Why Kate Middleton has inspired the wedding dress trends for 2013

Duchess of Cambridge's Royal Wedding bridal gown leads trend for classically elegant styles

Kate Middleton sparked a new wedding dress trend when she dazzled the world in an elegant lace bridal gown at her Royal Wedding to Prince William.

The now Duchess of Cambridge drew gasps as she emerged from her car in an Alexander McQueen lace gown with long sleeves, a plunging, yet modest neckline and full skirting.

So it should come as no surprise that Kate's turn as the blushing bride has signalled a new era for wedding gowns, bucking the trend for fashionable styles and heralding the remergence of classic looks.

[Related: Kate Middleton 'spied maternity shopping in Topshop']

Just a year ago, strapless was all the rage and dresses with even so much as a spaghetti strap were tough to unearth - but as the world of wedding fashion has caught up, that is all set to change.

With shows such as Downton Abbey and Mr Selfridge growing in popularity, wedding dress designers have taken note - and apparently the strapless dress will be more difficult to come by in the new season.

This was reflected on the catwalk at the National Wedding Show in Birmingham, where the message from most designers seemed to be vintage, shoulders covered and detail down the back.

Speaking at the show, Nashanta King from Winscombe store The Bridal Boutique, said brides looking to buy their dress this season could expect to see more and more of this look.

"It's going very Downton Abbey, with high necks and a lot of shoulder coverage," she said.

"Nothing is really going to be strapless any more - we're seeing most designers go back to classic looks.

"They're bringing in detail like lace and pearls - very simple but elegant-looking. A lot of the dresses have a real 1930s feel.

"We have definitely seen a shift towards this style since the Royal Wedding. Everyone wants that look now.

"Going into the next season there really isn't going to be very much in the way of strapless or big skirts, it's all very classic."

While sleeves may be very much the dominant theme for this year, the range of other options a bride can choose from at the moment is staggering.

The catwalk show at the event was filled with everything from princess, A-line, fitted and even dropped-waist styles, all of which are being kept bang-on trend with vintage detailing.

And for the more daring bride, adding a splash of colour such as a darker belt, a hat, gloves or even an overlay of coloured fabric can really make you stand out.

Lizanne Harris, fashion director at Wedding magazine, spoke at one of the show's 'inspiration sessions' on how to find the perfect dress. Most of all, she said, it's about feeling comfortable.

"You need to think about the trend you want and the kind of wedding you are having," she said.

"Comfort is really important. If you are going to be sat down a lot, it's probably best not to get a big, pouffy skirt as that isn't going to be very easy to sit in.

"Similarly, if you want to be out on the dance floor shaking your thing at the disco, you don't want to be heaving a heavy dress around or worrying about popping out, so you might want to avoid backless and strapless, for example."

And she confirmed the fashion this season is taking inspiration from years gone by.

"'Downton Abbey', 'The Great Gatsby' - all of these things are coming through in vintage trends as well as 60s-style dresses," she said.

"Thanks to Kate Middleton, sleeves are really popular right now. They're very forgiving if you don't have the best arms, and lace sleeves still give you that peek of skin so can be very sexy.

"Back detailing is very big right now as well - after all, for a good deal of the day you are going to be stood with your back to your guests, so it is important.

"Vintage details such as covered buttons are particularly popular at the moment and look gorgeous."