Bohemian goddesses, listen up! There’s a trend that’s set to stick around for 2014 and continue to have wedding guest’s jaws dropping the world over: the backless dress. When executed to it’s greatest potential, this look can suit the delicate, ethereal woodland beauty or produce the dramatic beat to your bohemian heart… in fact I’m so confident in this look, I reckon it can be molded to suit almost any bridal style.

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Image Credit: Little White Dress

‘Why bother?’ you might ask, and it’s a good question it’s only the back of your dress after all and surely the majority of your photos will be from the front, right? But think of your guests: while you and your beloved are stood making those all important vows at the alter stood on a Persian rug, under a beautiful oak tree, your guests will see only your dress’s back. Let’s think of another scene at your wedding: you’re chatting away, thanking your great aunt Una for coming all the way from Dublin and your new husband turns to look at you from across the room and what does he see? A sneak peak of your (gorgeously St. Tropez’d) back; it’ll take his breath away. So, ladies, may I implore you to be at your most daring and don your ‘sultry best’ to walk down that aisle.

Now, I know you lovely people adore straying from ‘the norm’ and with that in mind I’m gonna look at short babydolls vs. long elegant trains, the more formal vs. the more ‘devil may care’ end of the scale and endeavor to see how backless works across the multitude of forms that your LWD may take! Let’s start with my favourite shape of the moment…

The Half Moon

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Image Credit: Scoopback Slip from Free People

Born of the hippie trend that’s set to be all kinds of massive for summer of 2014, this half moon is style everything. Every hippie loves a good dose of astrology, and the moon symbol sings that notion oh-so-gracefully. Not only do these dresses allow your inner hippie to shine through, but they embrace the backless trend with no-dress-tape-needed ease.

We love the ornate, embroidered tops to both the free people dress (above) and the longer gown below, before they then open up into that shallow, albeit sexy, curve of the open back. You’re getting your embellishment, Aztec and backless hit all in one with these gorgeous pieces: killer, aren’t they?

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Image Credit: TB Dress

The third example of this boho version of the backless trend, is a dress I’ve admired for a good year now (it was almost my wedding dress). Perfect for the chilled out bride who’s looking to incorporate a bit of colour too: meet Free People’s Marina (below). This smaller, subtle half moon is the finishing touch to a wonderfully carefree piece. Both the bohemian navy embroidery (which embellishes both the front and back of the dress) and the high-low hem of the dress frame and dramatize the open back so gracefully. This one’s a firm favourite for me: a gorgeous wedding dress, that’s not a wedding dress (if you know what I mean!).

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Image Credit: Marina from Free People

The Ornate T-Bar

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Image Credit: Serendipity and Sweet Tea

Another divine way to embrace the backless look: what I’m coining as ‘the Ornate T-Bar’. Rather than baring the middle of your back, this style highlights your shoulders and sides, with the middle piece of the dress forming the central focus, as it’s embellished design runs down the middle of your back. These dresses prove incredibly flattering to those of us (I’m including myself here) not blessed with feminine curves, as the thinner middle panel creates the illusion of a smaller waist, with the intricate top panel giving a bold look to the shoulders and upper back, whilst maintaining a delicacy about the shoulders. Just gorgeous, isn’t it?

Fig 3b

Image Credit: Queen of Sheba from Free People

Another of my favourites from good ol’ Free People: the Queen of Sheeba gown. Light layers of chiffon flow effortlessly from the waist down, whilst the cutout top half of the dress makes a bold, but seriously chic statement. Again, this racer back style will give shape to a more boyish figure, and embraces the backless trend with a festival-perfect flash of embroidery and sequins. This one really is a jaw dropper; stunning from the front and back.

The Bare Back

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Image Credit:

It’s daring, it certainly strays from the norm but let me assure you, the bare back can be the most refined and beautiful of details. Isn’t that dress above just astounding?! Seriously, this little Cavalli number, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of! Between the delicately detailed edge, which is echoed throughout the dress, to those insanely good tassels, framed wonderfully by the open back; this dress is everything. You’ll notice that the long sleeves balance the amount of skin you’re showing just nicely. Keepin’ it classy, shall we say.

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Image Credit: Ethnic Romance from Free People

Next up is another fave from Free People’s current collection: the Ethnic Romance dress. This brand is the epitome of elegant bohemia, Free People know there’s nothing more boho than a sultry open back so they’re working it in everyway possible and damn it’s good! The Ethnic Romance is a combination of gentle soft ivory cotton falling from the waist down to a delicately scalloped hem, topped with rich palette of sunset hued embroidery and mirrored eyelets, it’s Ethnic styling in all it’s glory. The dress’s open back balances the rich, decorative front perfectly. It’s simple, and earthy with a fine tie across the shoulders; the clean lines are humble and striking all at the same time.

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Image Credit: New Romantics Mount Azuma

Last but not least in the Bare Back division is another of Free People’s lush creations: the Mount Azuma dress. This dress allows its bride to do open backed, but a little more securely, it’s basically an oversized keyhole – let’s be honest! I adore this dress; it’s so fresh and clean cut. The cutouts surrounding the backless portion give it that extra little dose of detail, there’s something almost sun-like about it; just perfect for that summer meadow wedding you’ve been dreaming of. Like it’s predecessors, this dress is designed to flatter, with the graceful teardrop shape creating that tiny-waist silhouette.

The Deception

Fig 5a

Image Credit: Wedding and Bridal Dresses

This final note is for those of you that have already got THE dress, but love the concept of creating a really striking reverse view of the dress. I’m call this the Deception; creating the illusion of an intricately designed back to your dress, that appears seamless with the design of the dress, but is actually a convenient add on. One of the simplest and easiest ways to add interest to the back of your dress is by adding the simply divine Jenny Packham cape, as seen above. Packham’s Elsa cape gives life and exquisite intricacy to an otherwise simple dress.

Fig 5b

Image Credit: Element 7 Style & Olive Coco Mag

Another concept is to adorn your bare back with jewels, when done carefully, these jewels can appear perfectly harmonious with your chosen dress, giving the illusion of a single piece. The way the delicate gold chains and coins glide over the shoulder blades just give such a luxurious, goddess-like feel to these bohemian beauties; it’s just everything!

So, that’s my take on backless, with its many possibilities and in its various forms. There really is something so rock and roll about a backless dress: it packs a major WOW factor; it highlights one of our most defining feminine features; an it’s an absolute must if your heart has a bohemian beat.

Now, go forth my backless beauties! Take note from the stone cold fox below and work it girl!

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Image Credit: Temperley London

For more wedding dress inspiration on the ‘backless dress’ visit our Beautiful Dresses pinterest board.


Clare xx

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