Not every bride has a significant face shape that needs balancing by her wedding hairstyle and gown, but you will run across some brides that will benefit from this knowledge. The face shape is determined when all of the hair is pulled away and the outer edge of the face is studied. At the same time the features within the face can be soft or angular.
Just think for a moment how each and every day, we all look at our face over and over, year after year. Subconsciously we chose things in our lives such as cars, jewelry, artwork, china patterns, etc. that reflect what our eye is used to. If a bride of mine has a perfect oval face and her diamond ring is a marquee, I can be pretty sure her fiancée picked out her ring. I have fun asking. Let’s look further into this important dimension necessary to pull together the brides “Total Bridal Look.”
Face Shape Information: Oval, Round, Oblong, Heart, Diamond, Square, Rectangle, And Triangle
The first four face shapes are soft and curved. The last four face shapes have more angles and corners.
An oval face is slightly longer than is it wide with curved soft edges.
A round face will have equal distance all around with the nose as a center point. It will be as wide as it is long with rounded edges.
An oblong face is an elongated oval shape.
Many oblongs are mistaken for an oval. But placed next to a true oval you can see that they are oblong.
A heart shape is wider at the eye, temple, and cheek area with a narrow chin. The edges are soft and curved.
A diamond face shape is widest at the cheeks, narrow at the chin and forehead. It has sharper features.
A square face is basically straight across at the forehead and along the side of the face. The jaw is strong and square.
The chin may stick out a bit. When the distance from the top of the face to the chin matches the width, this is a square face.
A rectangle face is similar to a square. But the face is longer than it is wide.
A triangle face is similar to a heart shape. But the lines and edges are sharper and more angular.
A face shape is not set in stone. Someone’s seemingly oval face may look more round next to someone else’s oval. Two people can both be square but one will be squarer than the other will.
Wedding Gown Necklines:
A great rule of thumb is “opposites attract.” A round full face needs a deep V to elongate and thin out the face. A square jaw line needs the softness of a lace edge or scoop neckline. An oblong face shape is complemented by a Sabrina neckline, off the shoulder or strapless gown. A heart shape or triangle needs width at the jaw line; hug the shoulder or a wide scoop would be a great choice. Note: A diamond face and an oval have perfect proportions and are symmetrical so their choices are limitless.
JEWELRY SELECTION FOR FACE SHAPES
Before we begin discussing which jewelry is best for each face shape, lets think for a moment about the difference between a diamond shape and an oval. Whether it is a jewel, a picture frame or a face shape there are distinct differences between a diamond shape and an oval.
A diamond has edges and corners.
An oval is soft and curved.
As in a face shape, a diamond, triangle or square face has edges, corners, planes, and angles. By planes I mean the surface, structure, and profile of the face. Are the eyes deep set with a strong brow bone, a sharp nose, prominent cheekbones, and a distinct jaw line? This is an angular or sharp face. This face is best surrounded with jewelry with similar angles; sharp detail or corners, like triangles, square cut stones or straight lines.
An oval, round or heart shape face has no distinct lines or edges. A soft face may be flat. The eyes are closer to the surface of the face, the nose is rounder at the tip, the lips are fuller, cheekbones are less prominent, and the jaw line is soft. This face shape is complemented by oval or round shapes and soft edges. A face may be a combination of both angular and soft lines, but have an over all feeling of being one or the other.
Most people are subconsciously drawn to a complementary jewelry shape. You are used to looking at yourself everyday. Subconsciously you are drawn to certain shapes. Many times a hair stylist or a friend will try to impose a look on a bride complementing to themselves and not the bride. This happens without thinking. You are naturally drawn to what you like. As a specialist and consultant you have to learn to train your eye to see these distinct features in your client. To be truly professional you need to be able to read a client, meet her design needs, and separate your personal tastes. You will limit your client base if you “specialize” in one style.
The neckline of the gown, the face shape and the size of the bride all need to be taken into consideration when selecting jewelry. The right jewelry will flatter the bride; the wrong jewelry will just stand out. To help the bride with her jewelry selections look to blending the lines of her face with the lines in the jewelry. To create counterbalance with the necklace and earrings look to her face shape and gown neckline.
The perfect earring can light up the face of the bride.
An oval face can wear any shape earring. Keep the size of the earring in balance to the size of the bride, whether she is petite or large. In keeping with the soft lines of her face, soft shapes such as pearls, tear drops, circles, and ovals are best.
A round face needs earrings with length to elongate it. A drop earring works best in shapes that are also soft like a teardrop.
An oblong face looks best with a button earring drawing the eye horizontally.
A heart shape face needs earrings that are wider at the bottom to balance a narrow chin.
Shapes such as teardrops or inverted triangles or button earrings work well.
A diamond face shape can follow the same “rules” for an oval. But this face shape can carry a more dramatic design. Corners, points, and harder edges complement the angular face. Cut crystals are nice with the diamond face.
A drop earring, creating the look of length, complements the square face.
Rectangular faces can do well with a button style, with lines in keeping with the lines of the face.
A triangular face shape is similar to a heart shape but with more prominent angles. Balance this face with width at the bottom.
Necklaces should complement the neckline of the gown, the face shape and the detail of the bodice. A very ornate gown and headpiece can carry a more ornate jewelry selection. Lets consider each face shape individually with the necklace in mind.
An oval face can wear anything. Match the texture and designs in her gown when choosinga necklace.
A round face needs a necklace that adds length to her look. A longer or T-style necklace complements a round face. Stay away from chokers or short necklaces. Also stay away from large stones or pearls. You don’t want to add any visual thickness to the neck with a round face. A deep plunging neckline can carry a beautiful necklace and is great for a round face.
An oblong face can carry a choker style necklace well. This helps to break up the vertical line that is happening with an oblong face.
A heart shape face also looks great with a choker or a triple or double strand of pearls. With the heart face the chin is narrow. Creating fullness at the neck with the right necklace balances the wider eye and cheekbone area in the heart shaped face.
A diamond face shape is like the oval face shape but with corners. It can carry any style. Just keep it proportioned to the bride’s size. Drop crystals look beautiful with a diamond face.
Square faces need length and softness. A T-style or a simple strand of pearls that hang a little bit longer is perfect.
A rectangle face needs softening and width. Shorter necklaces work nicely.
A triangle face is a heart shape with corners and angles. Remember you can match the angles for impact or counterbalance them for softness. Stay away from necklaces that end with a point. A wider look balances the triangle face.
Brides will appreciate your knowledge. An educated bridal specialist should be educated in all areas of bridal beauty. The more you research the bridal industry the more knowledgeable you will become. The more knowledgeable you become the more confident you will be. You need to be able to address all the beauty needs of the bride. She will ultimately look to you to give her the total bridal look she is after.
To veil or not to veil; that is the question.
Today’s bride wants options. If the bride does not want a veil, do you know what to suggest? Many of my brides are opting to forgo the blusher. Some do not want a veil at all, while most plan on removing the entire veil at the reception. A bare hairstyle will look unfinished when paired with the bridal gown. I started decorating hairstyles ten years ago. I had to make everything I used. Today hair ornaments are sold everywhere! If your bride is going to remove her headpiece or even just the veiling, suggest to her that she ornament her hair. Don’t forget to look in the bridal section of the craft shop. There are many things that are sold separately for the bride to use in ornamenting her hair. Brides want to know from you what is “in”, they love to hear about new trends. Jump on this one! Brides LOVE beauty tips.
I had a bride who wore a hat for her wedding headpiece. She wanted to be able to remove it at the reception. She wanted her hair in a horizontal roll that just showed under the brim of the hat. During the consultation I learned she had pearls in her dress, plus she had dark brown hair that is visually dense. I suggested draping strands of pearls on the outside of the roll. It looked lovely and even showed just under the brim of the hat. I also glued pearls of different sizes to hairpins and placed them along the seam of the roll. It created a beautiful personal look and she was comfortable with removing her hat at the wedding reception.
There is a new trend emerging where the bride actually changes her entire wedding ensemble and wears a different dress to the reception. You need to think of her hair and how it needs to complement both dresses. An ornamenting style under the traditional headpiece is just right in situations like this.
The Princess Bride The Town & Country Bride The Period Bride The Ethnic Bride
Some brides like to maintain a certain image while others like to break away from their everyday image. I have had classic, suit-type clients who want to look like a princess on their wedding day. While other classic suit-types will wear a suit for their wedding. When having the consultation, remember to listen to the wording the bride uses to describe her wedding. The following are the four image types I have defined for brides.
The Princess Bride
This bride is living out a childhood dream or fairy tail. She will have a lot of details and “stuff” going on with her dress. Pearls, bows, ribbons, yards of tulle, and iridescent sequins will adorn the Princess Bride. They usually like to have a long veil and many have a long train on the gown. I had a Princess Bride that spent as much on her glittering headpiece as she did on her dress. She also had large glittery earrings and decorated shoes. The Princess Bride also wants as much attention and detail to her hair. Curls and tendrils with an ornate headpiece all make up the Princess bride.
The Town and Country Bride
Her look is understated elegance. Simplicity rules. She may have the traditional full skirt gown, but the bodice will not be as heavily ornamented. She may have some lace and pearls but it will be elegant and “quiet.” She will never have any iridescence. She may also wear a suit or a sheath. Her jewelry will be simple and expensive. She is more likely to wear a designer gown. She will also be more likely to want an understated hairstyle, but one that is definitely “in style.”
The Period Bride
Period styles are gown designs reflecting eras in history, the 1600’s-1800’s, the renaissance, etc. Gowns may reflect Greek or Roman times with draping and empire waistlines. Or the gown style may reflect a decade, such as the 1920’s, 40’s or 50’s etc. I had a bride that had a medieval style to her gown. She did not want a veil to take away any focus from her hair. I did a beautiful detailed medieval style with lots of curls cascading down. I incorporated fresh flowers through out the style which went along with the “Maid Marian-Robin Hood” feeling. The bridesmaids were in softly flowing floral dresses. One bride wanted a Victorian hairstyle similar to Jane Seymour in the television show Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. She went as far as to bring me videotapes of the show, edited to hair shots!
The Ethnic Bride
The ethnic bride may choose to reflect her heritage in her wedding ensemble. I had a bride from Pakistan who came to the United States for an arranged wedding. The family gave me videotape of a ceremony that took place in Pakistan so I could see what needed to be done. The make-up for her eyes was fuchsia and Kelly green with gold glitter just under the brow bone. She wore bright fuchsia on her lips. She wore rubies, emeralds, and diamonds in jewelry from her ears to her hair and from her nose to her ears. Bracelets and ankle bracelets and glitter covered this ethnic bride from her head to her toes. It was a fun experience! The ethnic bride may choose a certain colored fabric or cowry shells to be added to her hair or gown. Why not suggest something for her? A personal touch goes a long way. (I suggest that you purchase a copy of the Ethnic and Specialty Wedding Guide by Lois A. Pearce, director of ethnic diversity for ABC.
Gretchen Maurer is the author of The Business of Bridal Beauty, published by Milady Publishing. She is creator and owner of www.weddinghair.com. Gretchen’s articles and hairstyles have been published in numerous publications and web sites including The Knot, NewYork Metro Weddings.com, Modern Bride, Modern Salon, Passion, American Salon, Weddingbells, Bridal Star Hairstyles and Teen Star Hairstyles
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