white pintucked mermaid wedding dress

Pintucks

By creating tucks in the fabric, this fun accent can appear to be monochromatic stripes and add extra dimension to the dress. Because they are such an obvious pattern, find a design where the pintucks are in an area that you want to highlight. Above, this gown's pintucks run the length of the bodice at a diagonal angle, elongating the silhouette (thus making the waist appear smaller). It would be perfect on a petite, hourglass figure.

You can have a similar effect with tiers of fabric like those in the dress below. The skirt's layers also highlight the tucked fabric in the bodice's bustier style.

long white tiered sheath wedding dress with bustier bodice
brocade wedding dress with bow and train

Brocade Fabric

This heavy, floral patterned fabric packs a punch. In the best possible way, this type of fabric provides texture to the dress similar to what rich upholstery fabric can do for draperies. Because of its weight and structure, brocade fabric will make a dress extra voluminous. We love the princess effect it gives the classic wedding dress above, as well as the way it makes the skirt flow below (left).  Remember that because this fabric is sturdier, it doesn't breathe as well. You might want to skip it for a summer wedding.

brocade Amsale wedding dress with deep sweetheart neckline
 
crop top wedding dress with beaded top and silk skirt

Beading

One of the most popular ways to add texture to a wedding dress is through beading. For a more modern effect, use heavy beading to completely cover the bodice, as shown above (right) in this crop top wedding dress. The contrast between the rough beads and the silky skirt puts texture front and center as this dress' central design element. If you want to play it a little more subtle, find a dress with a beaded pattern in the bodice, like this cheerful floral option below.

modern wedding dress with blush pleated skirt and bodice with flowered, beaded embroidery
retro princess wedding dress with wide pleats and bow belt

Pleats

We are completely in love with the pleated skirt wedding dress trend. It effortlessly bridges vintage and modern to create a new classic look. Depending upon the width of the pleat and the fabric of the dress, the designer can create different sorts of texture. Above, this Grace Kelly-worthy dress uses a small bow belt to draw attention to its voluminous pleated skirt. The wide pleats help to give the skirt a belled silhouette, which was perfect for this retro gown.

modern wedding dress with notched lace neckline and pleated nude skirt

By using a gauzy fabric and tiny, loose pleats, you can have a texture that goes well with drop waist wedding dresses. Above, a lace bodice transitions into a nude floor length skirt. The pleats give the otherwise sheath dress more movement and body. This would be a terrific dress for a patio wedding. The pleats would make this skirt look great in a breeze, but the long cut keeps it from being a possible wardrobe malfunction if a gust catches the fabric.

Below, this 1920s inspired dress uses pleats in a sheer overlay that covers the entire dress, from high, gathered collar to its slightly a-lined skirt.  Athletic body types wanting to add curves to their frames will love this chic silhouette and the shape that these thin pleats can create.

drop waist wedding dress with sheer pleated overlay

For a modern wedding dress, look no further than knife pleats. These super tiny and precisely sharp pleats give a traditional silhouette a whole new look and feel with this one-shoulder gown (below).

one shoulder wedding dress with bow at waist and knife pleats

If you want your dress to have maximum volume, pleats and gathers require extra fabric. Below, this dramatic ballerina skirt is made from yards and yards of gathered organza.

backless wedding dress with plated blush skirt
mermaid wedding dress with tattered skirt and train

Textured Skirts

Whether tattered and angular (above) or filled with soft rosettes (below), these textured skirts have completely re-invented the mermaid wedding dress. There is so much playful drama with these dresses, that you probably want to avoid over-accessorizing. Big hair, big earrings, and a fluffy topper with this dress might make you resemble a cupcake, rather than the sophisticated bride you want to be.  Instead, keep to one statement accessory and sleek makeup to pull off this bold texture with aplomb!

sheath wedding dress with tattered rosette skirt and illusion neckline
 
antique lace wedding dress overlay with simple shift

Heavy Lace

Many wedding dresses have lace overlays that create subtle texture, but for those who want a lacy dress with a lot of impact, look for ones that play with the lace's pattern and add elements of embroidery or color. Above, this two-toned dress uses antique lace from the illusion neckline to the gathers just above the knee.

Below, gray and silver embroidery is used throughout this large-scale lace pattern.  Also notice the lace trims around the collar and cuffs, giving this sheer overlay a dose of vintage.

romantic embroidered lace wedding dress with long sleeeves

Below, this lace gown's interesting silhouette comes from combining tiers of fabric with a roughly textured lace.

layered lace wedding dress with halter neckline

Credits:  Alyne   |   Amanda Wakeley   |   Rosa Clara   |   Amsale   |   Sarah Seven   |   Needle & Thread   |   Pronovias   |   Anya Fleet   |   Rosa Clara   |   Blumarine   |   Krikor Jabotian   |   Lovelle   |   Monique Lhuillier   |   Notte by Marchesa   |   Claire Pettibone   |   Rivini