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Satin, Organza, Chiffon: What Does It Mean?

Brides-to-be should take their time deciding which wedding dress is perfect for them, but that can be tricky without a familiarity with the most popular bridal fabrics. Here’s a breakdown of the most common wedding dress fabrics.

Satin

Satin dress by Jessica Morgan with box pleats and jeweled belt

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 and, if the affair is outdoors, it is best worn in cooler temperatures. Beaded satin dresses are very glamorous and incredibly classic.

Charmeuse

Charmeuse dress by Beloved with lace overlay

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, silky, and lightweight. These dresses are great for destination events, they pack and travel easily yet still look rich and beautiful.

Chiffon

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.  Bride’s looking for a more simple and less formal wedding dress lean toward chiffon. Chiffon dresses also work well for destination or warm summer events.

Organza

Beaded organza tiered skirt on this Casablanca dress

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.

Tulle

Layered tulle skirt with horsehair trim on this Justin Alexander dress

Tulle is a slightly stiff, netted fabric that is often used in ballerina tutus and veils. Often incorporating lace, 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.  Tulle is often used in ball gowns to create the dramatic and voluminous skirts and is lovely when layered or tiered with a horsehair trim.

Lace

Ornately beaded lace and applique on this Kitty Chen Couture dress

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, 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 in modern wedding trends.

Lace can be incorporated onto your dress as beaded applique, or pieces of lace hand sewn on, or can be layered over other fabrics or even other lace patterns.

Floral lace pattern on a new Spring 2019 Casablanca Bridal dress

Although being educated about fabric types is important for any bride choosing her gown, it’s also helpful to see a variety of dresses in person to become familiar with the characteristics of different fabrics. To familiarize yourself with different types of gowns, view our gallery of real brides and our Pinterest boards, then call Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo at 215-491-8500 for an appointment today. We can’t wait to meet you!