured bridal gowns as well. Very formal (meaning very “bridal”), this fabric is a perfect choice for a formal affair. Beaded satin dresses are very glamorous and incredibly classic.
Charmeuse, while similar to satin, is much lighter, making it great for dresses that drape, slink, and flow. This fabric is high-end and has a sophisticated sheen and has a slight stretch quality to it.
It is exceptionally comfortable, very silky, and lightweight. These dresses are great for destination events, they pack and travel easily yet still look rich and beautiful. Most often, charmeuse dresses have an overlay of light tulle with lace appliques.
Chiffon is a lightweight, woven fabric that is sheer and flowing. Because it is sheer, it is layered over itself or another fabric with more body. It is common in both bride and bridesmaid dresses.
Although its lightness does lead it to snag easily, a well-made chiffon dress can create an ethereal, fairy-tale look for a bride’s big day. Brides looking for a more simple wedding dress lean toward chiffon, although chiffon dresses can also have splits in the skirt that lend a peek-a-boo quality! Chiffon dresses also work well for destination or warm summer events.
Similar to chiffon, organza is a relatively sheer and lightweight woven fabric. However, unlike chiffon, organza has a stiffness that makes it a more natural choice for structured gowns with more shape. Like chiffon, organza is quite delicate. Beaded organza and appliques look incredibly pretty and shimmery on this fabric. Organza is often used with layered or tiered skirts as a softer and less “pouffy” alternative to tulle.
Crepe is a fabric that was traditionally made from silk or wool which is what gives some their “bumpy” appearance, but can now can be made from almost any fiber. Crepe georgette is very popular in dresses now because the georgette adds elasticity while still keeping a great shape. It is soft, clean, and comfortable. Wedding dresses in crepe tend to be smooth, body-hugging and sexy.
Tulle is a slightly stiff, netted fabric that is often used in ballerina tutus and veils. Tulle is a great fabric for structured dresses or to give a dress with heavier fabric some lighter accents. Like chiffon and organza, it’s important to be careful with tulle, as it can snag or tear easily. It can be a bit scratchy for those with sensitive skin.
Tulle is often used in ball gowns to create the dramatic and voluminous skirts with tiers or layered with horsehair trim, and is just as lovely with a glitter effect, sequined, or adorned with lace appliques.
Silk is a very tightly woven fabric and that gives it a beautiful, glimmering effect. Silk dresses rarely have embellishments aside from buttons and bows. There are different types of silks that are all produced from natural fibers, such as dupioni, shantung, mikado.
Standing the test of time, lace has been a popular feature in wedding gowns for centuries. Lace is normally used as an overlay atop another fabric (such as charmeuse or stretch jersey) giving it a highly detailed accent that is perfect for a sophisticated wedding gown.
Lace styles are normally named after the city in which they originated, with Chantilly, Alençon, Brussels, and Venice among the most popular types, however, the patterns today are even more extraordinary. The details in these designs lend different vibes and can also be layered, beaded, sequined, or plain.
Although being educated about fabric types is important for any bride choosing her gown, it’s also important to try a variety of dresses on to see how they not only look, but feel on you!