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There will always be a place in wedding fashion for straightforward strapless gowns with a sweetheart neckline and full skirt. But right now the runways are full of surprises, showcasing bridal styles that are anything but ordinary. Here are five of the latest trends, each paired with expert advice on determining if you should take a pass or can pull it off with panache.

High Leg Slits

High leg slits were a big deal on the fall 2012 runways and the red carpet – who can forget Angelina’s Oscars dress? To wear this sultry silhouette, first and foremost you need great legs, says Rachel Leonard, the fashion director for Brides magazine. “You want to elongate the leg, so stay away from shoes with ankle straps in favor of sexier peep-toe pumps or a pair of strappy sandals with a bit of sparkle.” Complete the look with a chic barrette, side comb or feather in the hair, and a pair of long drop earrings; but skip the tiara to avoid ending up with a big picture that feels garish rather than glam.

Peplums

A short overskirt or ruffle attached at the waistline, peplums are a fabulous choice for accentuating gorgeous curves or creating a great shape on a bride with a boyish figure, says Chicago-based bridal stylist Marek Hartwig. But it’s a look best suited to taller brides, he warns, as it can effectually cut a petite bride in half and make her appear shorter.

Color

Bold hues like crimson, black and gray have stolen the spotlight at shows for the likes of Vera Wang and Enzoani, but many designers are playing with pinks, plums and blues. “The bride who wears color is an individualist – probably an artist, designer or similar creative type,” Leonard says. “And she wants to wear a shade that’s flattering to her skin tone; not just white like everyone else.” A colorful dress can still be big and gorgeous, complete with a train and veil, but make sure it coordinates with the rest of the wedding party.

Flower Prints

Like with color, gowns that showcase bold floral prints (e.g. Atelier Aimée’s cascading pink blossoms) are definitely for the unconventional, modern bride who wants to make a statement, says Hartwig. They are best suited for a tall, lean bride, so that the print doesn’t “swallow” her or put unwanted emphasis on fuller parts of the body.

Illusion Necklines

A sheer fabric overlay that extends from the bust to the collar (and also can include long or cap sleeves, or be one-shoulder), illusion necklines have sophisticated drama. Leonard loved the lace illusion neckline on Priscilla Chan’s romantic Claire Pettibone gown, adding that this peek-a-boo detailing typically works best on toned and smaller-busted brides.

© Brides365

[Image: Claire Pettibone]

Tags: Runway, Wedding Style, Wedding Dresses