Walking into a bridal shop and finding nothing available in your size to try on has been the reality for many curvy brides. In the past, it’s been pretty commonplace for a plus size bride to settle for a less-than-perfect wedding dress because retailers and designers didn’t make what they really wanted in their size.
Based out of Canada, Halseene is woman-owned and operated. Each item is designed and made in their Vancouver HQ.
Their mission is simple: change the wedding dress shopping experience for curvy brides by creating new standards for the bridal industry.
Although they have plans to, one day, encompass all sizes, Halseene’s first collection is available exclusively in sizes 14-40. This is done with the intention to serve those least represented in the industry.
Based on the size chart, Halseene follows traditional bridal sizing which is 1-2 sizes above ready-to-wear. For example, a Halseene size 26 would be a 22 in a retailer like ELOQUII.
Their items are made-to-order. This allows plus size brides the opportunity to mix and match elements from different dresses and create their own unique style.
The collection features eight styles. The dresses are named after what Halseene calls their “favorite curvy muses.”
From curve-hugging mermaid styles to sexy A-line styles with plunging necklines, there’s nothing subtle or expected in this collection.
There’s no full-length sleeves on any of the dresses. Instead of expected delicate lace, we see sequins, florals, and gold threaded details in the fabric.
With the exception of one style, the necklines show off just the right amount of décolletage. That one high-neck style? It features a peek-a-boo of lace down the entire bust, a high front slit and side lace paneling. It’s truly modern plus size bridal.
The Paloma dress (likely named after model Paloma Elsesser) is a mermaid-style gown. This plus size wedding dress takes color-blocking to a whole new level. The top half of the dress features a fitted cream crepe bodice while the bottom half graces the floor with a dramatic gold sequin train.
Julia pays tribute to the past while incorporating modern detail-driven style. It features frilly off-the-shoulder sleeves, a sweetheart neckline complete with a lift for the girls, and a lace-up back.
My favorite part is definitely the midriff cut-out that covers the stomach with a sheer panel of lace and lace only. This gives the illusion of a two-piece gown while still providing the structure of a one-piece gown.
An industry game-changer?
As a recent plus size bride, I can say that there’s still a fair amount of fear and stigma still infiltrating the wedding industry. When it comes to dresses, the idea persists that we must all want to cover our arms and hide our curves.
Modern plus size bridal is growing but still a rarity with brands and designers fearing that plus size woman don’t want more trendy and revealing styles.
The truth is that plus size brides want the same options as our straight size counterparts. The Halseene brand’s position echoes my sentiments. They believe that size should not dictate style.
While Halseene is not the only brand creating modern plus size bridal, Halseene is definitely poised to make their mark by doing so.
There’s plenty of room for growth in the wedding industry when it comes to being more inclusive to plus size brides. No RSVP necessary – the more brands willing to break down those barriers of inclusion, the merrier!
Alysse Dalessandro Santiago is a plus size fashion blogger, writer, social influencer, designer, and professional speaker. After graduating with a double-major in Journalism and Gender Studies from Loyola University Chicago, this entrepreneur is best known as the owner/designer for body positive fashion brand and personal style blog Ready to Stare. Her brand has become a haven for those whom fashion has otherwise ignored. It's a space where individual style is celebrated and breaking the rules is encouraged.