Wedding Dress Styles: How to Choose the Best Silhouette for your Body Shape

Monday, February 24th, 2020
Wedding Dress Styles: How to Choose the Best Silhouette for your Body Shape

It can be little overwhelming when you enter a bridal boutique and you’re faced with rows and rows of beautiful dresses. Where do you start?

The key to finding the dress is figuring out what style of gown will suit your body type best. By going into the boutique with prior knowledge on which style will compliment your figure will narrow down your choices and help you choose something that will make you feel like the star of the show!

There are many flattering dress silhouettes available for all body types, from flouncy ballgown dresses to sleek and elegant sheath gowns. We’re here to help you find out what the best silhouette is for your body shape.

1. A-Line

The A-line is a great starting point if you’re not sure which style to try on first. The art of an A-line silhouette is in the proportions, which is so-called because of the resemblance of the letter A. It has a fitted bodice which gradually widens into a gracefully sloped skirt, which balances itself out for a look that’s neither top- nor bottom-heavy.

Compliments: All body types

Wedding Dress Styles: How to Choose the Best Silhouette for your Body Shape

2. Sheath

An effortless and modern slim-cut style that drapes straight down from the neck to the hem, following your body’s natural shape. The long, straight lines of a sheath gown have a lengthening effect and look they fantastic short lean figures, or those with an athletic shape, but it can be very unforgiving as the fabric often has little stretch. A sheath wedding dress is an excellent fit for those who don’t want to be overwhelmed by too much fabric.

Compliments: Petite or athletic figures

Wedding Dress Styles: How to Choose the Best Silhouette for your Body Shape

3. Tea-length

The hem of a tea-length wedding dress will usually sit between mid-calf to just above the ankles. The perfect tea-length dress will help you look elegant without feeling too restricted by lots of fabric.

They can also give you a gorgeous vintage 50’s style look if you pair your dress with some victory rolls and red lips. Short styles are perfect for brides who plan to tie the knot in the daytime or for a destination wedding where a long dress may be a bit too warm.

Compliments: All body types

4. Fishtail/Mermaid

The mermaid (or fishtail) is a striking look for brides who crave a little va-va-voom. Mermaid dresses are tightly fitted down the bride’s body, which is fantastic for emphasising curves and flare out dramatically below the knee.

This creates for the trademark “mermaid” tail shape which can be narrow or wide, or sleek or ruffled, depending on what kind of twist you wish to have on your look. If you’re worried about any lumps or bumps showing, then choosing lace as your main material will make this figure-hugging style more forgiving.

Compliments: Pear-shaped or hourglass figures wanting to flaunt their curves

Wedding Dress Styles: How to Choose the Best Silhouette for your Body Shape

5. Basque

Basque dresses have a fitted bodice that comes into a gentle V-shape just below the waistline. This can be paired with a slim or flouncy skirt, or don a lace-up back offering a sensual detail to your dress.

This style elongates the torso and draws attention to the waist, so it’s best to avoid a basque gown if you’re self-conscious of your stomach.

Compliments: Slender bodies or short torsos

6. Empire

Empire line dresses are an elegant design that has a fitted bodice and a high waistline that starts just under the bust. The skirt is normally long and flowing and gently skims the body.

This style of dress helps lengthen the body, emphasises the bust over the waist, and is forgiving around the legs, waist and hips.

Compliments: Petite frames, sporty figures wishing to accentuate their bust and apple figures wanting to elegantly smooth out their middle

7. Ballgown

A ballgown is the classic wedding dress shape. It is the princess gown that pops into our heads when anyone mentions the word ‘bride’ or ‘wedding dress’.

This love letter to tradition, which pairs a short, fitted bodice with a voluminous full skirt, is a flattering look for nearly every body type. The contrast between the huge skirt and the close-cut bodice draws attention to the narrowest point of your waistline, whilst the large skirt can flatten out your hips and stomach.

Thanks to its pouffe, a ball gown silhouette can help balance out a fuller bustline or those with broader shoulders.

Compliments: Bigger busts or large hips


For the next step, finding out where to buy your wedding dress from in the North West, why not check out our recommended suppliers? You can find them in our Bride Bible here. Or you can pop along to one of our upcoming wedding fayres which you can find here

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