Body Positivity in The Bridal World
At Revelle, we strive to make your wedding dress shopping experience as fun, easy-going, and enjoyable as possible, with our ultimate goal being to help you find a dress that makes you feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful inside and out. Although we always want this to be the experience our clients have, we understand that dress shopping can be very stressful, and the pressure that our clients face when searching for a gown can be damaging. One of the primary pressures that we hear our brides struggling with is remaining body positive throughout the dress shopping and wedding planning process, and we completely understand the challenges that are posed during this time. The focus of this blog will be to increase your faith in us and our ability to help you remain body positive, provide you with some steps you can take to help yourself during this time, and to discuss overall strategies that we can all participate in, independent of wedding season, to counteract negative body image messaging.
What We Can Do
Our Commitment to fostering a body-positive space
To begin, we want to answer the following question: What do we do at Revelle to create and maintain body positivity in our environment?
1. Active Listening
Within our team and with our clients
A foundational part of maintaining a body positive environment is to listen, not only to our brides, but to one another. The best way to learn is to actively listen to how others are feeling and the pressures they are struggling with, however, it can be challenging to foster enough trust with our clients right away to have them open up to us about what they are struggling with. This is why we listen to each other’s feelings and needs, because we can learn a lot about the struggles women face with their body image, in general. Supporting one another on our good and bad days, and uplifting each other, especially when we are feeling insecure, is just one of the ways that we maintain body positivity at Revelle.
2. Expanding our Size Range
Another step that we have taken to maintain body positivity in our shop is to continue to expand our size range within our collection. As a small business, we cannot stock every size of every dress, however, we try to invest in multiple sizes of our most popular gowns and ensure that we are inclusive in the size ranges we offer.
Check out our Designer pages to find out our sample sizing in store, and the available made-to-order sizing from each designer
3. Accommodating You
when we don't carry your size
In addition to stocking an inclusive size range, each of our staff members have an expansive knowledge of different techniques we can use to help our clients see what a dress will look like when it is ordered in their size, provided that we do not carry that dress in their size in the shop.
4. Body Positivity Training
For all staff
All of our staff members also undergo training regarding body positive language and how we can help our brides maintain body positivity throughout their consultation. If any of our clients’ guests make comments that make them feel uncomfortable, we will check in with the client one-on-one to make sure they want to proceed with the consultation and to let them know we are here if they need someone to talk to.
We will always discuss measurements and sizing with our clients in a private location to ensure that their guests are not part of that conversation and that if they have any sizing concerns we will listen to them thoroughly and work with them to come up with the best possible solution.
What Our Clients Can Do
1. Communicating Boudaries
Our first piece of advice to maintain body positivity while dress shopping is to be honest with your bridal consultant about your needs and boundaries so that we can help you help yourself. If you are able to let us know at the beginning of your consultation what you are comfortable trying on and what you are not, we can use that as a guideline throughout the consultation. We will do everything we can to build a trusting relationship with you from the start, however, if you do feel nervous ahead of your consultation, you can book a pre-consultation to discuss your concerns with a Revelle staff member and get the reassurance and information you need to help you feel comfortable when you come in.
2. Disengage with Sizing, Engage with How You Feel!
Our second piece of advice is one that we recognize can be very challenging but can truly really help maintain body positivity while dress shopping. This advice is to disengage from the size of the gown that we are ordering for you. Bridal sizing is not only completely different from street sizing, but it also varies drastically by designer. If you can, try to lean into how you feel in the dress and how beautiful you look, rather than the size of the gown.
3. On Weight Loss, Mental Health, and How We Can Help
Our final piece of advice is that when you are discussing size with your stylist, trust the sizing they are providing you with and purchase the gown in the size they are measuring you in when you say yes.
While we understand that some brides feel a desire to change their body for their wedding day, we strongly encourage you to try to avoid putting excessive pressure on yourself and order the gown based on how it fits you when you purchase it. If you are concerned about the dress not fitting you properly when it comes in, let your stylist know and they will give you information about what kinds of alterations can be done to rectify the fit of the gown when it comes in.
If you are in a position where you are expecting significant physical changes to occur, be as open as possible with your stylist so that we can advise the best way to proceed.
If you are struggling with mental health issues in regards to your relationship with your body and the notion that you must purchase your gown 10-12 months prior to your wedding is overwhelming and potentially damaging for you, research bridal shops in your area that carry a decent selection of off-the-rack gowns. Purchasing a gown off-the-rack means that you can hold off until 3-4 months prior to your wedding to choose your gown. Although this could mean that you have to travel a bit further to find exactly what you are looking for, it is crucial that you prioritize your mental health during this time.
Strategies For The Day-To-Day
In addition to the strategies that we use to promote body positivity, as well as the strategies that you can use during your dress shopping journey, we also want to provide you with some strategies that you can carry into your daily life to counteract negative body image messaging.
1. A Healthy Lifestyle for YOU
Engaging in a healthy lifestyle without over-emphasis or oversharing is a great way to counteract negative body image messaging. Your lifestyle is pertinent to you and only you, so while it is great for you to engage in healthy habits, discussing these habits excessively can be triggering to others, so let your behaviour speak for itself.
2. Practice Coping Mechanisms
Practice positive coping mechanisms to handle stress and conflict, such as, deep breathing, walks outdoors, listening to music and journaling. Using these coping strategies can help you practice positive self-talk, which can be very useful during challenging times.
3. Complimenting Non-Physical Traits
Help others develop their self-esteem based on non-physical traits. For example, provide them with a compliment that speaks to who they are as a person and their accomplishments rather than complimenting them based on their appearance.
If you find yourself in a situation where someone is making hurtful or insensitive comments and jokes around you, use it as an opportunity to explain how those comments can be more harmful than they may realize.
3. Think Critically
Use your critical thinking skills and question information that is presented to you through advertising and social media and use that knowledge to help inform your decisions about what businesses you choose to support.
We hope that the information we have provided in this blog will help you feel more comfortable and confident going into the dress shopping process.
If you are struggling with your body image and are finding it challenging to maintain your mental health, below is a list of resources that you can reach out to to seek help:
- National Eating Disorder Information Centre:
- Canadian Mental Health Association:
- Understanding and Finding Help for Eating Disorders: https://ontario.cmha.ca/documents/understanding-and-finding-help-for-eating-disorders/
- Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Mental Health: https://cmha.bc.ca/documents/body-image-self-esteem-and-mental-health/
- Ontario Community Outreach Program for Eating Disorders: http://www.ocoped.ca/
- University of Waterloo:
- Body Image Resources: https://uwaterloo.ca/compass-system/body-image-resources
- Women’s Health Clinic:
- Eating Disorder Resources https://womenshealthclinic.org/what-we-do/pedprp/online-resources/