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The different wedding dress necklines and a guide to what looks good on whom
The neckline of your wedding dress has an important role in determining how you look. Not every neckline looks good on a bride, only the ones that flatter her figure and facial features will create the best impact.
Here is a roundup of the various types of necklines that are seen in our wedding gowns at Best for Bride. Read on to find out which of these will best suit you, before you go shopping for your dream dress.
Types of wedding dress necklines
The scoop is basically a U or round neckline, the depth of which can determine the impact it creates. Its simplicity draws instant attention to the neck and face, and it is a universally flattering neckline that looks good on almost any bride. While most scoop necklines continue into the back with a slight dip, it can also be cut low in the front to give a modest display of cleavage. The rounded effect of a scoop neckline creates the illusion of curves and looks good on brides who are not liberally endowed in the chest area.
The V-neckline is a trend that is always popular, because there is a V for every bride. Any neckline that culminates in a pointed dip at the center can be classified as a V. It’s beauty is in its versatility. A deep cut plunging V-neckline is sexy and bold and looks good on brides with medium sized busts, while a high V-neckline is modest and elegant and suits both well-endowed and small chested women. The basic V-neckline looks beautiful on sleeveless gowns, but can also be found on cap-sleeve gowns and gowns with three-fourths or full sleeves.
Bateau or Sabrina
Also known as the Sabrina neckline, the bateau is easily recognized by its similarity to the shape of a boat. It has a slightly softened straight cut that extends from one collarbone to the other, and has a wide opening at the neck without revealing much of the decolletage. The bateau looks best on brides with small chests.
As the name suggests, this neckline lacks straps and the support is built into the bodice. The neckline may either cut straight across the bust, or slightly curve for a softer look. Since this neckline draws instant focus to the upper body, it looks good on women who have moderate size busts and should be avoided by small-chested and large-chested brides. Additionally, it is not recommended for tall, thin women as it can emphasize their height and make them look skinny.
A soft and feminine design, the sweetheart neckline resembles the upper half of a heart as it closely follows the natural curves of the bust and slightly dips in the center. This is a very popular neckline, and is also commonly paired with lace or sheer fabric to form attractive illusion necklines. It is usually paired with sleeveless or illusion style dresses but may sometimes be found on dresses with longer sleeve lengths. The design showcases the neck, decolletage and shoulders with elegance. Best recommended for brides with slender arms and shoulders, it should be avoided by brides who have too large chest areas.
A pattern that has recently gained popularity, off-the-shoulder necklines are characterized by the absence of sleeves around the shoulder. Instead the sleeves and neckline begin lower than the shoulder and extends in a line, across the chest. It thus draws attention to the shoulders, collar bones and decolletage. A very modern and trendy pattern, this neckline is a great choice for slender brides with well-toned arms and a beautiful neck. It is not recommended for brides with chubby necks and thick shoulders.
Here, the straps go around the neck and close at the back. Commonly seen on sleeveless gowns, the neckline usually closes with buttons or fabric behind the neck. It is stylish and slimming and may be cut low to reveal cleavage, or cut high to look very modest. The pattern is suitable for slim brides who wish to emphasize their bust area. Halters with sleeveless styles look great on women with long and thin necks and broad shoulders. It is not suitable for women with thick, short necks.
Single shoulder neckline
A neckline that instantly reminds us of Grecian goddesses and makes a befitting choice for beach weddings, the single shoulder neckline drapes towards just one shoulder, leaving the remaining one exposed. Also known as the asymmetrical neckline, it is very stylish and perfect for a dramatic bridal look. The single shoulder strap gives it more sophistication than the nearest similar look—the strapless design. It looks beautiful on women with narrow shoulders and thin arms. It will also suit brides with long necks and thin collarbones. In certain variations of this basic pattern, there may be a slender strap on the other shoulder, with an asymmetrical neckline that drapes more prominently towards one side.
This neckline features draped fabric that loosely hangs around the neck of the dress. The thicker fabric at the neck draws instant attention to the neck and the amount of chest that is being exposed. It can be paired with sleeveless dresses or those with sleeves. The neckline is suggested for brides with medium to small busts, as it emphasizes the upper body and makes it look bulkier than it actually is. Proper placing of the draped fabric can also work to shift focus from a full bust, but it can be revealing and so should be chosen with due care.
One of the most happening necklines, the illusion neckline is a universal classic. It features lace or sheer fabric that covers the bodice and continues upwards to form a higher second neckline. The sheer layer contrasts noticeably with the underlying fabric, and creates an ethereal finish. The most dramatic pairings are with sweetheart bodices, although it works with almost any other bodice too. The illusion neckline is often decorated with intricate lace designs, beading, embroidery or crystal work to create masterpieces of art. Such necklines eliminate the need for a necklace. The layer of thin fabric over the sweetheart or strapless neckline within it, offers support and gives the gown a modest yet sophisticated look. The illusion design used on the neckline often continues into the back of the dress too, crafting unique gowns with spellbinding effects.
Queen Anne Neckline
Similar to a halter-neck, the Queen Anne neckline is however higher up in the back of the neck and lower in the front. It is safe to say that it looks like the dress has a collar at the back, but recedes into a partially opened front. A sweetheart neckline in the front is a common design employed with this half-collar design. It has a very formal look, and this neckline is perfect for brides who do not want to display cleavage, shoulders or collar bones. It is usually paired with long sleeved gowns, to make maximum use of the elegance of its design.
As the name suggests, the neckline and the straps meet at right angles. The depth of this neckline may vary from shallow to deep, and it may either be narrow or wide. The neckline looks good on brides with round faces, as the sharp lines defining the edges draws attention away from the roundness of the face.
Very thin strands form the straps of these sleeveless gowns. The neckline as such may be cowl, scoop, V or sweetheart. The straps are usually adorned with scintillating elements to add a dose of glitz to the dress. Not only is it very stylish, it is also a modern choice that is youthful and fashionable. These straps are usually paired with modern and figure-fitting silhouettes to form glamorous gowns. It is a perfect choice if you have beautiful, well-toned shoulders and elegant collarbones. Spaghetti strap wedding gowns may not be a good idea for brides who have chunky necks and shoulders.
This can be considered a very high-cut scoop neckline, where the neckline is exactly at the area where the neck ends. It is modest, and covers up the upper torso, shoulders and collar bones. The jewel neckline is similar to a typical T-shirt neckline. It is usually paired with sleeveless wedding gowns that extend into ball gown skirts, mermaid gowns and A-line dresses. It is a perfect choice for formal wedding ceremonies, held in a place of worship. Suggested for brides who want a supported bodice and do not want to draw attention to their chest area.
This covers all the different necklines that are commonly found on wedding dresses.
How to choose a suitable neckline
When choosing your wedding dress neckline, what are the basic factors you should consider? This article on the Oasis Events blog tells us that the three most important elements that should help you determine your choice of neckline are—body type, face shape and bust size.
Let us look at each of these factors in detail.
Body Type: The idea of choosing any dress feature is to create a balance in look. Average sized women, with slender figures can carry off most necklines. Brides who are on the heavier side should look for necklines like the square or V, which have prominent lines that can elongate and make them look slimmer. Extremely thin women should opt for curved and wide necklines that will give a more rounded appearance to their face. The bateau, scoop and jewel will be good choices.
The shoulder width is also to be considered when choosing the neckline. Women with broad shoulders should avoid necklines like the halter or spaghetti straps that create the impression of a larger shoulder. Similarly, if you have large shoulders, choose necklines that reduce the impact by shifting focus to another area. Scoop and V-necklines do this. For brides with very narrow shoulders, choose horizontally stretched necklines like the bateau or low-cut necklines.
Face shape: Unless your face is symmetrical and oval, you have to pay close attention when choosing your necklines. Oval and angular faces can make do with almost any neckline. For long faces, necklines that are horizontal are best. Bateau and off-the-shoulder necklines are examples. Brides with round faces should look at V-necklines or other designs that balance out the roundness of their faces. A wide neckline, on the other hand, will further add fullness to your face and blow your facial proportions even bigger.
Bust size: Last but not the least, your chest proportions have a role to play where your neckline choice is concerned. Brides with moderate or average busts will look good in almost any neckline. Small-chested brides should choose necklines that create the illusion of curves and emphasize the thickness of the chest. High necklines like the bateau, Queen Anne and sweetheart necklines are a good idea. They should avoid strapless designs or thick cowl necklines. Brides who have large busts should opt for supportive neck designs like the Queen Anne, scoop or V. They should be cautious when choosing the sweetheart and plunging V, as they can end up looking bulkier than they actually are. The illusion neckline is one universal neckline that works well for most brides.
On a final note, we should add that there are several variations for each neckline. So don’t be jaded by what is suggested for each. It is possible that a certain variation of a neckline may work well for you, so treat these only as a guideline. Trust your bridal consultant to understand what will work for you, and keep your options open.
To take a closer look at any of the dresses featured here, or to look at more of our splendid designer wedding dresses, visit our bridal gallery at Best for Bride. With a collection as vast as ours, you will have no difficulty finding a wedding dress with not just the neckline, but every other feature that you desire. Visit Best for Bride today and make your wedding dress dreams a reality.