Wedding gown shopping can be an overwhelming experience. But knowing the basic dress silhouettes for your body type and understanding how they flatter your figure will help you narrow down your endless stream of options when shopping for your bridal gown.
From ball gowns to fit and flare styles, choosing the right dress silhouette can help you emphasize your best body features or deemphasize any problem areas. Here is a comprehensive guide to every bridal dress silhouette you will see when you are on the hunt for your dream wedding gown and which style is best for your body type.
The A-Line gown
The A-line cut is narrow at the top, close to the natural waist, and extends out along the body in the shape of an ‘A’ in a smooth, elongated line. This gown is the most popular style because it is the most universally flattering. Typically, this dress silhouette would be the first one you try on when you are just starting your wedding gown shopping. This way, you will know if you are wanting the classic wedding gown look or if you want to go in a different direction on your wedding day.
The Modified A-line gown
The modified A-line (which is my favorite) is a mix between a mermaid silhouette and a traditional A-line. This shape is roomier in the hips that a classic mermaid, but still a little flared at the bottom so that you can have more movement when you walk. You may want to consider this silhouette if you are looking for more shape than an A-line, but with more movement and mobility of a mermaid or trumpet style. The modified A-line gown looks great on all body types, especially the petite bride who wants the classic style of a ball gown, but doesn’t want all the fullness of the skirt to take away from her beautiful body.
The Ball Gown
Thinking of looking like Cinderella on your wedding day? What bride hasn’t dreamt of this fairy tale look for her wedding? This beautiful, feminine silhouette is most known for its trademark full skirt, fitted bodice and natural waist. This wedding gown is particularly perfect on more boyish figures because it gives the illusion of a more curvy body. It also looks fantastic on pear shape bodies because the fitted bodice really defines the waist while the fuller skirt skims over the hips. The ball gown is also great for tall brides who can pull off the fullness of the skirt. Brides who also are bustier will love this style because it really creates a more balanced proportion with the fuller bottom. Unfortunately, for petite brides who have dreamt of looking like Cinderella need to go with more of the A-line silhouette since the ball gown will truly swallow a petite bride.
This high waist style hits just below the bustline, while skimming the rest of the body. This gown can de-emphasize the waistline and hips while making the bride look longer and leaner. It can be a perfect solution for a bride who wants to play down the middle part of her body. Empire waist is great for petite brides as well, but not so great for brides who have a larger chest or fuller hips because it can overemphasize those features of the body. Empire waist gowns have not been incredibly popular in the past few years, but are making a resurgence for 2018 because of its easy silhouette and because the brides are going for a more casual, or destination style of gown.
Think of Arielle in “The Little Mermaid.” This gown silhouette truly lives up to its name. This is a gown that really contours to the body, is very curve-hugging that follows the line of your hips and thighs and then flares out below the knee. This silhouette is fantastic for brides who have the perfect hour-glass figure who want to show off their curves. Again . . . this gown is NOT great for petite brides, unless, the designer can do a hollow to hem customization on the gown. It is particularly perfect for the tall bride with curves.
Trumpet or Fit to Flare
This silhouette is often confused with a mermaid silhouette. A trumpet style of gown is more of a straight lined bodice that subtly flares toward the hem, creating a semi-full skirt starting at the knee. This silhouette is one of the most popular amongst brides of all body types who want to show off curves, but don’t want the extreme look of the mermaid gown. The fit to flare gown is also a little easier to move and dance in than the mermaid gown since it has a gradual flare starting at the knee instead of lower like the mermaid silhouette.
The sheath style gown is a little more casual and care free, but also gives the bride the simple and sophisticated look. This style looks particularly best of petite brides who benefit from the elongated lines and formfitting cut that gently hugs the body from head to toe. The sheath silhouette gives the illusion of height and does not overwhelm a smaller frame the way a full ball gown could.
A dropped waist silhouette is perfect for brides who want to flaunt their trim middles and shape because it hugs the waist and hips, but also offers the fullness of the traditional wedding gown in the skirt. This silhouette flares our slightly below the waistline around the hip area giving you the illusion of a longer torso. The dropped waist can be a great alternative for petite brides since it does make the short waist look longer; however, if the skirt is too full, it can still overpower a petite bride. This silhouette is definitely not a good one for brides who have a more boxy figure because it can make the bride look like she does not have any curves at all.
I know this is a lot of information to digest, but it is very imperative to know the gown silhouettes before you start shopping. However, if you have a bridal consultant who knows her gowns, then you will be in great hands. Please always listen to the consultants’ suggestions when she/he pulls gowns for you. Many wedding gowns have no “hanger appeal.” Always try on different styles so you can narrow down your favorite silhouette.