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The low-down on wedding dress whites

Wedding dress whites
There’s no colour more synonymous with wedding dresses than white – and we can thank Queen Victoria for that one.
When Victoria wore a white gown for her nuptials to Albert back in the 1800s, women everywhere followed suit, and it’s a trend that’s really proved its staying power. Walk into any bridal boutique and you’re sure to see wall-to-wall white, but picking the white that’s right for you isn’t as easy as going eeny, meeny, miny, moe. There are more than 200 shades of white – yep, that’s right, 200 – and (like every other colour, ever) some look better with certain skin tones and hair colours than others. With that in mind, we've picked four of the most popular shades of white for weddings, and broken down exactly what the hue looks like and which bride it will suit. Of course, the best way to find out is to start trying on dresses – with plenty of natural light, thank you - but reading this guide first is a handy place to start. 

Stark white

Imagine the brightest, most brilliant shade of white you can imagine – that’s a stark white. For a softer white, go for a diamond white, which will look bright in your happy snaps, but not as chalky as its stark cousin. Brides-to-be with darker skin tones can pull off both these shades, as well as pretty much every other shade of white. If you have fair skin, try to avoid a stark or natural white: these hues will make you look paler.

Short wedding dresses
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Like its name suggests, ivory is a shade of white that resembles the colour of, well, ivory – think elephant tusks or old-fashioned piano keys. Put simply, it's a warmed-up white that can take on a smattering of unique shades, from candlelight and eggshell to cream. Ivory has a slight tint of yellow, and is likened to an eggshell white. For brides with fair skin, a yellow ivory will have you glowing; if you have a medium skin tone with a pinker complexion, look for a creamier version of ivory, which will make you look blushed, not flushed. 


There are no prizes for guessing where champagne gets its name (hint: it has bubbles). Champagne will look white in photos, but in the flesh it has a pink undertone and is similar to a deep ivory. A champagne-hued dress is guaranteed to make you feel elegant, and looks best on brides with sallow or olive skin; the hints of pink will give you a dewy, fresh look. If your skin has pink or blue undertones, the pink in champagne could make you look flush, so look for a creamier, yellow-based hue like ivory or cream.


We promise we didn’t make that name up – it’s a thing. Ecru is the deepest shade of ivory, and borders on tan or beige. The guidelines to rocking this shade are similar to ivory, and it’s a great choice if you’re looking for something non-traditional. Ecru looks smashing when it's used with heavier fabrics, like duchess satin and peau de soie, which is a finely ribbed, satiny fabric made from silk or rayon. For a modern twist, go for a dress that has an ecru lining and a white lace or laser-cut overlay – the contrast in colours and textures looks spectacular!
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