Bodice

Don’t be put off by the word "bodice", it’s just the upper segment of the dress that fits around the bust and waist.

For any debutante dress, there are essentially two parts: the skirt and the bodice. The skirt is generally flowing and no precise measurements are needed. The bodice, however, is another story. The shape and fit of the debutante dress bodice makes a huge visual impact on the overall appearance of the dress. Make sure that you understand the different fits and cuts of bodices so you can pick one that really flatters.

Here’s rough guide to some of the most common bodice styles.

corset

1. Corset

ruching

2. Ruching

insert

3. Insert

1. Corset

A tight boned bodice that’s really figure-hugging and great at enhancing your waist and bust. It laces up at the back and ties with a bow at the waistline, that can be a beautiful detail in itself. The corset is a very stunning and dramatic choice for a debutante gown.

2. Ruching

Ruching is cute, flirty detail where fabric is bunched together to create horizontal lines across the bodice. It can cover the whole bodice or just part of it.

Slim brides can use ruching to emphasize their figures or fill them out. Ruching is great for hiding a few extra pounds in the midsection, but not an ideal choice for plus-sized brides.

3. Insert

An insert is basically just a piece of material that sits in a deep V in the neckline, although it can be put in to side panels too. The fabric of the insert is usually a contrasting color or texture to the main bodice, but not always.

crumbcatcher

4. Crumb catcher

boning

5. Boning

overlay

6. Overlay

4. Crumb catcher

A visually dynamic neckline with a ruffled or scalloped fabric ridge at the top of the bust. The fabric can match the dress or be completely contrasting.

Crumb catcher draws attention to the face and visually “round outs” the bust line of the chronically flat-chested bride.

5. Boning

Boning is a traditional style of bodice this has vertical supports made of either plastic or metal to support and give a rigid shape to the dress bodice. Boning makes the bodice structured and fitted. A debutante gown with boning gives a very regal and Victorian feel, and is often seen in corsets and strapless dresses.

6. Overlay

The bodice is covered in a piece of sheer fabric. This is a lovely effect that adds a touch of simple elegance.

Overlay is great for vintage 1920s-style dresses and lends itself beautifully to modest debutante dresses of any style.