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Simple, stunning: From Carolina Herrera.
By "Today" Style Editor
updated 10/29/2004 1:13:51 PM ET 2004-10-29T17:13:51

It’s your big day. You want to look calm, happy, gorgeous and unforgettable.

Finding the wedding dress of your dreams is one thing, but finding a dress you love AND a dress that fits, flatters and makes you look like a star is not a job for the faint of heart.

Read on for our Trend Tips and a glimpse of some of the best bridal dresses of the season.

Whether your style is traditional and sweet or modern and (dare we say?) slightly sexy, it’s all right here in this special edition of our weekly fashion and beauty update.

Show the bow: From Amsale.

Take a bow
The bow is back in a big way, and its feminine flair is a lovely way to add style to your wedding ensemble. Bow details are an integral part of many romantic bridal gowns. In tiny form, they add a delicate touch that can have a big impact when repeated in multiples. (There are even gowns with hundreds of bows running down the back and train of the dress, which can be quite stunning.) In medium sizes, they can be found working overtime, whether sweeping up layers and tiers with aplomb or adorning a hemline. Bows also assume center-stage status as single, oversized statements at the bodice, waist or hip, often in a contrasting color or fabric.

Trend Tip:
Think you should steer away from bows because you want to look chic, rather than sweet or romantic? Don’t jump to a conclusion — an oversized, floppy bow in silk satin will add a touch of glamour to a very streamlined dress, so try one on before you make a final decision.

Kenneth Pool
Stunning entrance: By Kenneth Pool.

Illusions are magical
It’s your big day, so go for the magical wedding dress you’ve always dreamed of — there’s no such thing as “over the top” when you are the bride. Case in point: this season’s graceful capelets, cover-ups and wraps in sheer tulle or chiffon, which add a graceful layer and an elegant touch. This style is a wonderful option if you love the bare look but would feel more comfortable or confident with a soft, sexy layer over your skin. Do be careful as to where and how sheerness will be used, as the fabrics are quite delicate and tend to rip or tear if overly stressed.

Trend Tip:
When choosing a sheer capelet, wrap or shawl, whether it’s part of the dress or a separate piece, go for the most expensive fabric you can afford. You will definitely be able to see (and feel) the difference!

Classy classic: From Amsale.

Greek goddess
Want a look that’s sexy and modern, yet utterly classic? Go for the sophistication of a Grecian goddess-inspired dress — either a long, lean and fluid silhouette or a romantic series of overlapping layers. Key details to look for include a halter neckline (especially dramatic when the bodice of the dress is attached to an actual choker-length necklace), a sashed waist and a very long length complete with side slits. It’s a wonderful look for summer weddings and also for destination weddings, where it’s right in keeping with the spirit of a romantic Greek isle.

Trend Tip:
When wearing something so slinky and spare, your undergarments must be absolutely perfect. You want to avoid lines, of course, but also make sure that you are covered up underneath — no see-through opportunities when glimpsed under bright lights or (heaven forbid) captured on film!

Go for gold: By Alvina Valenta.

Color you beautiful
Don’t want to choose white or ivory for your big day? With wedding gowns now made in every color under the sun, there’s no need to be hidebound to tradition. Generally you will find that your color selection will be styled in traditional wedding fabrics (especially in glossy satins) to make these nontraditional choices look as dressy as possible. If you long for color but also want to appease more traditional-minded family members or guests, go for a gleaming metallic like gold, silver or platinum. It’s a moderate stance that is sure to please almost everyone — and look very glamorous on you!

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Trend Tip:
Make sure you can live with your color choice for decades to come. You don’t want to look back at your wedding photos or video and ask yourself, “What was I thinking?” The same applies to your choices in bridesmaid dresses and colors.

The back is back: From Carolina Herrera.

Back in style
You’re the center of attention coming and going, so it’s always a good idea to pay attention to your rear view. This season, you’ll find that the back is a major focal point, whether it’s a cutaway for a sexy display of skin or a look that is embellished, trimmed, wrapped and tucked with all of the latest trends. A few we love: a bow-studded back is especially lovely, as is the dramatic look of a corset-tied back or a huge sash and bow. Be sure to photograph yourself wearing your dress from the back before making your final decision — sometimes the details you don’t notice are better caught on film.

Trend Tip:
When your back is on display, make sure your skin is in tip-top condition! If you have any issues, you best bet is to visit a dermatologist well ahead of time to clear up any problems, and to invest in a skin-care program that you’ll use every day for several months ahead of your wedding date. If you’re going to bare all, then create the most gorgeous skin possible.

Judy Gordon is a New York-based style consultant and the “Today” show’s style editor. She has been covering the fashion and beauty beat for the past decade. To learn more, you can visit her Web site, TheTrendReport.com, which highlights style trends in America.

firstVIEW is the primary supplier of photos to Fashion Friday. Go to www.firstVIEW.comfor the latest pictures from top fashion shows around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Milan, Brazil, New Zealand, South Korea and more.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints


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