Wedding dresses: silhouettes
Use our guide to find the ideal silhouette for your bridal gown.
You will need to take into account your body shape, your height, and the style and venue of the wedding when choosing the silhouette of your wedding dress. This is the basic framework on which you can then choose necklines, trains, sleeves, etc. It is important to accentuate the positive, making the most of your body's best features and disguising the areas that you do not love quite as much.
An A-line wedding dress has a fitted bodice that gradually flares from the waist or hips into the shape of an A. This silhouette hugs the waist, creating a slimmer waistline and flattering the bust. A-line style wedding dresses are flattering for all women. If you have wide hips, an A-line wedding dress will skim over them; if you have narrow hips the cut of an A-line dress will give you more shape.
If you choose an A-line wedding dress, choose your top half carefully. A plain bodice above an A-line skirt is not flattering for brides with a small bust. It will be more flattering to add a little padding to balance the look. If you are short, be careful of a floor length A-line skirt as it could make you look shorter.
A ball gown wedding dress is traditionally a full-skirted gown reaching at least to the ankles. They are usually highly decorated and made of luxurious fabrics. Many ball gown dresses have strapless necklines, a fitted bodice, and a natural waistline. This is perhaps the most romantic style of wedding dress. The dress is often worn with a hooped petticoat underneath to give shape to the full skirts.
If you have slim hips and a full bust, the ball gown shape will balance the top and bottom perfectly, giving you a "Cinderella" look. You may prefer to avoid the ball gown style if you have a small bust, as it will make your bust look smaller. If you are petite, avoid the ball gown style as it may swamp you. If you have wide hips, you may prefer to avoid the ball gown style because it will over emphasize them.
Perhaps the most famous ball gown wedding dress ever was the gown worn by Lady Diana Spencer on her marriage to Prince Charles in 1981.
A column wedding dress is a slim-fitting dress with a straight, narrow shape, creating a stylish silhouette. As the name suggests, the basic shape is like a column, going straight up and down and nipped in at the waist to fit the body. This is a very versatile dress shape that can suit most body shapes with the right styling.
A column dress hugs the figure and looks great on tall, willowy women. You will look like you belong on the catwalk! The column style will also works well on a slim and petite figure. A column dress fits quite close to the body, so if you have fuller hips and a large tummy, this will tend to emphasize these features, so you may prefer to avoid it if you do not have a smooth outline.
This kind of dress can be teamed with a coat dress, cloak or wrap.
An empire line dress has a high waist, gathered near or just under the bust with a long, loose skirt which skims the body. The outline is especially flattering to pear shapes wishing to disguise the stomach area or emphasize the bust. The shape of the dress gives the illusion of lengthening the body.
The empire line is a great shape for most women and shows off the cleavage. The long line makes tall brides look taller. The body of the dress falls from beneath the bust, which is great if you have a broad waist and a small bust. You may prefer to a avoid empire line dresses if you have a large bust because they will make it appear bigger. This style of dress is suitable for pregnant brides