WHEN Kirsty Devine imagined her dream wedding dress, she never envisioned the problems she'd have finding a gown that would flatter her figure and 32GG bust.
The Simply Devine Things homewares retailer, from West Yorkshire, ended up trying on at least 20 dresses before she found 'the one', and was disappointed to find many were unflattering and wouldn't even fit over her chest.
Here, she shares exactly how she found the perfect dress, and what she recommends to other brides struggling to find a gown that flatters their curvy figure…
Say yes to the dress
Kirsty, 37, wed her husband in August last year after 11 years together, and she had a very particular idea in mind initially when it came to what she wanted to wear.
She says: "I initially wanted a corset style and strapless, and I was prepared to buy a second hand dress to get what I wanted.
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"My maid of honour was going to embroider the back of it, with bright flowers and butterflies.
"I looked at high street dresses but they were all very slinky and not suited to my body type.
"They felt more for the size 8 models photographed in them."
However, Kirsty quickly realised her dream dress was going to be tricky to find, and she spent seven months trying on 20 different gowns.
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She says: "The first shop I went to was a small boutique and everything was frilly, heavily embroidered or just looked frumpy.
"At that point I dismissed having a strapless as it was so unflattering on me.
"I loved the backless dresses and the corset strapless dresses, but I needed the support and I thought I was going to have to wear a bra. I didn't want to feel exposed.
"A-line was definitely giving the most balanced look for me, and not too many layers on the bottom as my hips are big enough without adding even more width!
"Wedding dresses are not designed for ladies with any kind of bust.
"Every dress was so disheartening and I thought I was just being an awkward bride."
Simple and elegant
Eventually Kirsty found what she was looking for.
She says: "It was such a simple dress really, but so elegant.
"I loved that it had straps and boning so I felt supported and even went braless on the day.
"I liked that it was a thick fabric so it clung in all the right places.
"I hadn't considered having a belt, but it came with the dress and it added just enough sparkle to glam things up without looking cheap and I actually really liked the way it accentuated my slim waist.
"As soon as I put in on I just knew.
"I turned around to my bridal party and they all just had "that" look on their faces and my husband absolutely loved the dress.
"He hadn't known what to expect but he thought it was exactly my style, which is funny because it wasn't what I was looking for to begin with!"
Sizing it up
While the dress she ended up buying was a size 12, Kirsty had initially been trying on size 18 dresses, as they were the only ones that would fit over her chest.
Kirsty says: "I thought I was going to have to get alterations done, as I was sizing up several times over to get them to fasten over my bust and the rest of the dress was like a sack."
"However, this dress fit like a glove everywhere except my bust.
"Luckily it was just a couple of centimetres needed and the shop owner and daughter were extremely skilled dressmakers who were able to let it out enough to fit."
For other brides having similar issues Kirsty recommends: "Get a dress with decent built in support and don't try strapless.
"To hold your bust in you have to have it fastened so tight you bulge out in all the wrong places!!
"Not flattering for anyone.
"Also, a simple dress without any detailing such as lace or diamantes is much easier to get adjusted if you need to, but if you can find a skilled dressmaker like I did they can work real magic.
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"Don't be swayed by shops trying to fit you into dresses they want to sell and if it isn't right, say no.
"Consider buying a secondhand dress and getting it adjusted if you are on a tight budget."
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