Every girl who dreams of having the perfect wedding has twirled in front of a mirror, picturing the ideal wedding dress. For most brides-to-be, a great dress is non-negotiable. Unsurprisingly, the global bridal wear market reached an estimated $61.1 billion in 2022.
Among the highlights of a bridal gown is the neckline. One particular neckline style reigns with its stunningly elegant and feminine shape. It remains the all-time favourite of fashion-forward brides, even capturing the likes of Beyonce, Celine Dion, and Sofia Vergara, who wore some of the best celebrity wedding dresses.
The sweetheart neckline is a classic and fabulous choice. But with so many great varieties and styles, the choice doesn’t come easy. So here’s a guide on sweetheart necklines to help you make the best decision for your special day.
What Is a Sweetheart Neckline?
The sweetheart neckline features two distinct arches akin to the curves on the top half of a heart, hence the name. The arches accentuate the breast, with the V-shape sloping down the middle. It emphasizes the bust, provides a flattering and comfortable fit, and shows an elegant silhouette. It also highlights the collarbone, neck, and shoulders, a significant accessorizing component.
The history of the sweetheart dresses or the so-called “world’s sexiest neckline” can be traced as far back as the Renaissance. However, its origin remains unknown. Its fame ballooned in the Golden Age of Hollywood, led by the then ’50s starlets. Today, it’s considered the most popular neckline for wedding dresses and a prime choice for ladies’ formal.
Types of Sweetheart Necklines
This popular neckline comes in several variations, each with its distinct characteristics. Here are some of the common types:
This is the traditional and most recognizable version of the sweetheart neckline. It features a symmetrical heart shape with a gentle curve that dips low in the center. Brides with smaller chests would benefit from this style the best as it enhances the appearance of the curves.
This variation features a shallower curve and a subtle dip in the center of the neckline, creating a softer look and more coverage. In addition, it often comes with straps or sleeves, an excellent addition for ladies who want to feel more secure and comfortable.
This sweetheart style exposes more of the collarbone, with the neckline sitting lower on the shoulders. The off-shoulder look exquisitely slims the shoulders and enhances your upper body’s bone structure. It’s a splendid choice for anyone of any silhouette.
The strapless sweetheart is a famous bridal and formal wear option. As the name suggests, it has no straps or sleeves, with the neckline sitting high on the chest. It accentuates the neckline and elongates the neck. Brides with a fuller bust can work around this style with the support of a corset or boning in the bodice.
This is the asymmetrical version of the classic or the modified sweetheart, combining a one-shoulder strap or sleeve and a sweetheart neckline. It gives a unique and edgy look, with ample support that a strapless dress lacks. The single strap impresses a touch of sophistication while still maintaining the romantic shape.
This is for the ladies who want the sweetheart neckline’s flattering look minus the bare exposure of the chest. It comes with a sheer overlay or lace panel that gives the illusion of a high neckline. This is for the modest brides who don’t want to miss out on the modish sweetheart neckline feminine elements for their dream dress.
Choosing the Perfect Sweetheart Neckline Wedding Dress
The sweetheart neckline complements a wide range of styles. Its timeless appeal also makes it a part of the dream dress of many. But if you want to choose the perfect one, there are vital factors to consider. Read on and explore each of them.
Before you assess your body type, remember: the dress should fit you, not the other way around. With that, a wedding dress with a sweetheart neckline hugs your body perfectly and highlights all your best parts in the right places. Here are some sweetheart neckline tips for every body shape:
The hourglass shape falls on the curvy side, with a defined waist and nearly equal shoulders and hips. It’s the most versatile body type for fitting gowns, formal dresses, and fashionable tops.
Recommendations: Mermaid-style dresses, fit-and-flare, and corseted gowns with plunging or strapless necklines are some of the best choices for an hourglass figure.
A pear-shaped body has a narrower shoulder and bust compared to its waist and bottom. Therefore, choosing a sweetheart neckline type that balances the lower and upper body is essential for this form.
Recommendation: Pear-shaped ladies look phenomenal in an A-line dress or a ball gown with an off-shoulder and a V-neckline.
This is the opposite of the pear shape, which characterizes prominent shoulders, slimmer waists, and hips. The sweetheart neckline accentuating the neck, shoulders, and decolletage often makes the perfect choice for this body type.
Recommendations: A-line, ball gowns, mermaid dresses, and tulle skirts are great closet options for girls with an inverted triangle physique.
The apple-shaped body has a larger waist and carries some weight on the abdomen. If you have a more rounded silhouette, choose a sweetheart neckline that captures attention to your upper body and a dress fitting that cinches the waist.
Recommendations: If this is your body type, go for plunging sweetheart necklines on mermaid, sheath, trumpet, or belted gowns.
Women with straight body shapes have a rectangle or athletic shape and feature almost proportionate shoulders, waist, and hips. Therefore, it typically lacks defined curves. A moderately deep and wide sweetheart neckline looks best for this type of silhouette as it creates an illusion of a well-rounded bust.
Recommendations: Athletic ladies should have ball gowns, empire, and princess-style dresses on their wedding gown lists.
While the above dress and neckline suggestions are worth exploring, remember to consider your style. It’s your big day, and your dress should be nothing less than what best reflects you.
Fortunately, you can easily modify the sweetheart neckline look to suit different tastes. You can go the classic route or make a statement with the chic and edgy single-strap sweetheart. If you want the deep plunge without the exposure, you can layer a sheer material over your bust, which doesn’t have to be neck high.
Beyond feeling fabulous, comfort should be a deciding criterion for your wedding dress. You don’t want to spend the entirety of your wedding festivities constantly feeling the need to adjust your clothing or cover up a deep V-neck, sweetheart.
Weeks before you go dress shopping, try on dresses with various sweetheart necklines. Find out if a strapless top works for you or if you need more support and coverage. Be sure also to assess the fabric. Choosing a dress that doesn’t irritate you during prolonged periods of wear is essential. The last thing you want is to hate your wedding dress on the same day you tie the knot.
How to Style with a Sweetheart Neckline
No matter how stunning the wedding dress is, it won’t look as good as it should on the bride without styling. A dress is just a dress; the styling seals the whole look. Here are some styling tips for a sweetheart neckline dress to help you prepare:
The sweetheart neckline has the best space for any necklace style. You can use a dainty pendant to keep it simple or a statement piece for a bolder appeal. However, the key is not to overwhelm the sweetheart’s romantic curves, so make sure it hangs inches above the neckline.
Akin to necklaces, the sweetheart neckline flatters almost any earrings. But make sure your chosen earrings match your gown’s style. Chandelier earrings and studs work best for the sweetheart look.
Bracelets don’t seem necessary to your wedding jewelry, but they add that elegant sparkle to a bride’s wrist. Imagine clutching your bouquet with a delicate wristlet or a statement bangle. Then, you can further personalize it by attaching unique charms to your love story.
Make sure every jewelry piece you have complemented each other. You can also match your ring to make each work meaningful. So, if you have a gorgeous vintage engagement ring, a vintage jewelry set would be a sensible choice. Likewise, if you have a more modern diamond-studded pre-owned engagement ring, an all-diamond ensemble (it doesn’t have to be genuine) would be great.
Straight Hair Down
If you wish to keep it sleek and sophisticated, show off those long, straight, silky locks. While the hairdo fits any gown style, it’d be a perfect contrast to a dramatic or elaborately designed dress. You can also modify it by adding soft waves or end curls for a subtle touch of texture and volume.
Waves and Curls
The glam waves and curls are a definite go-to for any formal look. Soft, flowing locks and curls make the best pair for a sweetheart neckline to even out its softness with a bit of volume. Whether you pick loose beachy waves or pronounced ringlets, this hairstyle brings out that poise and confidence in you.
The up-do complements the sweetheart neckline’s best feature in impeccably accentuating the neckline and shoulders. It also creates that polished and classic look that will never go out of style when you look back at your wedding portraits. You can choose a clean bun or chignon or style it with dangling soft curls or braids to soften your features.
The half-up, half-down hairstyle focuses on your gown’s sweetheart neckline while “letting your hair down” for a relaxed yet chic look. You can also let loose some curled pieces to frame your face stylishly.
Lastly, no one should forget the iconic headpieces. Any hair accessory elevates any hairstyle, even something as simple as a crystal hairpin. You have many options, including tiaras, studded headbands, floral vines, and luxurious combs. It’s the best way to make a statement and highlight your wedding’s theme.
Makeup often has less to do with your dress and more about your preferred look. Do you want to look more on a natural side, or do you want to be daring? Want to pop off with a smokey eye or bring out the pastels? Glowy or dewy? Nude or bold lips? It would help to discuss these things with your hair and makeup team extensively. Be clear about what you want and how the look should come together.
But if you want to make the most of that fab sweetheart neckline, consider adding a shimmery highlighter to your collarbones. It helps give you a more defined “beauty bone,” making you look more attractive.
Ready to Say Yes, Sweetheart?
Every bride-to-be knows the stress of planning for that one big day. From the contractors to the bookings, ensuring every detail is on the book isn’t easy. For most, the preparations may have started only a year ago, but the dream has been there for as long as you can remember.
The wedding dress is one crucial element that can make or break the occasion. Hopping from one dress shop to another might take up a lot of time, but it’s necessary to guarantee that everything falls into place. So if you want to don a sweetheart neckline, this is for you! Here’s everything you need to know about sweetheart necklines to help you, from choosing the style to accessorizing.
Don’t hesitate to ask a professional stylist or the salesperson at the bridal boutique to assist you. With their experience and knowledge of bridal dresses, you’ll get valuable advice on what looks best on you. Congrats, and have fun!