Backless dresses are loved by celebrities and fashion-forward brides: in 2015, they became a much-loved statement at summer weddings - and they are set to be even more popular in 2016 as the latest styles offer even more grace and flexibility.
If you’re wondering how to wear a backless wedding dress, check out our tips and advice – plus a selection of the very latest backless wedding dress designs to inspire you.
PIctured left - Essense of Australia Style D1877, pictured right - Tia by Benjamin Roberts Style 5502
Can any bride wear a backless dress?
Like any wedding dress style, the only way to know for sure is to try a few backless designs on. Make sure you take a friend - and a camera if your bridalwear store allows - and ask them to shoot the back straight, as well as from a few angles. Mirrors can distort the way your dress looks from behind, and you won’t be able to get a clear and true impression of the design by craning your neck!
Generally speaking, if you are toned, slender or tall, a backless dress will look fabulous. If you want to prepare your back perfectly for a backless dress, there are specific strengthening and toning exercises you can do – but it pays to be careful and to visit your local gym for advice, or hire a personal trainer. Remember that toning up usually means taking part in a full body workout – and if you are happy to show your back, but not your arms, search for a backless wedding dress design with sleeves (or have one made).
What kinds of backless wedding dresses can I choose from?
There are so many styles! You could go for a simple, body-hugging design with spaghetti straps, cut right down to the small of your back (leaving little to the imagination), or a much more subtle design with a halter neck, scooped back or cowl detailing at the drop. A criss-cross design – in lace or beading – adds interest and low buttons that curve across your derriere are very sexy.
Lace looks particularly wonderful on a backless design, but heavy beading also makes a backless dress super-stylish. Sleeves, or draped fabric from the shoulders, looks utterly elegant, and a fishtail or flared skirt really heaps on the drama.
If you want to wear a backless dress, but you’re worried about being supported properly, consider a little cheat: there are dresses with cutouts, sheer panelling and clever strings of beads that give the effect of a backless dress with that little bit of extra support.
Pictured left - Stella York Style 5984, pictured right - Alfred Angelo Style 8528
What bra can I wear with a backless dress?
Backless designs don’t work with traditional bras, so you’ll need to invest in a special design when picking your bridal lingere – but as it’s advisable to buy a new bra to go with any wedding dress, it should be in your budget.
You could choose a convertible bra with a low, criss-cross back, depending on how low your dress goes, and stick-on bras work particularly well with halter necks if they tie around the neck. A strapless stick-on bra won’t do much in the way of support, but it will give you some shape and is a good choice for a bride with a modest bust: look for a design made with a thin, lightweight material so it won’t make your boobs look droopy. If you’re a C-cup or smaller, fashion tape - or shaped patches - can help to hold the dress in place and to give you some security, or you could ask your dressmaker to sew bra cups into the dress – a great solution if you want to feel supported and secure.
Of course, if you are toned and confident – and not too well-endowed – you could opt to wear your backless dress without a bra: just make sure you feel comfortable and that it looks good from the front.
Whatever lingerie you choose, try it with the dress and move around to make sure it doesn’t expose your underwear when you walk, sit or stand, you might even want to invest in some wedding shapewear.
Pictured left - Johanna Hehir Style Delilah, pictured right - Ellie Lowe Style 10
How should I accessorise a backless dress?
The obvious answer is: with a tan! Because a backless dress shows off so much flesh, adding a little colour to warm your skin is a great idea. If you already have a darker skin tone you have a head start – just make sure that your back is well moisturised in the run-up to the wedding (a fabulous job to give your groom – although you might not want to tell him why he’s doing it!)
If you’ve chosen a backless gown, finish the look by making statements to the rear: choose a hairstyle with an intricate plait or roll at the back, and pick a pin, comb or flower that complements the dress to wear at the back of your hair. Another fabulous accessory is the “back necklace”: if you are wearing a backless dress, why not make the most of it with a piece of stunning jewellery that is meant to be seen from behind?
Start browsing our backless wedding dress pages and find a gown that is perfect for you.