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The comprehensive guide to understanding body types and how it relates to wedding dress selection

Why is it important to identify your body type before you shop for your wedding dress?

Does the very thought of wedding dress shopping make your nervous?

As exciting as bridal dress shopping is, many brides dread the idea of choosing the wrong dress for their special day. This can be an expensive and often, irreversible mistake.

Now, here’s the good news! You can avoid such a mistake.

Wedding dress shopping isn’t complicated if you understand certain basic concepts about dress selection. And this is what we will explore in detail.

I’ll first describe the exact step-by-step procedure to identify your body type, since this factor has great significance in your wedding dress selection.

Thereafter, I’ll help you identify the best wedding dress choices based on your findings. Keep reading to find out more.

How to identify your body type

One of the first and most important factors to consider when selecting any dress (not just wedding dresses), is identifying your body type.

Yes, this is important, because dressing right is about celebrating your best features and hiding (or diverting attention from) the less desirable ones.

If you search online, you will find tons of articles describing different ways to identify your body type. Most of these work with three measurements: the bust, waist and hips. However, wedding dresses are more fitted than regular garments. So, you will require one more measurement, and that is your shoulders.

When it comes to determining your actual body type, we will be following the Bayou equation , where the shoulder and bust measurements can be used interchangeably. This is because not all women are alike.

So, if you have a particularly big or small bust or broad/narrow shoulders, you may fall into two categories, instead of just one. In such a case, you should ideally explore options that are suitable for both body types and find dresses that suit you best.

Let us get on with the actual measurement procedure. 

How to accurately measure yourself to find your body type

You will be taking your measurements standing upright. Here is what you will need for it:

  • An accurate tape measure and notepad for the reading
  • A calculator
  • Comfortable fitting clothes
  • A helping hand (optional)

Although you can do the measurements yourself, the shoulder and bust measurements are usually more accurate when someone else does it for you.

Here is how to carry out each measurement.

Shoulders: It is better to have a friend measure this for you. Your shoulder measurement is the total tape length from one edge of the shoulder all around you to the same point.

Bust: This is the circumference measure across the fullest part of your bust, holding the tape taut but not too tight.

Waist: Locate the narrowest part of your waist. It will usually be just above your belly button. Use a tape measure to go around your body along this point and note it down.

Hips: This measurement should be taken just below the hip bone. Locate this point and find the circumference of this area.

If you aren’t sure of getting the measurements right, here’s a guide on wikiHow that will help you with detailed instructions and illustrations.

 Identifying your body type based on your measurements

Now that you have all your measurements, it is time to use your calculator and do the following Math.

  1. Shoulders or bust / hips
  2. Waist / shoulders or bust
  3. Hips / shoulders or bust
  4. Waist / Hips

Once you have these numbers figured out, you can use them to identify your body type from the four different standard types, which are:

  1. Apple or Inverted Triangle
  2. Rectangle or straight body type
  3. Pear or Triangle
  4. Hourglass

These are based on Bradley Bayou’s technique, as outlined in his book, The science of sexy.

You can also find detailed explanations for these calculations, here on the Oprah website.

Now, let us look at how to correlate the numbers you just figured out to the corresponding body type. 

Different body types and their characteristic features

To discover your body type, you will need the numbers you just measured as well as those that you previously calculated. They were:

  1. Shoulders
  2. Bust
  3. Waist
  4. Hips

And the ratios of

  1. Shoulders or bust / hips
  2. Waist / shoulders or bust
  3. Hips / shoulders or bust
  4. Waist / Hips

Read on to understand the four different body types and find out which of these you identify with best.

Apple or Inverted Triangle

If you are an inverted triangle, the ratio of (Shoulders or bust / hips) will be greater than or equal to 1.05.

This means that your shoulder or bust measurement will be greater than your hip measurement by 5%.

Defining characteristic: your shoulders or bust will be larger than your hips.

Rectangle or banana

Pay attention to the ratio of (waist / shoulders or bust). If you are a rectangle, this ratio will be greater than or equal to 0.75.

If this is the case, next look at your bust and hip measurements. They should be within 5% of each other. To establish this, take the largest of your three measurements and multiply it by 0.95. Then multiply the remaining two measurements. If the result is greater than that of the (largest measurement x 0.95), you are a rectangle.

Defining characteristic: Your shoulders, hips and bust are similar in size.

Pear or Triangle

If you are a triangle, the ratio of (Hips / Shoulders or bust) will be greater than or equal to 1.05

In other words, your hips will measure at least 5% more than your shoulders or bust.

Defining characteristic: Your hips are broader than your shoulders

Hour glass

There are three factors to satisfy if you are an hourglass

Firstly, the ratio of (waist / hips) should be Less than or equal to 0.75

Next, the ratio of (Waist / Shoulders or bust) is less than 0.75

And finally, your shoulder and hip measurements will not differ by more than 5%.

Defining Characteristic: Your upper and lower halves are well-balanced, with a well-defined waistline.

If you would like to further evaluate these formulae or understand each of these calculations and how they relate to the different body types, visit this article on the Daily Fashion Muse. 

So, we have now understood how to identify each of the body types using different measurements and calculations. We also analyzed the defining characteristics of all the four body types.

Let us now look at the desirable features as well as the less favorable aspects of different body types. 

Desirable features and less favorable aspects of different body types—what to highlight and hide

Even before you identified your body type with the help of this guide, haven’t you felt that certain dress styles look better on you than others?

This is because each body shape has certain desirable features and some less flattering ones. Different dress styles draw attention to different aspects that work in the favor of certain body types.

So, let us start.

Apple or Inverted triangle.

Best features: Your curves, slim legs and full bust

Less desirable feature: Thick waistline and narrow hips

When choosing a wedding dress, you should focus on creating a curvy look by adding definition to your waistline. Styles that flare out at the hips, concealing its narrow dimensions will balance both halves your body. Also look for designs that add volume and curves to the lower half, thus toning down the dimensions of the top half.

Rectangle or Banana

Best features: Smaller bust

Less desirable features: Lack of curves and undefined waistline

Silhouettes that create the illusion of curves where there aren’t any, are the best choice for this body type. Skirts with added texture or elements like ruffles and bows that add volume will enhance the dimensions of your hips and create a curvy figure.

Pear or Triangle

Best features: Small bust and narrow waistline

Less desirable features: Large hips

Keep details in the hip area simple and tone it down with more texture and added volume in the upper half. Dresses that flare from the waistline will conceal and distract from the hips. They will also highlight your upper torso and small bust.

Hour glass

Best features: Balanced upper and lower halves and well-defined waistline

The hourglass is considered the ideal body type as it is naturally balanced and curvy. Close-fitting dress styles that highlight your natural curves are the best choice for this body type. Nevertheless, the hourglass can carry off any dress style easily and you will have more options to choose from if you are an hourglass than any other body type. 

Understanding popular wedding dress silhouettes

By now, you should have successfully identified your body type and you should also be aware of the best and less desirable features of it. So, what is next?

Finding the ideal wedding dress silhouettes for your body type, isn’t it?

Well, not just yet.

Before we go there, I think you ought to understand the different types of wedding dress silhouettes that are currently available. This will help you understand what each one looks like and why some of them are suitable for your body type, while others aren’t.

So, here are the top-most and popular wedding dress silhouettes you should be aware of:

A-line

Look at the dress in this image. Do you see how it resembles the shape of an A, with the skirt that flares out from the waistline? Hence the name A-line!

So, this dress style basically has a bodice that fits closely along the rib cage and then flares out into a smooth A-shape from the waist.

A variation of the A-line, called the modified A-line is also gaining popularity among brides. Here is one such gown.

Notice how it is fitted along the bodice and the waistline, all the way down to the hips. It gently flares into an A-line shape from the hips downwards. The benefit of this style is that it is roomier around the hips. Although the simple A-line silhouette is a classic, the modified A-line dress has an edgier look, and is better suited for a modern touch.

Ballgown

The signature princess style silhouette, this style is characterized by its full and voluminous skirt. The dress style also features a snug-fitting bodice that offsets the thick skirt. Here is a perfect example.

You simply cannot miss the thick and wide skirt that characterizes this silhouette. It is a very feminine style that is dramatic from every angle. Whether it is the fitted bodice, the ample skirt or the statement train, the ball gown is the silhouette that can stir up quite an impact.

Mermaid

If you wish to show off your natural curves, there couldn’t be a better silhouette to choose. The mermaid fits snugly all the way from the bodice to the waist and hips, down to the knees. It then flares out beyond the knees, creating a stunning statement. Look at this dress and you will see what I mean.

Not only is the silhouette sexy, it also oozes confidence and style. Not every bride can carry a mermaid-style dress well. So, if you have the body for it, it is a style you shouldn’t overlook.

Trumpet

This silhouette is often confused with the mermaid. However, there are stark differences.

Firstly, the bodice is straight and not snug-fitting like the mermaid. It is also more forgiving than the mermaid, since this style flares out from above the knees.

Here is a trumpet style dress to demonstrate this difference.

Do you see how the shape closely resembles that of a trumpet? The skirt is also less voluminous compared to the mermaid. Nonetheless, it is a style that allows you to highlight your curves and feminine figure.

Sheath

Just as the name suggests, the sheath is a straight silhouette which falls to full length after skimming the body along its natural curves. The sheath is unusually feminine, like you can see in the following image.

This is because of how it gently hugs the body, without being too close-fitted. This creates the illusion of curves, even when there aren’t any. The silhouette also elongates the body, making it appear taller and slimmer.

Empire

This is a unique silhouette that is defined by its raised waistline. Unlike other wedding dress silhouettes, the waistline in an empire dress is higher than the natural waistline. It appears just under the bust. The following image illustrates how it looks.

If you look carefully, you will see how the bust has a very distinct demarcation, and the skirt flows into layers right beneath it. It gradually flares away from the body, but the difference is that this happens from right under the bodice. The skirt is loosely draped, while the bodice is well-defined. This style camouflages the waistline and hips, and is a very forgiving style that hides the flaws in the lower body.

Dropped waist

Just like the name suggests, this dress silhouette has its waistline lower than the natural waistline. So, the bodice continues all the way down to below the waist, and slowly flares into a skirt that flows to full length. For instance, check out this dress.

This is a popular dropped waist design, where the draped bodice continues all the way down the waistline to near the hips, where it then flares out into a full skirt. The dropped waistline detail is emphasized with the draping pattern of the dress. The style elongates the torso, making you appear slimmer in the upper body and adding more volume to the lower half beyond the hips

That brings us to the end of the most popular wedding dress silhouettes that you will come across. Now, let’s move on to the fun part—identifying the best wedding dress silhouettes for each body type!

Remember that there may be more than one silhouette recommended for each body type.

This gives you a good variety to choose from. It also means, you can have a lot of fun trying dresses of each type during your wedding shopping appointment, till you find your favorite. 

Best wedding dress silhouettes for each body type

In the previous chapters, we looked at how to identify the different body types. We also covered the characteristic features of each body type, including ones that are desirable and those that are best camouflaged.

We also analyzed the most popular wedding dress silhouettes available. It is now time to combine all this information together. This will help us to find suitable wedding dress silhouettes for each body type.

Read on to find out what are the recommended dress styles for each body type, and don’t forget to make note of what is right for you.

Apple or inverted Triangle

The ideal wedding dress will help you flaunt your curves, which is your strongest asset. It will also hide your slight hips, and create a curvy look by adding more volume to this area. Here are some suggestions:

Recommended dress silhouettes:

An A-line dress with a thick skirt will look beautiful on you. Aim to find one that nips at the waist and flares out beyond it. This will create the illusion of a slim waistline, and highlight a curvy figure.

Also look at ball gowns. The full skirt of this style makes it best for brides with slender hips and legs.  They achieve the same effect as an A-line gown, with a slim waistline and thick layers in the skirt that create a curvy figure.

Styles to avoid:

The basic idea is to avoid any dress style that draws attention to your slender lower half or thicker waistline. This would mean dresses like the trumpet and mermaid that fit closely all the way down to the hips.

Rectangle or banana

If your body type is straight or rectangle, you will lack a curvy appearance. So, dresses that create the illusion of curves where there aren’t any are the best choices.

Recommended dress silhouettes:

Explore ball gowns, since these create a very feminine look with a nipped waistline and thick skirt. This will also draw attention to your small bust, while balancing out the overall look with a full skirt.

Another dress style that works on straight figures is the sheath. Since the dress loosely drapes along your natural body, it adds the illusion of curves.

Styles to avoid:

Any dress silhouette that lacks a defined waistline will exaggerate your straight figure. So, avoid styles like the fit and flare, mermaid or dropped waist gowns.

Pear or Triangle

Your best asset is your toned and trim upper body. So, dresses that draw attention to this area and distract from your ample hips will look best. Since you have a small bust, you can also consider dresses with textured and embellished bodices.

Recommended dress silhouettes:

Ball gowns flow away from the waistline, thus camouflaging your large hips. So, this is a great choice to consider.

A similar effect can also be achieved with an A-line dress that flares out from the waist, hiding the area below it under layers of fabric.

Styles to avoid:

Avoid any style that accentuates the hip or stomach area, since these are your less desirable traits. This means that the trumpet is a definite no! Also avoid the sheath, since it adds more volume to the lower half.

Hour glass

If you are an hourglass figure, you are fortunate. Yours is the body type that looks amazing in any and every wedding dress silhouette. Nevertheless, flaunt your beautiful natural curves in dresses that draw attention to your figure. Choose wedding dress silhouettes that will highlight your natural figure, and you will look stunning. Here are some suggestions.

Recommended dress silhouettes:

Yours is the perfect body type to flaunt fit and flare dress styles like the mermaid and trumpet. Since these silhouettes course snugly along your natural curves and flare out beyond the hips, it will create a dramatic look.

Styles to avoid:

A well-balanced figure like the hourglass will look good in any dress silhouette. So, there are no specific dress styles to avoid. Even so, it is a shame to hide your curvy and sensual figure under dresses which drown you in layers of fabric. Although you will be able to carry it off, you can do better than choosing an A-line or sheath silhouette. 

Wedding dress selection for plus-size and petite brides

Apart from the different body types we discussed earlier, there are two more that we haven’t looked at till now. These are:

Plus-size and petite

This guide would be incomplete unless we discuss wedding dress selection for women who fit this category too. So, let us find out more.

What is plus size and petite?

In the fashion industry, anyone with larger than average proportions is plus-size. So, the typical dress sizes in this case would be 14 or more.

Petite women, on the other hand, have a small stature and are shorter than average. Their characteristic feature is a well-balanced overall figure but height that is less than 5’3”.

Let us look at wedding dress selection for both the plus-size and petite bride in detail.

Defining characteristics of plus-size brides

The fit and proportion of plus-size women differ from that of other women, as their curves are more exaggerated. Most plus-size women are curvy in nature.

Plus-size women also have body types that fit into the five different categories we discussed earlier: triangle, straight, inverted triangle and hourglass. The only difference is that the actual measurements for these women will be larger than the average.

Best wedding dress silhouettes:

The best wedding dress silhouette for your body shape will depend on which body type you resemble closely. Use the guidelines in the previous chapter to determine the best dress silhouettes for your body type.

Nevertheless, a general recommendation is that you choose dresses with good fitting, so it plays up your natural shape.

The empire-style and dresses with a well-defined waistline like the A-line or ball gown look amazing on plus-size brides.

Styles to avoid:

Stay away from loosely draped dress silhouettes like the sheath. These only add extra pounds to your look. Also avoid fabrics that cling and instead opt for structured gowns.

Check out our video below, for more help with dress selection when you are plus-size.

Defining characteristics of petite brides

Petite brides are short, but with a well-balanced figure. However, their height can make it difficult to find many options in wedding dresses, as the typical wedding dress is designed for women of height 5’5” or more.

Best wedding dress silhouettes:

Any wedding dress style that creates the illusion of extra height by raising the waistline is recommended for petite brides. A-line dresses, trumpets and sheaths also work for this body type, since it is well-balanced in both halves.

Styles to avoid:

Petite brides will look even shorter in dresses with dropped waists. So, this is definitely a style you shouldn’t wear. Similarly, elaborate silhouettes like the ball gown can overwhelm the smaller size of a petite bride and is best avoided. 

Do check the following eHow video for more tips on selecting your wedding dress, when you are a petite bride.

Checklist for understanding your body type and selecting the right wedding dress

Now that we’ve covered the entire scope of this subject, I thought this quick and easy checklist will help you with your wedding dress selection. So, here are the steps to follow.

  • Begin by attempting to identify your body type by measuring your
  • Shoulders
  • Bust
  • Waist and
  • Hips
  • Perform the following calculations
  • Shoulders or bust/hips
  • Waist/ shoulders or bust
  • Hips/ shoulders or bust
  • Waist/ hips
  • Correlate your measurements with the identified body types:
  • Apple or inverted triangle
  • Banana or rectangle
  • Pear or triangle
  • Hourglass
  • Plus-size
  • Petite
  • Cross-check with the suggested dress silhouettes to understand your options

And finally,

  • Go wedding dress shopping, armed with this information!

So, that’s it about the different aspects of wedding dress shopping by body type. Didn’t I tell you that it wasn’t complicated if you followed the right steps?

Now you know all about identifying your body type and choosing the right wedding dress silhouettes accordingly. So, tell me what are the new features you will be looking for when you go wedding dress shopping by dropping us a comment below.

For inspiration and also a look at the latest trends in wedding dress fashion, visit this link to our bridal dresses. You will find an enormous variety of wedding dresses with all style features and details here. Use it to shortlist your favorites and prepare yourself for when you go shopping.

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Demystifying wedding dress silhouettes—All you wanted to know about different wedding dress styles

If we say that finding the perfect wedding dress is as challenging as finding the perfect groom, will you agree?

The wedding fashion scene presents an overwhelming variety of options in wedding dress. This, of course adds to the excitement of dress shopping; however, wait till you set foot in a bridal shop, and all this variety will only add to your confusion.

Nevertheless, you must find a way out and reach your goal—a “dream wedding dress” perfect for the most special day in your life! And for this you must know what your options are and direct your attention to choices most suitable for you.

Clever brides know that the wedding dress search begins with choosing the right wedding dress silhouette.

So, join us as we explore this first step in detail. In the coming sections, we will look at different wedding dress silhouettes and identify which of these is best for you based on your body shape.

Let us begin!

Chapter 1: Wedding dress silhouettes—how are they different from regular clothing? 

Wedding dresses are very different from regular clothes in the following ways

  • They are complex garments that have internal boning and other special elements like corsets and heavily layered fabric. These features hold the gown up by creating its structure and shape and allow it to drape perfectly. You will rarely see these features in regular clothes.
  • Most wedding dress silhouettes involve intricate and elaborate details like embroidery and lace appliques. This type of fine work is often hand-embroidered.
  • The fabric used in designer wedding dresses is of high-quality, expensive and made of the finest fabrics.
  • Look closely at any designer wedding dress. You can see the impressive quality of work at each level. Everything from how the seams are made to the definition of details will be impeccable.

This video will help you better understand the extent of work that goes into the construction of a wedding gown.

See how much effort it involves?

So, wedding dresses are very different from any other garments!

Now, let us move on to the key factor that differentiates different wedding dress styles—the Silhouette!

By silhouette, what we mean is the shape that your body has when you wear the dress. Wedding dress designers follow certain basic structures when designing wedding dresses. Although there is a stunning variety in style aspects like neckline, sleeves, fabric and length, there are only a handful of wedding dress silhouettes.

Recognize the wedding dress silhouettes that flatter your body type best and your search for the perfect dress becomes much easier. We will tell you why in the coming section.

Chapter 2: Importance of wedding dress silhouettes in your search 

We already told you that the silhouette is a defining factor of a wedding dress, which is basically the shape that your body achieves when you wear a certain gown.

Since there are just few wedding dress silhouettes, you can use this as the starting point for your wedding dress search. Identify the dress silhouettes that suit your body type and appeal to your taste and it will be easy to narrow down the rest of your search criteria.

Let us look at this with an example.

Say, you decide to go with the ball gown silhouette. So, this is your first search criterion.

When you convey this information to your bridal consultant, she will only bring you ball gowns to try on. This eliminates the need to explore other silhouettes. Such a focused search will save you time and effort.

Except for the highly unlikely situation that you do not find a single ball gown that you like, you need not even pay attention to any other dress style.

Chapter 3: Types of wedding dress silhouettes 

Let us now move on to decoding each wedding dress silhouette in detail. For this, we will discuss the defining characteristics of different silhouettes as well as the pros and cons of each style.

The first one on the list is the ball gown.

Ball Gowns 

Think fairytale, and the ball gown is the first style that pops into mind!

The ball gown is a silhouette that says ‘bride’ so very clearly. Synonymous with the princess look, it is opulent and dramatic.

Ball gowns always feature a fitted bodice, defined waistline and full skirt. The contrast between the top and bottom halves of the dress is what makes this silhouette very dramatic.

These dressy gowns are created in fabrics like silk, taffeta and tulle and the skirt is structured to hold a fancy, bouffant style. Ball gowns feature different necklines and sleeve styles, as the ballooning skirt can hold its own against any elaborate or simple bodice.

If you want a dramatic and striking look without much effort, the ball gown is the perfect choice. You will have no dearth of options as there are ball gowns with tiered skirts, ruffle details and stunning embellishments in the hemline or scattered in the skirt. This style looks good on most body types, and hence is a safe choice.

Modern versions feature illusion bodices, striking back details and crisp lines that add flair to this classic silhouette. When fashioned in shantung or dupioni silk, the look is polished and sophisticated.

This dress style works just great for weddings in the cooler months, since it offers ample coverage and keeps you cozy under layers of fabric. When your silhouette is as dramatic as a ball gown, you need few other accessories to complete your wedding day look.

Who should avoid ball gowns?  

Ball gowns are not the best choice for brides who are petite or curvy. Petite body structures tend to be swallowed by the elaborate layers in a ball gown. Similarly, curvy brides will look fuller when they opt for this silhouette.

Still unsure? Visit this post for more reasons on why the ball gown is an amazing choice.

Here are some sample ball gown styles from our collection to inspire you.

Sweetheart neckline, draped bodice and ball gown skirt

Romantic illusion bodice and lace appliques on ball gown skirt

Modern ball gown with sheer bodice and spaghetti straps

For a quick and easy understanding of the ball gown shape in wedding dresses, we suggest you view this video.

A-line and modified A-line 

The very name of this wedding dress silhouette is self-explanatory, isn’t it?

The easiest way to identify an A-line dress is to check whether it resembles the shape of a letter A. A-line gowns have a fitted bodice and waistline and open into a full skirt beyond the waist. This makes the silhouette look like the letter A.

This style is classic and elegant and is suitable for both formal and casual wedding themes. The A-line skirt is also very versatile, and works well with any neckline and sleeve style.

Now, there is a variation of the A-line that is very popular. It is the modified A-line, which is very similar to the classic A-line, except that the dress has a fitted bodice and waistline that continues down to the hips. It flares into a full skirt only beyond the hips, thus defining the natural curves of the body better than a regular A-line wedding dress silhouette.

The modified A-line is the perfect balance between the classic A-line and mermaid. It defines the shape better than an A-line, but allows easier movement than the mermaid.

A-line silhouettes are universally flattering choices, that look good on most body types. Hence it is a very popular choice among brides. Here is a video that explains the shape and structure of the A-line silhouette in detail.

Here are some of the diverse choices in A-line wedding dresses from our collection at Best for Bride.

Sweetheart neckline and lace embellishments on A-line wedding gown

Illusion halter neckline with sweetheart bodice and A-line wedding skirt

Plunging V-neckline on sleeveless lace bodice A-line gown

 Trumpet 

The trumpet is a wedding dress silhouette with a straight bodice that continues down the waistline and hips. The skirt begins at mid-thigh and opens out into a flared shape that resembles a trumpet. The flared skirt is easy to move around in.

The straight shape of the top-half draws attention to the stomach and hip area. Hence it is a good choice for women with slender waistlines and delicate figures. Brides with a curvy figure can accentuate their curves with a trumpet silhouette.

However, if you have a full figure, we believe this may not be the ideal choice since it further enhances your natural curves and draws attention to less desirable areas of your body.

You can find trumpet dresses with all types of necklines, sleeves and interesting features. Watch all that we just discussed in the video below.

Here are some trumpet dress silhouettes from our collection.

Spaghetti strap trumpet dress with all over lace design

Off-the-shoulder lace trumpet gown with full-length illusion sleeves

High neckline with illusion lace motifs over sweetheart bodice and trumpet skirt

Mermaid 

Do you want a sexy, stylish and stunning wedding dress silhouette?

Then, the mermaid is the best choice to consider. It has a fitted bodice that closely fits the natural curves of the body all the way down the waistline and hips. The silhouette flares out into a dramatic and full skirt below the knees, creating a stunning effect.

The fitted style of the mermaid makes it suitable for curvy brides who like to show off their natural shape. It is not the best choice for brides with bulky waistlines and hips, since the shape highlights these areas.

Don’t worry if you find yourself confused between the mermaid and fit and flare. Both wedding dress silhouettes have similar shapes and it isn’t always easy to distinguish between them. However, there are differences. So, look for the following.

  • The bodice in the fit and flare gown is straight while the mermaid features a fitted bodice that closely curves along the natural body shape.
  • The skirt in the trumpet silhouette usually starts at mid-thigh while the mermaid skirt flares out further below, at knee level.

Here are some mermaid dresses

Dramatic strapless satin mermaid dress with ruffle skirt detail

Flounced organza mermaid wedding dress with embellished bodice

Ruffled mermaid gown with lace applique embellishments in bodice

Fit and Flare 

Like the mermaid and trumpet, the fit and flare silhouette also has a fitted bodice and a full skirt. However, the difference here is that the skirt flares out gradually, beginning at the waistline. In the case of the trumpet and mermaid, the flaring of the skirt occurs much below, at thigh or knee level.

The fact that the fit and flare silhouette has a skirt that gradually flares out makes it comfortable to move around in. Hence it is convenient to dance, walk around or climb stairs in it.

The fit and flare dress looks good on brides with slender waistlines. Since it draws attention to the waistline and bust, it can also be worn by brides who wish to distract from their hips and legs.

Here is a video to demonstrate the difference between the fit and flare, mermaid and trumpet silhouettes.

Let us now look at some examples of fit and flare dresses.

All-over lace appliques on fit and flare silhouette with V-neckline

Satin minimalist sleeveless gown with fit and flare silhouette

Sheath 

This is one of our favorite wedding dress silhouettes, as it is simple, classy and elegant. The sheath silhouette follows your natural body shape from top to toe. It doesn’t have any defined lines and simply flows over your natural body curves.

The sheath is very simple with a straight structure. It does not have multiple layers like other dress styles. Nevertheless, the simplicity of this dress style is its strongest feature.

Sheaths are also known as column-dresses. They look great on straight figures, as they create the illusion of curves. Sheaths are also good for brides with defined waistlines and brides who wish to flaunt their curves.

For more information on this wedding dress style, watch this eHow video.

The following sheath dresses belong to our Best for Bride wedding dress collection.

 Stretchy crepe sheath dress with illusion scoop neckline and sweetheart bodice

Shimmering lace appliques on sleeveless sheath gown

Chapter 4: Wedding dresses and different body types 

We just looked at the different wedding dress silhouettes that are available for brides.

So, when you go wedding dress shopping, do you try dresses in all available silhouettes?

That certainly wouldn’t be a sensible idea!

Unless you limit your options, your wedding dress search will never end. And for this, you should first identify your body type and then find the best wedding dress silhouettes for it.

So, let us first look at how to evaluate what body type you are.

How to identify your body type

Where body shape is concerned, there are four categories:

  • Apple or inverted triangle
  • Pear or triangle
  • Hourglass
  • Rectangle Straight

To recognize which of these you belong to, first measure yourself around the bust, shoulders, waist and hips. Then compare each of these measurements against each other to find out which body type you are according to the following instructions.

  • If your shoulder measurement is much greater than your hip measurement, you are an Apple.
  • When your hip measures more than your shoulder and bust, you are a pear or triangle.
  • If your shoulders and hips measure pretty much the same, and your waist measures smaller than both these measurements, you are an Hourglass.
  • When the measurements of your shoulders, hips and bust are similar, you are a Rectangle.

This comparative method should give you a fair idea of what your body shape is. However, you can also follow the more detailed process in our guide to correctly identifying your body type to analyze your body shape.

Alternately, refer to this post for detailed instructions on how to correctly identify your body type.

Once you recognize your body shape, most of your work is done! It is now easy to find the wedding dress silhouette that best enhances your positive assets.

So, let us move to this step.

In the coming section we will look at the different silhouettes that are best suited for each body type.

Chapter 5: Best wedding dress silhouettes for each body type 

Now, let us look at the different wedding dress silhouettes for each body type and understand why it is suitable. We will also look at the dress styles you to avoid for each body type. Here goes!

  • Apple or inverted triangle 

If you are an apple, your upper body dimensions are larger than those of your lower body. So, you have broad shoulders and less curves in your lower half.

Based on these characteristics, the ideal dress silhouettes are those that balance out your broad upper body by adding bulk to the lower body.

Dresses that flare away from the waistline, thereby concealing slight hips will achieve this effect. Also, silhouettes that pull the upper half in and define your waistline better will flatter you.

Here are the recommended choices:

A-line: Hide your slender hips and legs under an A-line skirt that flares out at the waistline. The larger the skirt, the better it will balance out your upper body.

Ball gown: These dresses have heavy skirts that can camouflage a slender lower body. The thick skirt also creates a defined waistline that adds the illusion of curves, thus enhancing your figure.

Avoid fit and flare and trumpet dresses since these emphasize the larger proportions of your upper half.

  • Pear or triangle 

Pear-shaped women have larger dimensions in the lower body than in the upper half. So, your hips are wider than your shoulders, and you are small on top.

The best wedding dress silhouettes for you will show off how little you are on top, while hiding the larger proportions of your hips. These would be dresses that either hide the hips or flare away from the waistline, camouflaging their larger proportions.

We recommend the following

Ball gown: The full skirt of these dresses and defined waistline will draw attention to your slim natural waist. Your thicker hips will not be obvious under the naturally puffy skirt of a ball gown.

A-line: A-line dresses with skirts that do not cling are good for pear-shaped women. These balance the proportions in either half by flaring away from the waistline and hiding the natural shape of the body beyond the waistline.

Sheaths and trumpets are two silhouettes to avoid. The sheath emphasizes your natural curves and draws attention to your lower body. Trumpets draw attention to the stomach and hip area with their straight lines, and this will not work in your favor.

  • Hourglass 

The characteristic feature of an hourglass shape is well-balanced upper and lower halves and a defined waistline. So, your hips and shoulders will be quite the same size and you will have a beautiful curvy structure.

The balanced proportions of both your body halves makes it easy to carry off any wedding dress silhouette. Since there are usually no features to hide, you should show off your curves to look more fashionable. Here are the silhouettes that achieve this effect.

Mermaid: This wedding dress silhouette shows off your natural curves and hence is one of the best choices for hourglass figures. You will look stunning in the well-defined curvy shape that draws attention to your slim waistline.

Fit and flare: You can carry off fit and flare gowns with details like a dropped waist, ruffles and textured bodice with perfect style. This silhouette also accentuates your naturally curvy figure, showing off your best assets.

Sheath: The straight shape of the sheath plays up your natural features, making it a wonderful choice for hourglass figures.

  • Straight 

With similar proportions in both the top and bottom halves, your waistline isn’t obvious when you have a straight shape.

When choosing wedding dress silhouettes, look for dresses that create the illusion of curves where there aren’t any. Also look for dresses with bodices that pull in the upper half and create a more defined waistline.

Here are the best choices

Ball gown: This dress has a slender bodice and a full skirt, that creates a full figure by itself. When brides with a straight shape wear this silhouette, the longer and straight proportions of their upper body balance out by the larger proportions of the skirt.

Sheath: The benefit of this silhouette is that the straight appearance creates an illusion of curves in the lower body. As a result, your body shape will tend to look curvier than it actually is.

A-line: A-line dresses with a defined waistline and full skirt also look attractive on rectangle body types. This dress style creates a full look at the waistline and beyond, thus adding more dimension to your lower body.

If you are a rectangle, avoid wedding dress silhouettes that accentuate your straight structure. Stay away from trumpets, mermaids and fit and flare silhouettes that closely fit.

Chapter 6: Some more important things to know 

We have now finished looking at wedding dress silhouettes and how to choose the right one according to body shape. So, ready to go shopping?

Not just yet!

Here are some important tips to help you make the most of your wedding dress shopping.

1.Only shop at the right place

Don’t limit yourself when you shop for your wedding dress. Choose a bridal salon with rails and rails of diverse collections, so you can explore all your options. Also make sure it has great customer reviews, since this directly impacts the quality of your shopping session. Go with a reputed salon and your wedding dress shopping will be a fun-filled and memorable experience in every way.

2.Keep an open mind

Do you know how many brides end up buying a wedding dress they never initially considered?

Bridal dress shopping is funny that way! A dress may look unappealing on the hanger, but amazing when you wear it. Unless you are flexible with your ideas and open to trying such dresses, you may miss your dream dress. So, shop with an open mind and you may be luckier than you expect.

3.Trust your consultant

An experienced wedding dress consultant will be an expert in wedding dress silhouettes and styles. She will also be able to identify your body type by just looking at you. As a result, she can suggest dress silhouettes that are sure to look amazing on you. So, trust her and try on her suggestions. You will not be disappointed!

4.Buy it only if you love it

There is no such thing as a wise impulse buy when it comes to wedding dresses. So, take your time to think your choices through before you make your final decision. If unsure, go home and think over it. Finalize your wedding dress only when you are certain it is right.

As challenging as wedding dress shopping is, you cannot go wrong when armed with the right knowledge and information. Revel in every moment while you shop for your dress, explore your options, and wedding dress shopping will be a fond memory that you will always cherish.

Look no further than our bridal gallery at Best for Bride for all the wedding dress inspiration you need. Irrespective of the silhouette, whether it is a ball gown, sheath, fit and flare or mermaid, we have a stunning variety of options for you to choose from. So, start preparing for your shopping by browsing through our gallery of dresses here.

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3 wedding dress silhouette suggestions for each of the different body types

Just like brides come in all shapes and sizes, so do wedding gowns. So, we can safely conclude that there is a gown out there for every bride. While you have the freedom to choose what you wear on your wedding day, making the right choice will help you look your best. This is easy once you know your body type and choose a dress silhouette that flatters your best features and hides the less desirable ones.

This is what we will look at today.Join us as we help you to identify your body type and then find the silhouettes that will look best on you.

How to identify your body shape

The first step is to identify your body type. There are several different ways to do this. However, we will opt for the simplest and most straightforward method. For this, we suggest you measure three parts of your body – your bust, waist and hips.

1.Bust measurement: Make sure to wear a properly fitting bra when you take this measurement. Run the tape measure along the circumference of your bust and measure it at the largest point. The tape shouldn’t be too tight, but should just fit around you snugly.

2.Waist measurement: Stand straight and measure the smallest section of your waist, keeping your stomach relaxed and not sucked in. Again the tape should be held snug, and not tight.

3.Hip measurement: To measure your hips stand straight and run the tape along the circumference of the widest part of your hips and bottom.

Now that you have these three measurements, compare the three to identify which category you belong to, from the following list.

Straight: Here the bust and hip measure almost the same. The waist measurement is slightly lesser than either of the other two measurements.

Triangle or pear body type: The hips are larger than the bust and the waist gradually increases or slopes out towards the hips.

Spoon body type : The hips measure more than the bust and the waist is slightly smaller than the bust. The hips have a prominent shelf-like shape. So, the measurements will be hips>bust>waist

Hourglass body type: Here the bust and hip measurements are almost similar, with a smaller and well defined waistline.

Inverted Triangle or Apple body type: As the name suggests, here the bust is the most prominent portion of the body. The waist and hips are narrow and the waistline is not very evident.

By now, you should have identified your body shape based on the above descriptions. Next, let us look at 3 of the best dress silhouettes that are suitable for each of these body shapes and also see a few gown examples to understand why this is so.

Remember that this is only a general guideline. There are always exceptions and you may even find that you look great in a silhouette that isn’t suggested for your body shape. Nevertheless, the guide here will give you a starting point to base your selection on.

Dress silhouette suggestions for the different body types

#Straight or Rectangle

The main concern for brides with a rectangular or straight body structure are the lack of curves. It is quite easy for these women to however, create the illusion of curves by choosing appropriate wedding dresses.

Suggested gown silhouettes

  • A-line dresses
  • Ball gowns
  • Sheath

Silhouettes to avoid

  • Fit and flare

Two silhouettes that can emphasize your slender waist and create an hourglass look are ball gowns and A-line skirts. In the case of ball gowns, the dress blows out into a beautiful skirt from the waist, and this can create the illusion of a fuller figure. The A-line on the other hand is a silhouette that falls gently and emphasizes the existing curves of a bride by pulling in the waist and opening out at the skirt. The third silhouette that looks good on straight body shapes is the sheath. The loose style of this silhouette is such that it creates a curvy look to your straight structure. Since it has no figure fitting parts, it flows gently and covers up your naturally straight structure with more bulk, creating the illusion of curves. Short dress styles also look good on brides with straight figures. Short wedding dresses with A-line skirts and sweetheart necklines in particular, look very feminine and dainty on these body shapes and are perfect for a summer or spring wedding.

Here are some examples that demonstrate why these silhouettes will work on these body shapes.

This Jasmine T172010 A-line wedding dress gently pinches at the waist emphasizing the slender waistline, with the floral appliques drawing attention to this section. The added advantage of this dress is the sweetheart neckline that adds more contour to the bust area making it look extra-feminine.

The Mori Lee 2721 Ball Gown has a richly embellished bodice and a very poufy skirt that easily camouflages the lack of curves in a straight figure. The lavish details on the bodice emphasize the waistline, making it a perfect choice for a slender bride with a straight figure.

This dress created by our in-house designers features a sheath silhouette that smoothly falls over your natural curves without fitting too closely. The smooth finish creates the illusion of extra curves while the sweetheart neckline adds more dimension to a small bust.

#Triangle or Pear shape

This figure is characterized by fuller hips and thighs, while the upper section is less prominent. To balance out the bulk of the lower half, these brides should choose gown silhouettes where the skirt flows away from the hips. The upper half of the neckline, which includes the neckline and sleeves should be chosen to create the illusion of a fuller bust and the overall look will be curvy to the right extent.

Suggested gown silhouettes

  • Ball gowns
  • Short skirts
  • A-line dresses

Dresses to avoid

  • Fit and flare

Ball gowns flare out into a full skirt from the waist, thus camouflaging fuller thighs. Club it with an illusion or bateau neckline fashioned to add extra dimension to your bust and you can easily accomplish the hourglass look. Short skirts that angle away from the body in either sheath or A-line fashion can help you maximize your feminine appeal. A-line dresses with a clinched waistline or ruchings that de-emphasize your hips by drawing attention away from the hips and thighs will also look good. Here are some examples.

The Mori Lee 2711 ball gown with an illusion neckline is just perfect for adding those curves at the waist to a triangle-shaped bride. The sweetheart bodice and illusion neckline pairing also add more dimension to the bust line.

The Mori Lee 6749 wedding dress has a shorter hemline and a full skirt that easily camouflages the full hips of a pear-shaped bride, while the closed neckline makes the bust area more prominent.

Mori Lee 2776 with an A-line skirt and sheer neckline formed of lace appliques help the pear-shaped bride balance out both parts of her body, by creating the illusion of a fuller chest due to the neckline design and presence of lace in the sleeves.

#Spoon shape

Although similar to the hourglass body shape, brides with this body shape have a waist which is less prominent. It is an easy body shape to work with, as you can highlight your curves with a dress that emphasizes your bust and gathers at the natural waistline or slightly above it.

Suggested gown silhouettes

  • Ball gowns
  • Short dresses with skirts that angle away from the waist
  • A-line with waistline above natural waistline

Dresses to avoid

  • Fitted gowns

In ball gowns the skirt balloons out either at or above the natural waistline. This can hide the bulk of the hips and thighs in this body shape. The same effect is achieved by short dresses with an A-line or ballerina style skirt that angles away from the hips. The universally flattering A-line wedding gown with layers that cascade away from the waist down and aren’t form-fitted is another option to consider. Check out the examples to understand this better.

The MoriLee 2775 features a ball gown with a skirt that has just the sufficient amount of pouf to balance out a spoon-shaped figure. The sweetheart neckline amplifies the femininity of the bride and the embellished bodice adds to its prominence.

This Mori Lee dress from the Voyage collection is a perfect choice for the spoon-shaped bride, as the skirt angles away from the waist and hips, and creates a balanced silhouette.

This 6794 Mori Lee A-line gown creates a fuller bust due to the asymmetrical ruching that criss-crosses in the bodice. The waistline is slightly elevated, thus hiding the original shape of the hips and thighs.

#Hourglass figure

A balanced feminine figure which is curvy on both the halves and with a slender waistline, this is the figure that most wedding gowns are created for. While brides with an hourglass figure can carry off most dresses without a problem, there are certain silhouettes that can really enhance your femininity and allow you to flaunt your beautiful figure to the most.

Suggested gown silhouettes

  • Fit and flare gowns
  • Sheath gowns
  • Ball gowns

Fit and flare gowns closely follow your natural curves all the way down to your thighs or hips, from where they open up into a fuller skirt. These are ideal choices for the classic hourglass structure. It allows you to flaunt your slender waistline and curvy figure, and you will look perfect in it when you choose the sleeves and neckline that emphasizes your features to the best. Sheath gowns drape your natural curves closely, again creating a beautiful picture where your natural figure is highlighted to your advantage. In the case of ball gowns, a structured bodice with ample detailing and a full skirt can play up the drama and help you accomplish a timeless look.

The Jasmine T172013 is the perfect fit and flare gown to play up your beautiful curves to perfection. The beautiful lace has just a small embellishment along the neckline to create extra sophistication.

This beautiful gown from the Mori Lee Voyage collection with a sheath silhouette is perfect for an hourglass figure, as it drapes over your sensual curves rendering extra beauty to your sexy figure.

The Mori Lee 2690 gathers at the slender waist highlighting it prominently against the rich, bouncy skirt that it flows into. It is perfect to show off the femininity of an hourglass figure.

#Inverted Triangle or Apple shape

These brides have a prominent bust with narrow hips and thighs. By choosing the right gown silhouette, you can hide the lack of curves in the lower half, while toning down the prominence of your ample bust.

Suggested gown silhouettes

  • Mermaid or fit and flare gowns
  • Short A-line skirts
  • Ball gowns

Silhouettes to avoid

  • Sheath

A well-structured mermaid or fit and flare gown, with a corset or illusion top that can reduce the impact of your prominent bust. It will allow you to balance out your wide upper body with the help of a full skirt. If you have well-toned legs, you can de-emphasize your upper body by drawing attention to your legs with the help of a beautiful short A-line dress with layers that add more bulk to your hips and waist. The full-skirt in a ball gown design will balance out your broad shoulders and create an hourglass style look. So, these are the patterns to consider if you are apple shaped.

The Alfred Angelo 2521 wedding gown is a good choice for the apple shaped bride. The fit and flare skirt will balance out the broad shoulders and de-emphasize the thin hips and thighs with the texture it has in the lower half.

The 2429 Alfred Angelo A-line skirt opens out towards the knees, camouflaging thinner thighs and hips associated with this body type. The illusion neckline and cap sleeves also tone down the shoulder width, making it a perfect choice for apple-shaped brides.

Another dress from the Alfred Angelo Collection, the 2508 ball gown is a good choice for brides with an inverted triangle body structure, as its thickly layered skirt will accentuate the width of the lower body and balance out the broad upper torso.

With a vast collection of designer dresses in all sizes and shapes, Best for Bride is the dream wedding destination for every bride, irrespective of what her body shape is. Come visit us today, and enjoy your shopping experience to the most.

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How to choose the right size and shape for your bridal bouquet

Your bridal bouquet is an integral accessory in completing your wedding day look. The first thing that comes to mind when we think of the bouquet is the color and flowers to go into it. But, it is worth remembering that the bouquet should also be in the right size and shape to create an impact. This is what we will focus on in this article.

There are different factors that you should consider when choosing the right shape and size of your floral bouquet to create a balanced overall look. This includes your build, wedding dress, venue and more. Let us look at all of them, one by one.

Height 

You are the bride carrying the bouquet, so it should match your shape and build, to look good. If you are petite or small, choose a medium to small-sized bouquet that will be suitable for your frame. Scale down the bouquet size to fit into your hands, and opt for a tear-shaped one or a composite with a single stem and individual petals wired to it, to resemble a single big flower.

If you are full-figured and tall, you can opt for round, bold bouquets. You can even go for the classic Biedermeier which has flowers bunched in concentric circles.

If you are full-figured, but not very tall, then you would be better off with a tear drop or cascade bouquet, to create a lean look.

Body-shape

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For women with a full bust and hips, the tear drop or cascade will play down their curves, and help them appear slender. If your structure is a balanced hourglass, you are a lucky bride, and can look graceful with any bouquet.

A pear-shaped bride is thicker below the waist, and bouquets that are bigger on the top, like a long-stemmed one will look good. Apple-shaped brides are larger on the top, and will benefit from tear-shaped bouquets that are medium to large in size. For brides with an athletic/rectangular body shape, medium to large cascades as well as long-stemmed composites work well.

For slender brides, who have a similar size throughout, round bouquets should be the best option. They should avoid large bouquets and also cascades, as these designs will overpower their physique.

Dress type

Sheath style dresses and A-line gowns are uncomplicated and flow gently. Pair it with simple bunches of flowers with long stems, or pretty cascades of delicate blooms to add to your feminine charm.

Splendid ball gowns call for equally attention-grabbing bouquets. Go for round posies or lush teardrop bouquets with rich blossoms to balance your look.

If your dress is embellished with details such as metallic embroidery, rhinestones, crystal beading or even elaborate floral motifs in lace, tone down the bouquet size, so you do not go overboard with too many details. Choose a simple teardrop or cascade, so the focus remains on your wedding dress.

Now that you know what type of bouquet would suit you, all that you have to do is find the flowers to make it perfect. Visit our online gallery at Best for Bride to pick out the perfect bouquet for your big day.