By Nola Sarkisian-Miller
11:45 AM EDT, September 26, 2013
Long a vestige of T-shirts and preppy sweaters, the V-neck style is becoming a staple in bridal dresses, adding a sense of classic design and sensuality.
As brides look for strapless alternatives either for novelty or more coverage, V-necks are one option that can work well in a variety of silhouettes from sleeveless to cap-sleeve.
"Brides are looking beyond strapless gowns," says Mariella Perna of Mariella Creations in Rocky Hill, Conn. "The V-neck has made a comeback and brides are also wearing halter necks."
On display for the spring 2014 season during New York International Bridal Week, Monique Lhuillier showcased a long-sleeved lace column dress with a V-shaped neckline. Marchesa's line included a corded lace sleeveless column gown with a plunging neckline and a dainty Chantilly lace gown with delicate straps.
Rivini's designs included a Chantilly lace gown with a plunging V-neck and open back and a spaghetti strap Alencon embroidered tulle dress with a revealing front and a low back. "One reason brides are going to V-necks is so the back can be very plunging and very low," says Perna. "You can only go so low in the back when you have a strapless dress."
"It's a very good look," says Barbie Roberts, the bridal buyer at Julian Gold, a designer and bridal boutique chain based in Texas. "I just got back from market and saw several V-neck styles that caught my eye. It's very pretty when done in lace."
Roberts says she picked up designs from Liancarlo and Amsale. Another fan of the look is Malea Hutt, sales manager of the Little White Dress Bridal Shop in Denver, who picked up Liancarlo's lace mermaid gown with a V-neck the season prior.
"The V-neck has always been a great look for women in everyday wear so it is nice to also see it in bridal," Hutt says. "We hear all the time that brides want a gown with a strap, and the V-neck can be a flattering way for a bride to have straps on her wedding gown."
On the runways, models also paraded both ornate and edgier looks sporting V-necks. Carolina Herrera's collection abounded with the neckline, including romantic styles, such as the wide-strapped ivory silk chiffon gown with lace fluttering at the neckline and a sleeveless mermaid gown embroidered with a rose motif and accented with a tulle overlay. V-neck looks were aplenty in Vera Wang's collection complemented by intimidating elbow-length gloves. The dresses veered from the sleek, like the ivory sleeveless V-neck silk crepe gown, to the Gatsby-esque Chantilly lace sleeveless mermaid gown with a bubble lace T-shirt.
Not all bridal salons are sold on the look. Alexia Joyce, owner of Alexia's Bridal Boutique in Raleigh, N.C., cautions that bigger busted girls may face wardrobe malfunctions when wearing the style.
"I don't think the very plunging looks will work on fuller-chested brides because they may spill out on either side," Joyce says. "But, we can work with couture designers who can raise the V-neck higher if brides pick that style."
Brides should not overdo the accessories on certain V-neck styles, say experts. They suggest keeping jewelry minimal, perhaps drop earrings or a striking long pendant to help show off the neckline and collar bones.
"When straps are beaded, girls don't want to wear too much jewelry," Perna says. "They may choose to have a bare neck and chandelier earrings." If the dress is plain, more ornate jewelry can be used. "Sometimes when the V-neck is very simple, brides will wear the larger, beaded jeweled neck pieces. A thicker, heavier beaded look is also in for necklaces," adds Perna.
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