Your wedding dress is the most important part of your wedding day ensemble. This magical garment will transform you into the bride you always dreamed of being. The perfect dress will not only fit your vision of how you always wanted to look on your wedding day, but it will also play up your best features and match your style and personality.
Wedding gown fashion is constantly evolving, and a bride has thousands of dresses to choose from. However, you should remember that not all bridal dresses look equally good on every bride. You have to find a dress that drapes well on you, makes you look like a better version of yourself, and feels comfortable in every way. To find such a dress, it is important that the to-be bride knows about the available wedding dress silhouettes and also recognizes which dress styles are best for her body shape.
Let us look at this in more detail. We will begin with the different wedding dress silhouettes available and then move on to dress selection based on body type.
Types of wedding dress silhouettes
There are five commonly seen wedding gown silhouettes, and they are the following.
Ball gown: Typically associated with the princess look, ball gowns feature a fitted bodice, that flares into a fully layered skirt from the waist. The distinguishing feature of this style is the voluminous skirt, that hides the lower half of the body entirely.
A-line: Like the name suggests, this silhouette resembles the structure of a capital "A", and is narrow from the top to the waist. From here, it flares out softly and flows towards the ground.
Trumpet: This silhouette closely follows the natural body shape all the way from the bust to the waist and hips, and it flares out at mid-thigh, in a trumpet shape.
Mermaid: Also known as the fit-and-flare style, this silhouette is similar to the trumpet , except that the skirt flares out below the knee. It is a tight-fitting style, that shows off the natural curves of the bride wearing it.
Sheath: This style drapes over the bride's natural curves all the way from the bodice to the skirt, and doesn't flare out at all. The sheath is also called the column.
Now, let us move on to identifying the different body types and learning about the best dress silhouettes for each of them.
Wedding dress selection based on body type
The first step to identifying your body type is to measure yourself around the shoulders, bust, waist and hips, and note down these measurements. Then, compare these four sets to determine which of the following body types best describe you. We will simultaneously also look at silhouette suggestions for each of these types.
Inverted Triangle or apple shaped
In apple-shaped body types, the shoulder measurement will be significantly greater than the hip measurement. Here, the upper body measurements are typically at least 5 per cent greater than the hip measurements.
Recommended silhouettes: Dress styles that flare out beyond the waistline, can best balance out the slighter proportions of the hips. A-line dresses with a bodice that pulls in the upper half, so the waistline is emphasized are good choices. Ball gowns can also be considered for this body shape.
Avoid: Fit and flare styles like the trumpet and mermaid, since these dresses emphasize the wider measurements of the top and do not camouflage the thinner leg measurements.
Rectangle or straight
This body type is defined by almost equal measurements for the shoulders, bust and hips. When the three measurements are compared, you will find that the three numbers will be within five per cent of each other.
Recommended silhouettes: Since this body type lacks curves, the right dress type should create the illusion of curves where there are few. The sheath is a suggestion, as it creates a more curvy appearance. The other recommendation is a ball gown, that emphasizes the slender waist and flares into a thick skirt, thus creating the illusion of a curvy figure.
Avoid: Fit and flare silhouettes and straight A-line dresses which lack a defined waistline
Triangle or pear-shaped
Pear-shaped body types have hip measurements that are at least five per cent more than the shoulder and bust measurements.
Recommended silhouettes: Dresses with textured bodices that balance out the upper half, pinch at the waistline and then flow away from the hips and thighs without clinging, are the best choice. Ball gowns can hide the lower body and A-line skirts in fabric that don't cling to the body can achieve this.
Avoid: Sheaths, since they add extra inches to the lower half. Trumpets also should be avoided, as they accentuate the stomach and hip area.
For this body type, the shoulders and hips are roughly the same size, and the waistline is very well-defined. Here the waist will be at least 25 per cent smaller than the rest of the measurements, while the hip and shoulders will measure within 5 per cent of each other.
Recommended silhouettes: Brides with hourglass body shapes can carry off any silhouette with ease. This is the best body shape to flaunt fit and flare gowns like the trumpet and mermaid, though they will look good in any of the other silhouettes also.
Plus size brides have body proportions that are larger than average. Their dress size typically corresponds to the regular dress sizes of 14 and above. Generally, these women have a significantly curvaceous figure.
Recommended silhouettes: A-line dresses and sheath silhouettes with empire waistlines are particularly forgiving for the plus-size bride. It is best to choose a dress that plays up the natural shape. If the dress drapes loosely, it will add the illusion of extra pounds and add bulk to the bride's overall look. Dresses with empire waistlines or those that pinch at the thinnest part of the waist are also suggested.
Avoid: Sheath gowns as these are not flattering because of the loose drape that will add extra pounds to the overall look. Also avoid fit and flare style dresses, if the waist and stomach area are thicker. Fabric also determines the overall impact. Structured fabric like satin or fabric with a stiffer base are better.
Petite women are shorter than average, and have a smaller stature. These women have heights less than 5'3", but have a well-balanced overall figure with a defined waistline.
Recommended silhouettes: Trumpets, sheaths and A-line gowns work well for this body type. By lifting the waistline to above the natural position, it is possible to add the illusion of a few extra inches. Details should be small as it can otherwise look overbearing.
Avoid: Voluminous ball gowns as this can swallow the petite bride. Also avoid dresses with dropped waistlines, as this can make the short bride look even shorter.
Other factors to consider when choosing your wedding dress
Finding the right silhouette is only one of the many steps to finding your perfect wedding gown. Once you know what looks best on you, it makes the task of sorting gowns easier. Nevertheless, there are many more factors to consider, to find your dream-worthy bridal gown. Let us briefly touch upon each of them.
Budget: Wedding gowns come in different price ranges, from few hundreds of dollars, to several thousands! Shopping without a price range in mind is risky, as you may end up falling in love with a gown that you cannot afford. Have a realistic price in mind, so you can zero-in on the best choice, within minimum time. Also remember that you will have to set aside a part of the budget for accessories, alterations and taxes.
Have a clear idea of what you want: Apart from the dress silhouette, you should also have a clear idea of the style, fabric and look you want. Take cues from the venue of the wedding, the weather at the time of your wedding and the formality of the ceremony to decide what features would be appropriate in your choice of wedding gown.
Consider your venue: Knowing the place, time and date of your wedding can help you narrow down your choices. Depending on your venue and weather, you can find a dress that will be both practical and comfortable on your wedding day. While a ball gown is a great choice for a formal indoor ceremony, it may not be a great idea for a modern, beach wedding. In this case, you would be better off in a lightweight wedding gown with fewer embellishments.
The inputs from your bridal consultant: Bridal consultants are seasoned experts in the world of wedding fashion, and can guide you well. Share your ideas with them, and they will help you find the dress you want. Wedding dress consultants have the talents to identify a dress that may not have hanger appeal, but would look good when tried on. So, give their suggestions a go, even if you don't think you like what they put in front of you. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you see when you actually try it on.
Shop at the right time: Shopping for your bridal gown should be a priority task, as it takes time to complete the shopping and alterations following it, so your dress fits you just right. However it should be done no earlier than a year before your wedding, as only then can you make use of the latest offers and choose from the latest collections. Ideally, your bridal appointments should be scheduled at least six months before your wedding, so everything is completed in time for your wedding day.
Buy the right size: Do not tempt yourself into choosing a dress that is smaller than your actual measurements. Although you will most likely lose your extra pounds in time for your wedding, we suggest buying the dress in your current size as you can have it altered to fit your actual measurements, closer to your wedding date. In case you are unable to shed the extra weight, you will still be able to wear the dress you bought, as it will correspond to your actual size. On the other hand, if your dress is too small, it will be very difficult to add extra fabric to accommodate your size, and this would compromise your look.
Finding the right alteration services: It is highly unlikely that a dress picked off the rack will fit you exactly. You will have to find a good seamstress to alter your chosen dress to your measurements, after you buy it. Getting good quality alterations is just as important as picking the right dress. This is because wedding dresses are complex garments, and only professionals who are experienced in handling these dresses can alter it well. At Flip Your Dress Inc., we offer in-house alteration services that will allow you to get your dress perfectly sized in time for your wedding.
For more information, please give us a call at 647.505.FLIP (3547) and we will gladly assist with all of your questions. Alternatively, you can email us as email@example.com.
Vera Ellen Wang is a former figure skater who is now a fashion designer based
in New York. She is popular for her wedding gown collections and haute couture
bridesmaid gowns. She started out as a senior fashion editor for Vogue magazine
before she joined Ralph Lauren as its design director for a couple of years. She
has designed the wedding gowns of celebrities and famous people like Alicia Keys,
Mariah Carey, Victoria Beckham, Chelsea Clinton, Avril Lavigne, Jennifer Lopez,
Sharon Stone, Jennifer Garner, Hilary Duff, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Holly Hunter,
Kate Hudson, Uma Thurman, Kim Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian. Michelle
Obama has also been known to wear Wang’s creations. She has even created
wedding dresses in black.
Angel Sanchez is a fashion designer from Venezuela. Among the celebrities who
have worn Sanchez’s creations are Sandra Bullock and Beyoncé Knowles. Sanchez
is known for the fashion forward perspective that always goes beyond expectations.
Carolina Herrera is a fashion designer with Venezuelan and American citizen-ships.
Her stylish designs are notable because of its lack of fuss. She has been known
to dress First Ladies all the way from the time of Jacqueline Kennedy to Michelle
Obama. Herrera got her training from her grandmother who exposed her to the world
of fashion design by taking her to shows and buying her clothes from Balenciaga,
Lanvin and Christian Dior. She has been the recipient of several awards, including
a gold medal from the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, gold medal for Merit in the
Fine Arts from Spain, New York Award of Excellence, Designer of the Year from
Womenswear and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion
Designers of America. Known for her traditional designs, she has recently added
color to her wedding gowns, particularly pink and gray hints.
Hayley Paige used to be a designer for Melissa Sweet. She has recently emerged
to design a line of wedding dresses for JLM Couture. Paige provides a fun and fresh
look that still maintains keenness and just the right amount of refinement. Chic and
stylish combinations of polished silhouettes characterize her unique style. Her playful manipulations have resulted in cute and modern dresses. Paige aims to be quirky but charming and fun but still fabulous.
Jenny Packham is a fashion designer from the United Kingdom. She is well known
for her wedding gowns and ready to wear clothes. She established her brand in
1988, starting out with bridal gowns and evening wear. She has recently added
bridal accessories to her offering. She also has a lingerie line. Some of her clients
include celebrities and famous people like Angelina Jolie, Miley Cyrus, Kate Hudson,
Jennifer Aniston, Eva Longoria, Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez,
Kate Winslet and the Duchess of Cambridge. Her creations were also regularly
featured in “Sex and the City” through Kim Catrall.
Reem Acra is a fashion designer who comes from Lebanon. She started out in 1997
with an elegant bridal collection. In 2003, she launched her ready to wear line. Her
creations are sold in some of the most exclusive retailers in the world, including
Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Harvey Nichols.
Some of her clients include royal families from different countries and celebrities
like Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Beyoncé Knowles and Eva
Longoria. Acra is known for her signature ethereal beadwork.
Peter Langner has worked with top fashion houses like Lacroix, Laroche, Dior and
Ungaro. He is now based in Rome where he has hooked up with Italian artisans
to help cut, sew and embroider his designs. His first store was in Rome before
he opened a second one in Madrid. He now has more than 70 stores in three
continents. His work has seen him receive honors for the Bridal Couture Award in
2005 in New York and the International Guiseppe Sciacca prize in Italy. Langner is
known for his impeccable craftsmanship and refined detailing.
Ines Di Santo
Ines di Santo was born in Italy and is considered as one of the leading designers of
bridal couture. Her creations highlight femininity and are characterized by its exact
fit, originality and construction. The gowns are made in Toronto where di Santo has
her ateliers. She still personally oversees the production of every gown to ensure the
quality of the work.
Pronovias is a fashion company that used to be led by Manuel Mota, who passed
away on 8 January 2013 in Barcelona. The company is known to have created
dresses for supermodels like Miranda Kerr, Bar Refaeli and Doutzen Kroes,
including the wedding dress of the latter in 2010. Wide and cascading trains complemented by subtly tucked pockets characterize its wedding dresses usually.
Marchesa is a brand based in New York that specializes in high-end women’s wear.
Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig established the company in 2004. Some of
its celebrity clients include Penelope Cruz, Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Jennifer
Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Selena Gomez, Halle Berry, Rihanna, Taylor
Swift, Miley Cyrus, Emma Watson, Eva Longoria, Olivia Wilde, Kirsten Stewart, Nikki
Reed and Sandra Bullock. It is sold in high-end department stores like Bergdorf
Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Net-a-Porter and Neiman Marcus.
About Flip This Dress Inc.
Flip This Dress Inc. is a premier consignment shop for new and slightly-used wedding dresses. We work closely with fashion designers and experienced seamstresses to provide expert advice and alteration services for the benefit of both buyers and sellers.