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For people within the fashion industry, Kate Middleton's wedding dress was important because it paid tribute to the late Alexander McQueen. For civilians, though, the dress represented something else entirely: A break from the relentless tyranny of strapless wedding dresses. While the future Duchess of Cambridge certainly had big things to worry about on her wedding day, having her dress fall down in front of the entire nation wasn't one of them.
If only the rest of us were so lucky. As lovely as a strapless gown can be, it brings with it a host of complications, from bra wrangling to the pervasive fear that your friends and loved ones secretly think your armpits are flabby. But even a royal wedding can't change a trend as deeply ingrained as bare bridal shoulders. We consulted some local wedding dress experts, and every single one of them said that the strapless dress is here to stay.
Maryann Greco, owner of Adrienne's gown shop on the Lower East Side:
No one loves their arms. The slimmest girls in the world hate their arms. But when you wear something that cuts your arm off somewhere, whether it's a cap sleeve, a strap, whatever, it draws attention to that area. So the fattest girl in the world looks great in a strapless dress. I don't think it'll ever go out. Everyone thought "Oh my" when Kate wore sleeves, but I haven't had one girl come in asking for that look other than one who needed sleeves for an Orthodox Jewish wedding. Even mothers of the brides, older women, they come in and leave with strapless dresses. All I've sold for the past ten years are strapless.
Mark Ingram, owner of Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier in midtown:
I believe a strapless neckline is so popular because it is flattering to almost every body type. A properly fitted strapless bodice can enhance a small bust but also minimize a large one. It is the one neckline that has always been associated with evening gowns, and therefore it has a glamorous allure.
I don't the trend will go away anytime soon. Although Kate Middleton's beautiful long-sleeved gown was stunning, it is more limiting in terms of on whom it looks good and when that look is appropriate. A long-sleeved gown is also more restricting and modern brides want to have fun!
Gabriella Risatti, owner of Gabriella New York Bridal Salon in MePa:
Since the Royal Wedding, we have not seen an increase in the number of women asking for sleeves. I think it just feels too conservative and covered up for most women we meet. However, we have in the past year seen an increase in the number of women looking for non-strapless in the form of a strap or small cap sleeve. The reason most women want this is either a) to be different from all of their friends who have gotten married in the past five years and worn strapless or b) they fear their dress won't stay up while they are dancing.
The reality is that most women purchase their clothing, including cocktail and evening dresses off the rack, so they've never experienced a garment that is made to their measurements and/or tailored to fit them perfectly, like a wedding gown. When this is done, there is no chance of a strapless dress falling down.
I think the reason that most wedding gowns are strapless is because it is difficult to make a gown that has straps or sleeves that is still feminine and delicate. Often, a strap or sleeve can make a woman feel bulky and less feminine. Once women put a strapless on, they generally feel beautiful. Once they are educated about the fit, they feel that they can wear a strapless with confidence.· All Wedding Week 2011 coverage [Racked NY]