Picking just the right dress for the most important event of your life can be extremely complicated. You must be truly aware of the aspects that will make your choice for you: size, shape, skin tone, hair color, length, and of course, your own personal style.

I’ve spent the last few weeks looking at the spring lines offered by popular wedding designers, and have made the following observations:

The biggest trend this year is softness. Softness of line, fabric, color and those

3-D elements that personalize your wedding dress.

All shapes seem to be represented by most designers; the trumpet shape, the Cinderella silhouette, classic A-lines, empire waist lines, some Grecian one shoulder styles and ruffled summer halters.

All the lines seem to be less rigid, not as boldly defined as in seasons past. This step toward softness has really imparted elements of romance and class.

Fabrics are varied as usual, but there’s huge emphasis on organza and chiffon.

Those huge brooches of paste stones have morphed into subtle embroidery. Delicate pearls, crystals, beads and sequins now add touches of bling to bodices and mostly the tops of the skirts.

The strongest contenders this year are no surprise. Vera Wang, Monique Lhullier,

Amsale, Maggie Sotero, Mori Lee, and a lovely collection from such classic designers as Carolina Herrera. Badley Mishka, in my opinion, has missed the boat this year with tons of layers, asymmetrical everything, and lots of side bustles that I don’t understand at all. 

I’m feeling that there is a trend toward ‘holding your breath’ where designers are concerned. I believe the upcoming royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton is going to have a huge impact, and no one wants to make a strong statement until they figure which way the wind is blowing as a result of the soon-to-be Princess of Wales’ choices. There is not a designer or design house who wants to be adverse to the royal choices. Those embracing it in some variation will be considered fresh and up-to-the-minute.

Those 3-D elements of 2010—huge brooches, fabric flowers, appliqués—may come back quickly if the future princess personalizes her gown as Sarah Ferguson did, with Andrew’s initial, an anchor as a nod to his naval service, and those four elements that represent the United Kingdom: the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the leeks of Wales and the shamrock of Ireland.

    I remember being enchanted by the short sleeved wedding dress worn by Caroline Kennedy. The top was covered with embroidered shamrocks as an acknowledgement to her Irish heritage.

    Most interestingly, I have noticed some designers considering the skin tones of brides. This means that gowns will have blush tones of pink, peach and beiges in their fabrics, along with all shades of white and ivory, to flatter the skin tones of the wearer.

    I’ve found that the white-white I call ‘refrigerator white’ can only look best on women of color. Most of us with European backgrounds would probably be best to avoid full-on white.

     As in all things, the true ace—the thing that trumps any trend—is the motto, To thine own self be true. I applaud anyone who would ignore fashion morés and choose what best pleases her.

    On that note, I’d like to invite you to email me with your questions. I will personally answer anything regarding wedding details, etiquette and other wedding-related concerns. If I get enough on one subject, we’ll make it the topic of a future column. Email me at jks26@aol.com. Happy Spring!   LN