You. Guys. You guys, you guys, you guys. Every once in a while, APW lets me fulfill my wildest dreams, and today is one of those days.
As you may know, for the last decade I’ve waffled between straight and plus sizes, spending the majority of my time in plus. If there’s a benefit to living on this particular cusp, it’s that I’m abundantly aware of how much the options change (read: get shittier) when you cross that line. I can’t count how many times I’ve checked the box for size sixteen and watched as the options dwindled from hundreds to dozens with my face like this:
And that’s not even touching on designer clothing, where the sizes usually top out at 10. (It’s getting better, for sure, but I’m still waiting until all clothing is just… size inclusive.) But if it’s frustrating in everyday fashion, it’s much, much, much worse in bridal.
There’s a lot of work that APW does behind the scenes to make sure we are fostering a diverse and inclusive space online. And if I have a personal mission within that agenda, it’s definitely around fat acceptance. Because while mainstream wedding culture has finally (sort of) caught on that love is, in fact, love, and that weddings are #notallwhitepeople, we’re still generally okay pretending that fat people don’t get married. Or if they do, they don’t deserve to be seen. And that is especially evident in wedding dress fashion.
While wedding dress designers have taken steps to make wedding dresses somewhat more size inclusive, it’s often a bullshit effort. Typically they simply upsize a straight size gown, which means that the designs don’t take shape or support into consideration. Then, like all fashion, those dresses are modeled on a size zero model, giving you literally no idea of what the dress might look like on you, a plus size human with boobs and hips. And if they do bother to get a “plus size” model, it’s probably a curvy size 12, still giving you roughly no clues as to what the dress might look like on your damn body. Then, what’s that you say? You want to try on the dress before you drop more money on it than you’ve ever spent on a dress before? GOOD LUCK. Most salons don’t carry plus size dress samples, and even if they do, there is a fifty-fifty chance that you’re going to get stuck with a sales person whose internalized fatphobia shows on their face the second you walk in the door. It. Sucks.
For years, I’ve wanted the wedding industry to do better. To treat plus size women like, I dunno, humans. And today I am thrilled to announce that we are a launching a new partnership which aims to do just that. This fall, we are collaborating with longtime APW sponsor Lace & Liberty to launch a plus size wedding dress capsule collection. And Meg and I basically feel like this about it:
Lace & Liberty have always served plus size customers with their made-to-measure dresses, but this is their first time creating a collection specifically for plus size women. Right now we’re in the early stages of the design process, so we only have process photos and pretty lace to show you at the moment (though there will be real-life actual samples coming soon, and we promise they will be good). But the reason I’m telling you about this now, and not four months from now, is that we want you to be part of the process. Our goal is to create a line of plus size wedding dresses that isn’t just a standard wedding dress upsized to look good on a size twelve model. We want to create a collection that really listens to what plus size women want and need, and then delivers. And by plus size, we mean all kinds of plus sized women, not just the smallest ones, and not just hourglass figures. But what I can tell you so far is that dresses will start at a size 10 (so we can include as many curvy women as possible), and since everything will be made to measure, there is no upper size limitation (I mean, technically, since all Lace & Liberty’s dresses are made to measure, you could still order from the collection if you’re a smaller size. But they’re being designed, patterned, and sampled for sizes 10 and up.) Made to measure also means that the dresses are seen based on your specific measurements. So while you probably won’t avoid alterations altogether, you should be able to avoid the kind where you have to buy a dress two sizes too big to accommodate your hips and then spend a ton of money having the bust taken in.
And y’all, we’ve worked with Lace & Liberty on some of the initial sketches, and hot DAMN you are going to be excited. So here’s what we all have to look forward to.
Tell me what you want, what you really, really want
The amazing ladies behind Lace & Liberty (Danielle and Annie) have spent the last few months patterning out designs that start with plus size women in mind. Things like invisible support structures that are also comfortable! Boobs! Dresses that don’t equate plus size with frumpiness! Flaunting what you got, and coverage where you might want it. Sleeves! But only the kind that don’t dig into your armpits!
But we don’t want to create this collection in a vacuum. We want as many voices contributing to the creation of this collection as possible. (Because my needs aren’t necessarily your needs aren’t someone else’s needs.) And there are two ways you can do that. The first is by filling out our survey. If you have shopped for a plus size wedding dress, or are currently shopping for a plus size wedding dress, we want to know what you thought about the process and how you’d like to see the shopping experience and the dresses improved. (Whether you’re already married or currently engaged, we want your feedback.) You can fill out the survey by clicking here, or you can fill it out directly below:
And then if you’re really into working with us on the collection, we hereby formally invite you to join our bridal panel (just click the box in the survey that opts into the bridal panel). Our bridal panel will serve as our inner circle of confidantes while we work on the collection. You’ll get to give feedback on our work in progress and help us figure out how to make the most bomb-ass collection possible.
But if you don’t have quite enough opinions to commit to a bridal panel and are still excited about this collaboration, we’ll also be giving regular updates on the collection in both Happy Hour and on Instagram over the summer, plus giving you a behind the scenes peek at the design process with Lace & Liberty in our Instagram stories (they’re currently pinned to the top of our feed). We’ll be sharing everything from lace samples to sleeve designs, and asking you to vote on them or just give us your feedback. On top of which…
If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends
We knew that if we were going to roll out a collection of wedding dresses, it wasn’t enough to create designs and hope for the best. So in addition to creating our capsule collection, Lace & Liberty will be working with Meg’s BFF Gina on a custom dress for her wedding. (You may recognize Gina from that time we made her a bunch of bananas gifts. Meg’s in her wedding later this year.) But to flesh out the research process, Lace & Liberty isn’t just making her a dress and getting it done with. Nope. They’re making her three sample dresses, and collecting all sorts of real-time insights on what works and what doesn’t. Then they’ll roll all of that information into one killer dress… and a whole collection that everyone can buy. Gina will be giving us updates on her dress shopping experience throughout the summer (stay tuned for an introduction next week!) and helping us work out any kinks that come up in the design process. We flew Gina up to San Francisco last week for an initial look at her sketches. Her inspiration included this image from Legend, so suffice to say, it’s going to be good.
Here’s looking at you, sparkle pants
Wedding dress shopping can be such a nightmare, but everything we’ve experienced working with Danielle and Annie at Lace & Liberty so far has been the complete opposite of that. Plus I’ve heard rumors there might be a cape in the collection. And sparkly pants. And some of the coolest lace you’ve ever seen. And I’m not sure what else because after cape and sparkly pants I blacked out from excitement. So stay tuned. We’ll have more information about the collection throughout the summer (including where you can get it). But in the meantime, we are so excited to have you along for the ride on this process. And more importantly, we are so excited for how fine y’all are gonna look next year.