September 12, 2012
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The perfect bat mitzvah dress

Say yes to the “right” dress

The Brooklyn Paper

Photo gallery

A short, flirty dress for a girl with long legs.
A mermaid cut for curvy girls.
A baby blue, sweetheart top, A-line gown.
A two-tone empire-waist gown with lots of embroidery.
Look as lovely as a flower in this spaghetti strapped, flowing dress.
A gown for the funky, fashionista.
A sweet, tube-top, baby doll dress with a splash of color.

It seemed like just yesterday that you cooed proudly as she took her first steps, and now your little girl is turning into a woman. Can you believe it?

And if your precious darling is blossoming into into a fierce fashionista — already citing Marc Jacobs, Betsy Johnson, or Dolce and Gabana as her “hero” — a major aspect of her bat mitzvah is going to be her dress (okay, and maybe shoes). End of story.

If your tween has been strutting around in your oversized pumps since she could walk, the way she looks on her special day will be extremely important to her. After all, it will represent her turning a new chapter in her busy, but ever-sweet life. It will surely be a memory that you and her both want to remember for all the right reasons — from the moment she prances in and scans the room to make sure all eyes are on her, to the final farewell from misty-eyed grandma and grandpa. So make sure you pick one with the WOW factor that plays up your gorgeous jewel’s strengths — be it her glowing skin, her bright eyes, or lovely smile.

She’ll provide the innocence, you cough up the cash (that’s what parents are for, right?) and we’ll do the rest by offering you the perfect solutions for all young body types to keep your doll’s teary whines — remember, “I look fat in this?” — at bay.

If your daughter is built like the Eiffel Tower, meaning height might be a bit of a problem, then minimize her length with a ball gown that has a train to cover her gams and draw the attention to her pretty face and bare shoulders. An off-the-shoulder neckline is also a good option to make your little girl feel on top of the world.

Could she give Eli Manning a run for his money? Maybe, but not everyone has to know that. Play down her broad shoulders by choosing a simple dress with sleek lines that doesn’t spotlight her upper body. Use embellishments sparingly, they’re killer for highlighting all the parts she might want to downplay for her special occasion. Conversely, if she has a small bust, increase her confidence by opting for a halter neckline, which draws attention to the upper area. Feel free to go to town on the embroidery, appliques, and other details. You know she was born to carry them off with panache.

Consider an A-line number for a teen with curvaceous hips — a problem more common than you think. When selecting your dress, draw attention to the upper torso, and don’t forget to focus on the waist to make her the envy of her crowd. If your beanpole doesn’t stack up to size, a dress made from a heavy fabric, such as brocade, velvet, or moire are eye-pleasing solutions because they give the illusion of volume and extra pounds.

Broad back? No problem. A dress with simple sleeves and a floaty, voluminous skirt will shift all eyes downwards and make sure that your cherub is the belle of her ball.

If Mother Nature has blessed your teenage daughter with an hourglass figure (her father’s lament!) — think generous bust and hips and a defined waistline — then forego the fitted dresses for A-shaped, mermaid, or princess-cut ones. They’ll make her look va-va-va-voom without coming across as a pubescent Marilyn Monroe.

Counteract a pear-shape — that means slim shoulders, a small bust but larger hips — by balancing out the upper body with flair. Opt for shoulder appliques, or other decorative touches to draw the eye upwards. A “V” neckline, a corset waist and floaty sleeves also give the illusion of more volume on top. Strapless dresses can work, but only if the corset boasts some bows, embroidery or a smattering of flowers.

Remember, there’s nothing more fatal to your daughter’s big day than taking the cookie-cutter approach. What looks great on that girl may not look as good on your sweetie. It’s up to you to gently steer the reins towards her best option. That way, she’ll think she thought of it and both of you can enjoy the party anxiety-free (is that even possible?).

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Reader Feedback

Tacky from Oxford says:
I would never wear a long dress to a bat
mitzpha I don't think that it's very appropriate...
June 27, 2013, 2:21 am

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