Anatomy of a Wedding Gown: Colors and Fabrics

For most brides, Pinterest has become wedding planning central, and as you begin to put together boards (or maybe sort through some you already had) you may start to notice that wedding gowns have transformed into much more than the white and ivory lace and satin they once were. From dip-dyeing to dusty rose, wedding gowns are sporting pops of color and stunning fabric combinations. When looking into purchasing a dress, or especially when having one made for your big day, it's important to be in on the designer lingo. For instance, do you know the difference between Chiffon and Organza? Or white ivory and dark ivory? With so many choices for color and fabric, we thought a guide might just come in handy!

We'll start your visual guide to wedding gown fabrics and colors with an overview of the different types of fabrics from silk to satin. There are certainly more fabrics used in bringing a gown to life than those listed below, however, these are the most widely used and many other fabrics are varietals of these primary options. In part II of your visual guide we'll cover the subtle differences in colors and some of the hottest color trends of 2017 so be on the look out in the coming weeks! 

Satin is a true classic. A smooth and shiny, though heavy, fabric Satin adds support and structure to a gown. In addition to color options with this fabric you also have a choice between Silk Satin and Poly-Satin (which is made with synthetic fibers vs. the natural fibers of Silk Satin). Many people hear Silk and think it's one fabric when really it's more of a category of fabrics in itself. For example, just as you can get Silk Satin or Poly-Satin you can also have Silk Charmeuse, and Silk Chiffon. 

Charmeuse is a slinky, silky fabric which is excellent for draping - the perfect choice for a sheath gown. Poly-Charmeuse is slightly shinier and not quite as delicate to the touch as Silk Charmeuse, though it is also the less expensive option if you want the look of Silk Charmeuse but not the price tag. 


Chiffon is such a fun fabric to play with, a light and sheer fabric which is perfect for layering to create a dreamy and romantic gown. Silk Chiffon has more shine and a creamier texture than Poly-Chiffon though both are excellent choices for layering and flowing gowns. 


If you're looking for a gown with the traditional crinkle and swoosh sound you think of when you think of a formal dress then you'll want to be sure to check out some Taffeta swatches. Taffeta is a rustling fabric with a beautiful light catching texture, great for a number of wedding gown styles this fabric is also frequently used for bridesmaids gowns. 


Swiss Dot is another of our favorites, this delicate light weight fabric is also sometimes referred to as Point d' Espirit and is a soft lace with a small oval or square dot pattern scattered throughout. This is a perfect option for an illusion neckline and also makes for beautiful sleeves. 


No discussion of wedding gown material would be complete without talking about Organza, this versatile fabric is a crisp and nearly translucent option for brides who want a dreamy ethereal look. While Organza does have the drawback of wrinkling easily, it offers a similar dreamy look with more structure than Chiffon.


Crepe is a soft and thin fabric which is excellent for draping. A gorgeous silhouette can be achieved with this fabric though beware, it can be exceptionally clingy!


Netting or Tulle is used primarily for skirts and adding volume as well as for veils. This is the fabric you think of when you see a ballerina. Tulle offers a lightweight option which comes in different styles and can be made from silk, rayon or polyester. 

Velvet is an excellent option for winter weddings, especially for accessories like cape-lets or boleros. A soft and thick fabric Velvet has a plain underside with a felted face. A beautiful choice though heavy and certainly not something you would opt for if you're planning a July wedding!

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