Need a little sparkle, texture or just plain oomph in your attire? Belts and sashes are a simple and stunning solution.
“I love belts and sashes,” says Nicole Janowicz, an international stylist who specializes in celebrities and high-end weddings. “They transform the entire look of a dress, and are a great way to incorporate more of the bride’s personality and aspects of the overall wedding theme, like colors.”
Rosanna Casper, co-founder of bridal apparel website iDoJour.com, which offers chic, hand-sewn A.B. Ellie sashes with details like Swarovski crystals, feathers and silk blooms, is especially fond of the modern feel of black sashes on strapless, drop-waist gowns, and lace dresses paired with either a thin, sparkly sash or a wider, plain sash made of horsehair or satin faced organza. But, she warns, keep in mind that “lace itself is a work of art, so you don’t want the sash to compete with the dress!”
Another factor to consider is the tone of your I Do’s. For formal weddings, Chicago-based bridal stylist Marek Hartwig loves a sophisticated black belt with stone embellishment, and for outside celebrations he suggests sashes adorned with fabric flowers. He also likes making a statement by adding the belt for the reception after an earlier ceremony. “It’s just a little something to transition the bride from daytime to evening.”
Already have your heart set on a certain sash? Take note that these big-impact accessories all draw attention to your midsection, Casper says, thus it’s worth experimenting with different styles to see which are the most flattering for your figure. In general, tall or fuller-figured women can handle wearing wider, more ornate and colorful sashes, Janowicz says, while the same styles could be overwhelming on a small frame. On the other hand, a skinnier, more delicate belt will usually work better on a petite bride.
Particular gown styles are also better suited for different kinds of sashes. For example, Hartwig recommends pairing drop or natural waisted gowns with slim belts, since the skirts are usually quite full and you want to avoid an overall look that feels heavy or stumpy. The easiest silhouettes to pair with most belts? Fit-to-flare and mermaid, Hartwig says, as long as the effect isn’t cutting the bride’s torso in half. And on the skip-the-sash-altogether list: gowns with a ruched waist, defined empire waistband, detailing around the waist, ample embellishment all over, or a very low back, Casper says.
Right now you can find a myriad of beautiful belts everywhere from online retailers to specialty chains like David’s Bridal and the designer boutiques.
If you’re on a really tight budget or you’re simply a proud DIY bride, Janowicz suggests making your own sash from satin, lace or grosgrain ribbon purchased at a local fabric store. If needed, a local tailor can help you perfect a bow, finish the edges or add a felt or velvet backing for stability.