Long, elegant trains are a popular wedding dress detail for a reason: dramatic and sweeping, a train can give your dress extra intricacy and emphasize your silhouette to give it a breathtaking look as you walk down the aisle. While the train is perfect for the ceremony, most brides want the ability to dance and mingle with guests at the reception without having to worry about the train. The last thing you want is the train getting in the way or getting stepped on! Enter the bustle. The bustle pulls the train up, giving you a floor-length gown for the reception so you don’t have to worry about your train. Most gowns don’t come with a bustle—your seamstress adds the bustle during alterations, based on your dress’s silhouette, the look you want, and your height. To be prepared for your fitting, we’re breaking down the different types of bustles on the blog.
American Bustle (or Over-Bustle)
An easy bustle for your mom or maid of honor to secure, the American bustle gathers the fabric of the train over the dress, securing it at the silhouette’s waist. This bustle can gather at one, three, or five points, depending on the look you want. Easy and perfect for any silhouette, this bustle is one of the most common ways to secure your train.
While the name implies this bustle is only for ball gowns, it looks amazing on any silhouette. Your seamstress will sew the securing buttons or hooks underneath the dress, so that the train folds under and creates the illusion of a floor length gown. This is perfect if you don’t want your bustle to change the look of your gown at all, but is a bit more difficult for your helpers to secure.
The alternate cousin of the American bustle, the French bustle pulls the train under, gathering at the waist and creating a tiered look in the back. If your dress has a unique back detail, like a statement bow or other unique design element you want to leave as a main event, the French bustle is exactly what you’re looking for.
A unique but gorgeous bustle, the Austrian bustle gathers the fabric of the train in the center, creating a somewhat ruched effect. Perfect for brides who want something a bit different, this alternate to the over- or under-bustle pulls the sides together for a unique bustle you’ll love.
Your seamstress will be able to tell you which types of bustles will work best for your dress, but it’s good to come into your appointment with some knowledge of what she’s creating. It’s also a great idea to bring your maid of honor, mother, bridesmaid, or other helper to your final fitting, so that the seamstress can show them how to bustle your dress when the time comes. After all—you can’t bustle the dress when you’re the one wearing it!