Wedding Dress Styles by Body Type
Ultimately, you can wear any style of wedding gown you’re comfortable in. If you’re a bride in need of some suggestions or feeling overwhelmed with options, here are some tips for finding the most flattering silhouette for your body type.
Wedding Dresses for Short Brides
Short brides can feel overwhelmed by too much fabric — like they’re “drowning in the dress.” For this reason, ball gowns are probably not a good option. To get the same “feel” as a ball gown on a shorter figure, try an A-line dress with some layering at the skirt. It will have a similar traditional look without being overwhelming. Sheath or column dresses are flattering on short brides because they have a lengthening effect. The fabric is fitted to the body without flaring out at the bottom, creating an optical illusion of added height. A shorter tea length dress, about knee length, can be a playful look on short brides.
Wedding Dresses for Tall Brides
Tall brides will probably like a lot of dress styles. Ball gowns and full mermaid skirts are a great option, as you have the height to pull off a very full skirt without it overwhelming your frame. A flattering bateau neckline can add elegance while still complementing your body type. If you don’t want to elongate your upper body, high neck lines probably aren’t for you. A longer tea length gown is a great way to show off your ankles and lower legs while still having a formal feel.
Best Wedding Dresses for Large Busts
A common stressor for brides with large busts is the lack of support that a wedding dress has, as most are lightly lined or have thin sewn-in padding. If the thought of this makes you uncomfortable, it may be worth finding a dress that can accommodate an actual underwire bra underneath.
Necklines like halter, V-neck, boat neck, jewel, scoop and square can all accommodate bra straps. Dresses with a corset-style top can accentuate your curves while providing support. It is also possible to work with a boutique for a made-to-order dress if your dream gown is off-shoulder or has a cut-out back. Then, the dress can be made to give you the support you need without sacrificing the style you want.
If you want to balance out your curves, a full skirt can give you more of a classic look and less of a curvy silhouette. Keep in mind that a sheath or column might cling to your bust and not the rest of your body.
Wedding Dresses for Apple Shape
Some brides with an apple body shape tend to prefer silhouettes that give them a more defined natural waist while drawing attention away from the hips. An empire waist gown will create a cinched waist and a more balanced look, as will a tea length dress with a full skirt. Ball gowns are also a great look for this body type, especially those with a basque or traditional waistline. If you want to emphasize the upper body over the lower body, avoid dropped waistlines and mermaid fits, as they can add extra attention to the lower body.
Wedding Gowns for Curvy Figures
If you want to flaunt your curves, try a mermaid or trumpet silhouette. A mermaid silhouette hugs the body tightly until the knees. If that sounds too constricting or intense, a trumpet silhouette is basically a more subtle version of the mermaid. The trumpet has a straight-lined skirt and gently flares out above the knee.
If you don’t want to overemphasize the hips, avoid an empire waist, and if you don’t want to accentuate your curves, a classic A-line or dropped-waist fit could be perfect for you.
Wedding Dresses for Hourglass and Thin Figures
Play up your curves with a mermaid silhouette, or show them off with a fitted sheath style. A good compromise between the two is a trumpet silhouette that accentuates your curves without being very tight at the legs. You may love a full ball gown if you’re taller or a less dramatic A-line if you’re a little shorter.
Wedding Dresses for Narrow Hips
Brides with narrow hips or an inverted triangle body shape (wider at the shoulders than the hips) typically want a dress that brings balance. Gowns that flare out at your natural waistline — like ball gowns and A-lines — and tea length dresses are perfect for creating an hourglass appearance. Some mermaid and trumpet dresses can have this effect as well. Avoid a sheath silhouette — it will make your hips fall flat.
Maternity Wedding Dresses
If you’ll be over four months pregnant by your wedding, you’ll want to pick a dress that has room to expand and isn’t constricting. Usually, the go-to is an empire waist A-line dress. This silhouette has a high waistline, allowing the fabric to expand just where you need it. Avoid tight silhouettes, as you won’t be able to predict how big your stomach will be by your wedding, and you’ll likely be uncomfortable in it. If you want to accentuate your baby bump, a light fabric in a sheath or trumpet cut can do the trick.