In challenging times, it is essential to keep dreaming. While not every aspect of your wedding can be shrouded in certainty at the moment, brides can be reassured that hope is on the horizon and that 2021 is offering some stunning bridal dress trends that they can get very excited about. With designers presenting authentic, beautiful and inspiring pieces 2021 brides will be looking for their dresses to have a unique expression and will be looking to add elements of surprise in their styling and design choices.
Whether it be clean silhouettes paired with bespoke features, romantic sleeves, ultra-feminine ruffles or the bold choice of a sophisticated dress alternative, this season's designs and trends remind us that dreaming is still very much still on the cards. We are thrilled to roundup the key trends that will be influencing brides in 2021. Providing a range of choices for those who are opting for a more conservative and timeless approach and for those wanting to emerge and celebrate in a more daring fashion.
Let's talk lightweight, tiers and ruffles
Lightweight dresses are where ease and romance meet. Ultra-feminine ruffles, tiered skirts with fitted bodices and airy dresses are perfected for a night spent on the dance floor. With a focus on adding volume using layers of featherlight tulle and organza, these wavy ruffles add a touch of glamour to structured or finely folded and draped bodices. Using laser cut,pinched tulle, and, sculpted waves of organza there is a practical element that makes these dresses effortlessly wearable without excess weight. Whether it's playful chic or a voluminous and contemporary tiered style your after, like these Karen Willis Holmes dresses, endless texture and movement make these playful gowns true statement pieces.
Sleeves this season are all about looking forward and not looking back (don't worry the 80's aren't making a reappearance) sleeves are getting a contemporary remodelling. Suiting almost any style or shape of dress, sleeves can be personalised to add subtle flair, elegance or make a bold statement.
Long, short, puffy and in-between, being such a versatile element, the design options are limitless. A puff sleeve can add soft and subtle highlights to the shoulders, whereas short capped sleeves give a modern princess vibe. Vintage lace sleeves are the perfect accompaniment for the boho bride and brides looking for an off the shoulder dress can add soft draping sleeves for an out-of-this-world delicate yet romantic feel.
For colder weather, long sleeves are a flattering and practical alternative. Australian designer Jack Sullivan Bridal's New York Minute Collection accommodates the minimalist style with a plunging neckline, figure-hugging silhouette and waterfall three-quarter bell sleeves that while sleek and modern add a playful touch. This long-sleeved dress by Anna Georgina showcases exceptional sheer detailing and floral lacework for an unforgettable look.
Short and sweet
With brides having to look at refocussing the size of their weddings to more casual and intimate settings (thanks COVID!), short dresses are hitting the runway offering adventurous hemlines for the daring bride. Seen as investment pieces that have more longevity than traditional dress styles , short dresses offer brides a fun and playful substitute that lend themselves to more relaxed and casual gatherings. Bringing a welcome element of surprise these dresses are for those who want to put their best foot (or legs) forward and are partial to accessorising with stunning shoes. With international designers Viktor & Rolf Fall Bridal Collections featuring A-line short dresses adorned with striking roses and Ines di Santo championing figure-hugging sheer designs engulfed in 3D floral applique these contemporary dresses are spirited and feminine. Spring and summer brides take note!!! Short dresses are perfect for your outdoor garden wedding. If you're getting married in winter however and are falling in love with the idea of going shorter but don't want to commit to an above the knee dress, opt for a tea-length dress which is slightly longer but will still provide an irresistibly chic statement.
Just a little frosting
Or maybe a lot of frosting!!! Decadent sequins, tonal beading, metallic embellishments, stunning crystals and pearl trimmings that catch the light are injecting some serious sparkle into dresses this season. For a versatile look that flows from ceremony to reception party, this season’s exuberant sparkle flourishes, with delicate handcrafted detailing, are trend-setting masterpieces. For brides looking to glisten up their minimalist vibe, this is the answer. This 2021 bridal look sees amove away from oversized bling towards subtle and refined repetitive patterns. Pearl embellishments feature strongly and are used to accentuate key elements of the dress, such as this sheer racerback dress by Mia Riley. Consider this trend added permission to shine....,or rather sparkle, on your special day.
For some brides, rescheduling their wedding dates and postponing their special day, has meant a switch of season has become inevitable. If you are now saying , 'I do' in winter instead of Spring capes offer a stylish and viable alternative. While still remaining practical, this seasons focus on capes has brought forth a plethora of breathtaking designs which mean you don't have to compromise on your intended wedding day dream. Detachable capes allow for a seamless transition of looks throughout your day and can add the perfect finishing touch to any bridal outfit. Sheer, structured, glam or floaty capes can be paired with any dress or jumpsuit. Depending on the style and weather, choose to allow your shoulders to peek through or opt for full coverage. Pair a glittery cape or embellished cropped cape to an unadorned dress; or for effortless glamour be inspired by this smoky grey cape with blanc floral embellishments teamed with a Grecian style cinched waist dress.
Pants and Jumpsuits
For those wanting to break tradition and escape having to wear 'a big white dress', suits or jumpsuits offer a sleek and sophisticated dress alternative and are making a daring play for the hearts of brides in 2021.
Incredibly flattering, and varying from highly embellished with lace detail to tailored tuxedos, these dress alternative options mean that brides don't have to compromise on style or the ability to personalise their dream wedding outfit.
As with a dress it’s all about finding the right fit for you, looking for silhouettes that complement your best features, quality fabrics and embellishments or a styling note that highlights your personal flair. Textured fabrics or metallics embellishments can give bridal suits added depth and dimension. At the same time, a more feminine feel has been achieved by Lela Rose with her off-shoulder peplum two-piece suit featuring a dramatic oversized bow. Drop-dead gorgeous and catering perfectly to the bride that wants to really stand-out, designers like Sahroo, have created high-waisted, sleek fitting satin pants, with a sophisticated culotte cut, paired with mesmerising jackets. Not to be overshadowed by bridal suits, jumpsuits are also 'having their moment' offering a versatile alternative that provides a seamless transition from day to night, from walking down the aisle to dancing late into the evening. If you're prepared to look unforgettably gorgeous and turn all heads in the room, a jumpsuit might be the perfect match for you. Boho, modern, romantic or vintage jumpsuits are available in a wide range of styles and fits and can become a welcome addition to your wardrobe, able to be worn long after your big day.
With Royal weddings, both recent and historical, continuing to influence this design space the minimalist gown is a dress that stuns in its simplicity. With clean lines, shapes and impeccable tailoring, these gowns are differentiated by a single but breathtaking statement detail. Plunging v-necks, high necks, full-length shoulders or clean architectural lines means that minimalist by no means equates to boring.
Understated glamour can be created for the spring or summer bride with unexpected neckline details and clean figure-hugging silhouettes, such as the asymmetrical strapless column dress or fitted halter neck. Winter brides can opt for structured capes to accompany their dresses or tailored sleeves. These restrained and classic styles provide space for the minimalist bride to indulge in a favourite bold feature, making a personalised statement that isn't lost in a flurry of embellishments, applique or layers of tulle. Savannah Millers silk satin bias cut gown epitomises minimalist glamour with its sophisticated lines and low cowl back. In contrast, the piéce de résistance of Carolina Herrera's shoulderless gown is its large detachable bow.
Sustainability and versatility
With a focus on connectivity and the need to be more aware of the impact our decisions have on one another, brides are looking for designers that advocate sustainable and ethical design processes and practises. With this trend prioritising what is happening behind the scenes, brides have become more conscious about consumption and considering what impact their big day will have upon the environment long after they walk down the aisle. With an inspiring focus on using biodegradable materials, natural dyes, recycled vintage fabrics and laces Sydney based designers Lost in Paris Bridal and LA-based design house Reformation (who have been carbon neutral since 2015) are creating beautiful yet environmentally conscious dresses. Alongside this, brides are turning their attention towards post-wedding wear and choosing innovative designs that boast both functionality and style, allowing for their wedding dress or components of their wedding outfit to become re-utilised wardrobe favourites. Design house Pronovias is leading the way in offering brides the opportunity to donate their dress to 'Brides do Good.' This organisation sells wedding dresses and invests the proceeds (Provonias matches every dress donated) in international charity programs aimed at empowering vulnerable young women.
Another way brides are exploring making their decision more sustainable and adding value by reducing waste is to upcycle their dress. Storage space has become a significant consideration, and considering the perfect record of your dress has already been captured by your photographer, brides are finding less and less of a need to keep the physical memento. Selling through online wedding dress marketplaces like Still White means that resale potential can also be another consideration alongside style, fit and price when choosing your dress. Here are a few tips to consider that will help bolster your resale potential:
Designer: A designer gown (either local or international) will be easier to resell than more traditional and readily available brands.Designer brands will often be able to be sold at a discount of 20-30% off the retail price as opposed to 40-60% for readily available labels.
Style Trends: A dress that is following current style trends will have a quicker turnover, think a-line silhouettes, v-necks, sleeves and 3D floral appliques.Alterations and the way they are done will affect the ability to resell the dress - keep any excess fabrics or embellishments for future use.
Quality of textiles: quality fabrics with a focus on durability as opposed to more delicate/finer fabrics will have a higher resale value and will wear better the second time around.
Keep receipts to validate your price of purchase and do not remove designer labelling. Upcycle your dress as quickly as possible after your wedding while it’s still 'on-trend' and the style in demand.
Online /virtual fittings
While it may be stretching the friendship slightly to call it a 'trend' one of the most significant shifts that will occur in bridal fashion this season will be how brides choose and purchase their dress. With the dream for most dresses starting with a ‘like’ on Instagram or an image pinned to a board, the virtual world already has a profound influence on the way brides choose their wedding attire. Navigating restrictions and limitations placed on boutiques, designers are increasingly looking to make their online experience as streamlined and efficient as possible for brides, without compromising on the quality of service and the individual attention every bride deserves. Online styling appointments, exclusive online-only collections and more efficient try on and return programs are assisting in making the virtual experience for brides as rewarding as the time they would have otherwise spent in the showroom.