A Guide to Dress Shapes
When choosing your dream wedding dress it’s easy to get stuck on the details. You love the beads, the embroidery flowers, the lace panels, etc, but stop, take a step back and look at the overall shape. Is it really the best shape for you? Does the skirt part of the dress work with the top part of the dress? Does it flatter your body shape or make certain areas of your body look bigger/smaller? You see, the overall shape of the dress can make a big difference to how you’ll look on your big day. Here’s a quick guide on the most common dress shapes so you can get an idea of what’s available and what is best for your body shape.
The ball gown
This is your typical wedding dress shape – the stuff of fairytales! It has a fitted bodice, a natural waistline (i.e. sits on your waist or a bit lower) and a full, floor-length skirt. Style tip: The ball gown shape is great if you want to add curves and create a fuller bust.
A really stylish cut. As the name suggests the basic shape is like a column, so it goes straight up and down and gently nips in to fit the body. It’s a very versatile dress shape that with the right styling can suit any body shape.
Style tip: If you’re going for a column wedding dress shape go for all out glamour with your accessories.
As the name suggests the A-line dress shape flares out from the waist or hips into the shape of an A. It’s usually quite a structured, stiff style – so it’s great in stiffer fabrics rather than floaty silks and chiffons. It’s also a great style for pear shapes as it hides and minimizes big bums and wide hips.
Style tip: If you’re going for an A-line style choose your top half carefully as a plain style on top with an A-line skirt can make you look flat-chested. Also, if you’re short be careful of a floor length A-line skirt as it could make you look shorter.
A soft, romantic dress shape the empire line dress is either fitted or gathered under the bust and then unstructured and falls from the bust line. This is a great shape for every woman and really good for showing off a cleavage – even if you don’t think you have one! Although if you have a really big bust go for a minimizing bra underneath.
Style tip: Consider your accessories and hairstyle carefully, these can set the style of the dress and make it vintage, modern or traditional.
Many people will say that a mermaid style wedding dress is just for really slim girls, well, we’re here to tell you that that’s a load of rubbish! The mermaid style is one of the most elegant cuts and can be really flattering. Usually off the shoulder the dress is fitted from the bust down to around the knees where is flares out like a fishtail. The key is getting the neckline right and making sure that the curve on the waist and hips is just right.
Style tip: As always great underwear is an absolute must and a really good bra so that your boobs are lifted can do wonders for the mermaid shape dress.
OK, let’s not get too complex here, but a bias cut dress is made from fabric that is cut vertically across the weave of the fabric. This makes a dress or a skirt cut this way drape softly around the body and gives the item of clothing a tapered look. It’s a really beautiful technique and works really well with satins and silks.
Style tip: If you’re curvy be careful with this style and wear great underwear, and if you’re pear shaped this cut is often best avoided – although with a wedding dress it depends on what the top of the dress is like.