As a wedding dress designer…
…I’m a huge fan of tea-length wedding dresses. Why? I’ll tell you; Just the thought of them makes me smile. To me, they shout “I’m gonna have all the fun!” Don’t let the fusty-sounding term fool you.
A shorter dress can be a playful and practical option, suggesting freedom of movement and a carefree spirit. It can gently define the waistline, or cinch it in tightly for added drama…and oh… how those corseted versions accentuate your curves! They augment the feminine fun. But you’re still free to enjoy your wedding – the bodice needn’t be rib-crushing, just well-structured, to expertly sculpt the shape and correctly complement the proportions dictated by the shorter length…
You get to sashay coquettishly down the aisle, delighting in the role it implies and infusing your guests with your inner confidence and joy.
This alternative bridalwear option lends itself to a variety of different looks – cool and elegant vintage 50s (I always think of Grace Kelly in High Society), rockabilly-inspired swing dresses, ruffled prom and ballerina-style, to name but a few. Many an alternative bride has commissioned a tea-length gown to reflect her individual style – how about wearing it with statement DMs and layers of brightly-coloured tulle?”
The tea-length style harks back to the 1950s, offering the swish of a voluminous ballgown, but in a more manageable length for moving and dancing. The hemline term traditionally referred to that point at the top of the ankle, but, over the years, has come to encompass any length between there and the knee. Between this ample range, there is bound to be a length to suit your proportions. For me, it’s just below the knee, where my legs are at a narrow point.
Unable to commit to a length? Why not consider a mullet dress (how I love that expression and intend to use it as much as possible)? As with the haircut, the dress version is also shorter at the front and longer at the back, but far more appealing!
Who does it suit?
It suits the bride who likes to break with traditions. She has confidence in her own style and visions for her day.
Maybe she has fantastic legs or fabulous shoes to show off? Perhaps it’s not her first wedding, so she wants less of a “princess” statement? It would appeal to the bride who plans to elope or have a destination wedding, therefore prefers something lighter, that would travel more easily. It is a serious consideration for the girl who just has that cheeky/quirky side to her personality, wants to be able to move and dance freely on her big day – this retro gem is the solution.
Which celebrities rocked the tea-length on their big day? Super-cool Fearne Cotton went for an ankle-grazing Pucci number back in 2014, Kiera Knightley has commendably worn her short Chanel wedding dress out on a few red carpet occasions, cleverly styling it differently each time. Sustainable fashion at its finest! But most notably, the tea-length wedding dress can proudly boast none other than the high priestess of sophisticated chic as a fan; Audrey Hepburn. I think that says it all!
If you’re a bride, who is currently overwhelmed with the choice of wedding dress silhouettes, I encourage you to just try on a short, swishy full-petticoated style. I dare you not to smile!