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How Wedding Dress Shopping Can Teach Body Positivity

Buying the Most Important Dress of My Life Is What Finally Taught Me to Love My Body

I've never really been what you'd call voluptuous. In fact, Mother Nature dished me out what can only be described as a pair of really quite small breasts. It makes sleeping on your front a whole lot more comfy, I'm sure, but when it comes to packing a punch in a glamorous dress, I'd never really felt up to the occasion. If I was going to a gala, I'd keep it kooky and walk away from anything that required a B cup or more to make it sing. Until I bought my wedding dress.

When I walked into that shop to buy the dress of my dreams, I was so sure I wasn't coming out with anything that showed my cleavage. Well, when I say cleavage, what I meant at the time was a rather brief bulge that gave way to a prominent chest bone. That's how I saw myself and it wasn't going on display. I walked in thinking slightly off-beat Victorian or maybe lace to the neck à la Grace Kelly, but I didn't go in believing low cut is so me. And then I tried on the first dress that caught my eye and everything changed.

It was cream, it had a boned bodice, it had a gorgeous slim skirt that flared out from the nipped-in waist, it had a mini train (I had always wanted a mini train), it had buttons down the back (another on the must-have list), and it had a very low front. That bodice had no sleeves attached to it and it climbed elegantly into two thin straps that left far more of my cleavage out there than I had ever even contemplated. And I loved it.

I tried on others, but they were just making up the numbers (although I will always treasure the fact I got to jump off a chair into a huge Cinderella dress, which took two people at least 10 minutes to do up). That first dress had won my heart and changed the way I looked at myself. Because while those breasts might not have been bouncing around in their oh-so-neat new home, they looked pretty darn good even if I do say so myself. My dream dress showed me just how well I could look when I embraced a style I thought I could never manage. And it changed the way I bought clothes.

After that, I didn't just walk away from a dress or top that took the plunge. I tried it. Some worked, some didn't, but I started to look at myself in a different way. Looking back at photos of me in the Summer after my wedding, at the Christmas parties that followed, I can see necklines just like my wedding dress creeping into my wardrobe. My body hadn't changed, but my relationship with it had. And for the better.

Buying your wedding dress is always going to be a special occasion. You'll never have so many people be so nice to you in a shop, you'll never feel as much like a princess, you'll never stand in a changing room and smell so much money in the air as you do that day. But what I also learned from buying my wedding dress is that sometimes you just don't know how much confidence you should have about your body until you try something new. I have Victorian blouses, I've got an all-lace dress à la Grace Kelly, but I've also got a new love of Mother Nature's gift to me. And all thanks to that gorgeous, glitzy gown.

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