Finding your wedding dress is never easy, but the process can be particularly grueling for plus size brides. Since starting your dress search (and almost certainly before that, too), you’ve likely heard more than your fair share of bogus fashion rules about what cuts and styles you’re “allowed” to put on your body. You’ve had to dive to the depths of product listings to find models who look like you. All in all, you’re probably more hyper-aware of your body when wedding dress shopping than almost any other time in your life.
If you’re hoping to incorporate Chinese traditions as part of your bridal look, things can seem even more daunting. A traditional wedding qipao has a straight sheath silhouette that fits tight to the body, which not everyone feels confident in. To some retailers, the term “plus size cheongsam” may as well not even exist.
At East Meets Dress, we believe that every bride deserves to embrace her or her partner’s culture at her wedding and to feel gorgeous doing it. This might mean incorporating traditional touches into modern silhouettes, or it might mean exploring lesser-known wedding outfits that look wonderful on curvy brides.
In this article, we’ve curated modern Chinese wedding dress ideas that complement a diverse array of plus size bodies and address a wide variety of fashion concerns — because we all know there’s no one way to be plus size!
FOR EXTRA SUPPORT UP TOP
If you’re a bride who is extra blessed in the chest department and loves feeling supported, wearing a bra on your big day can be non-negotiable. Luckily, many aspects of the traditional qipao work great for brides who count their bra among their closest friends. The covered shoulders mean no straps are left exposed, and the rich brocade fabric is not only beautiful, but also thick enough to smooth out bra lines and ensure you won’t have anything visible through your dress like you might with thinner fabrics.
If you’re feeling daring, consider showing off your best assets by incorporating a keyhole cutout or deep v-neckline to your dress. It’s a fun way to show your personality and really make the dress your own.
FOR TUMMY COVERAGE
Listen, your tummy is a part of you. It holds important organs like your intestines and your kidneys — and your stomach, which is the reason you’ll be able to eat all those delicious wedding foods. So while we think everyone should treat their tummy with gratitude and kindness, we understand if you’d prefer to keep the focus off of it for your wedding day.
A great way to accomplish this is by choosing a dress with an A-line or ball gown silhouette, a romantic, floaty look that completely camouflages the midsection. You can stay traditional up top with a mandarin collar and pankou knot closure, then feel like a princess as you make your grand entrance down the aisle and swirl across the floor during your first dance.
TO ACCENTUATE YOUR HIPS
Let’s face it: tons of plus size women have absolutely rockin’ hips and booties. If you’re working with a gorgeous pear or hourglass shape and want to flaunt it on your wedding day, consider a mermaid cut, one of the most flattering choices of wedding cheongsam for curvy brides.
You may have heard as a plus size woman that figure-hugging dresses aren’t suitable for you, but we wholeheartedly disagree. It’s the body you have, and you should embrace it. If you need a reminder of how sexy you are, we recommend asking your partner.
That being said, if you would feel most confident wearing shapewear under your mermaid cheongsam, remember that a traditional brocade fabric is a great choice due to its thickness, which has a general smoothing effect and leaves absolutely no worries about lines showing through.
FOR PETITE CURVY BRIDES
If you’re in search of a petite plus size wedding qipao, in addition to the tips above, consider opting for a knee-length dress to elongate the legs. This also lets you draw attention to some statement heels you can match with your gown.
Arms are a point of insecurity for many plus size women, and underarm chafing is no fun regardless of your confidence level. Here are three great options for arm coverage and comfort.
This regal two-piece set is a traditional Chinese wedding gown that offers a very different look from the qipao. The looser fit and better freedom of movement make it a great pick for plus size brides, especially if you’re looking for a tea ceremony dress that lets you kneel and bend over without hassle.
Consider layering a silk cape over your dress for part of your big day. This ethereal statement option transforms your look as you move from ceremony to reception and makes for a breathtaking walk down the aisle.
You can opt to add sleeves to any of our bespoke wedding qipaos, or design a custom wedding gown with the help of our experienced team. A full or three-quarters sleeve tucks away arm and underarm fat while maintaining an elegant and traditional look.
We hope these tips got you excited about finding a Chinese wedding dress that embraces your plus size body. Remember that at the end of the day, your dress is about you, and you should wear whatever makes you feel like a bride. When you customize a bespoke dress or design from the ground up, you have the freedom to incorporate whatever elements appeal to you, traditional or otherwise. That’s what puts the “modern” in modern wedding cheongsam, and keeping the best of both worlds is what being Asian American is all about.
More to Love:
- Chinese Wedding Gift Traditions and Modern Gift Ideas
- How to Style Your Hair and Makeup to Match Your Wedding Cheongsam
- 8 Chinese Door Games to Play at Your Chinese Wedding
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