You might think once you've decided on a white gown that's it . . . white is white, right? Not really. There are as many shades of white as there are colors. That's right. And if you've been out looking for for that gown, you know by now white can be pretty multi-faceted. Defined, bridal white is not so much a certain white as, 'okay so what shade white are we talking about here?'


Rosa Clara

Below is a brief sampling of the basic shades of white available. There's nothing like actually stepping into the gown though. Take into mind any sample gowns you do try on could be a little soiled to outright dirty, depending on how often they've been tried on and whether the salon looks after their stock properly. So consider whatever gown you have on might be a degree (or several) off the original shade. Most salons carry the exact fabric swatch of each gown in stock. Ask for one and compare it to the fabric you're wearing.

OPTICAL WHITE: The screaming Mimi kind amped up to look like snow. Usually optical white is made out of man-made fibers like polyester but pure silk can be bleached. Some designers bleach silks white to produce a certain effect. This neon version looks stunning on darker skin tones.
SILK WHITE: Most of the dresses shown here are in that chalky, natural sort of silk white only natural fibers can produce. Salons and retailers refer to this as Diamond, Natural or Silky White. It is one degree off Optical White though in photos both these shades pick up light pretty much the same. So who can wear silk white? Almost everyone except light-skinned blondes and redheads whom it tends to wash out. Looks best on darker hair and warmer skin tones.
IVORY-This is that warmed up white most designer gowns come in. Some designers and manufacturers call this candlelight or cream, especially if it has that yellowy butter cream tint to it. Tea-dyed silks and cottons have pink tones underneath. Ivory is great for blondes and redheads.
ECRU-Almost tan, more and more designers are using this hue. Lovely in heavier fabrics like brocade and peau.