Bridal Dresses - Style and fashion guide: Ball gown, A-line, Trumpet, Mermaid and Sheath
Designer, Plus Size, Petite and Reception
Your wedding dress is the most important part of your wedding day ensemble. This magical garment will transform you into the bride you always dreamed of being. The perfect dress will not only fit your vision of how you always wanted to look on your wedding day, but it will also play up your best features and match your style and personality.
Wedding gown fashion is constantly evolving, and a bride has thousands of dresses to choose from. However, you should remember that not all bridal dresses look equally good on every bride. You have to find a dress that drapes well on you, makes you look like a better version of yourself, and feels comfortable in every way. To find such a dress, it is important that the to-be bride knows about the available wedding dress silhouettes and also recognizes which dress styles are best for her body shape.
Let us look at this in more detail. We will begin with the different wedding dress silhouettes available and then move on to dress selection based on body type.
There are five commonly seen wedding gown silhouettes, and they are the following.
Typically associated with the princess look, ball gowns feature a fitted bodice, that flares into a fully layered skirt from the waist. The distinguishing feature of this style is the voluminous skirt, that hides the lower half of the body entirely.
Like the name suggests, this silhouette resembles the structure of a capital "A", and is narrow from the top to the waist. From here, it flares out softly and flows towards the ground.
This silhouette closely follows the natural body shape all the way from the bust to the waist and hips, and it flares out at mid-thigh, in a trumpet shape.
Also known as the fit-and-flare style, this silhouette is similar to the trumpet , except that the skirt flares out below the knee. It is a tight-fitting style, that shows off the natural curves of the bride wearing it.
This style drapes over the bride's natural curves all the way from the bodice to the skirt, and doesn't flare out at all. The sheath is also called the column.
Now, let us move on to identifying the different body types and learning about the best dress silhouettes for each of them.
The first step to identifying your body type is to measure yourself around the shoulders, bust, waist and hips, and note down these measurements. Then, compare these four sets to determine which of the following body types best describe you. We will simultaneously also look at silhouette suggestions for each of these types.
In apple-shaped body types, the shoulder measurement will be significantly greater than the hip measurement. Here, the upper body measurements are typically at least 5 per cent greater than the hip measurements.
Recommended silhouettes: Dress styles that flare out beyond the waistline, can best balance out the slighter proportions of the hips. A-line dresses with a bodice that pulls in the upper half, so the waistline is emphasized are good choices. Ball gowns can also be considered for this body shape.
Avoid: Fit and flare styles like the trumpet and mermaid, since these dresses emphasize the wider measurements of the top and do not camouflage the thinner leg measurements.
This body type is defined by almost equal measurements for the shoulders, bust and hips. When the three measurements are compared, you will find that the three numbers will be within five per cent of each other.
Recommended silhouettes: Since this body type lacks curves, the right dress type should create the illusion of curves where there are few. The sheath is a suggestion, as it creates a more curvy appearance. The other recommendation is a ball gown, that emphasizes the slender waist and flares into a thick skirt, thus creating the illusion of a curvy figure.
Avoid: Fit and flare silhouettes and straight A-line dresses which lack a defined waistline
Pear-shaped body types have hip measurements that are at least five per cent more than the shoulder and bust measurements.
Recommended silhouettes: Dresses with textured bodices that balance out the upper half, pinch at the waistline and then flow away from the hips and thighs without clinging, are the best choice. Ball gowns can hide the lower body and A-line skirts in fabric that don't cling to the body can achieve this.
Avoid: Sheaths, since they add extra inches to the lower half. Trumpets also should be avoided, as they accentuate the stomach and hip area.
Another important factor to consider is whether you want a strapless wedding dress or a wedding gown with sleeves. This mainly depends on personal preference and the look of the dress. Strapless wedding gowns are known to be a little more risque so you should assess what you are comfortable wearing. Wedding dresses with sleeves also come in many different styles such as short sleeves, little straps and long sleeves. Talk to your consultant about what sleeve style would match your personality and the dress best.
For this body type, the shoulders and hips are roughly the same size, and the waistline is very well-defined. Here the waist will be at least 25 per cent smaller than the rest of the measurements, while the hip and shoulders will measure within 5 per cent of each other.
Recommended silhouettes: Brides with hourglass body shapes can carry off any silhouette with ease. This is the best body shape to flaunt fit and flare gowns like the trumpet and mermaid, though they will look good in any of the other silhouettes also.
Plus size brides have body proportions that are larger than average. Their dress size typically corresponds to the regular dress sizes of 14 and above. Generally, these women have a significantly curvaceous figure.
A-line dresses and sheath silhouettes with empire waistlines are particularly forgiving for the plus-size bride. It is best to choose a dress that plays up the natural shape. If the dress drapes loosely, it will add the illusion of extra pounds and add bulk to the bride's overall look. Dresses with empire waistlines or those that pinch at the thinnest part of the waist are also suggested.
Sheath gowns as these are not flattering because of the loose drape that will add extra pounds to the overall look. Also avoid fit and flare style dresses, if the waist and stomach area are thicker. Fabric also determines the overall impact. Structured fabric like satin or fabric with a stiffer base are better.
Our Plus-size wedding dress collection at Best for Bride
specifically caters to the curvaceous bride, and features various stunning designs that are just right to bring out the best features of your natural shape.
Petite women are shorter than average, and have a smaller stature. These women have heights less than 5'3", but have a well-balanced overall figure with a defined waistline.
Recommended silhouettes: Trumpets, sheaths and A-line gowns work well for this body type. By lifting the waistline to above the natural position, it is possible to add the illusion of a few extra inches. Details should be small as it can otherwise look overbearing.
Avoid: Voluminous ball gowns as this can swallow the petite bride. Also avoid dresses with dropped waistlines, as this can make the short bride look even shorter.
Our petite size bridal dress collection features a selection of wedding dresses specifically created for petite brides. It contains both trendy and classic designs, that are just perfect for the beautifully petite bride, without compromising on looks or quality.
Finding the right silhouette is only one of the many steps to finding your perfect wedding gown. Once you know what looks best on you, it makes the task of sorting gowns easier. Nevertheless, there are many more factors to consider, to find your dream-worthy bridal gown. Let us briefly touch upon each of them.
Wedding gowns come in different price ranges, from few hundreds of dollars, to several thousands! Shopping without a price range in mind is risky, as you may end up falling in love with a gown that you cannot afford. Have a realistic price in mind, so you can zero-in on the best choice, within minimum time. Also remember that you will have to set aside a part of the budget for accessories, alterations and taxes.
Apart from the dress silhouette, you should also have a clear idea of the style, fabric and look you want. Take cues from the venue of the wedding, the weather at the time of your wedding and the formality of the ceremony to decide what features would be appropriate in your choice of wedding gown.
Knowing the place, time and date of your wedding can help you narrow down your choices. Depending on your venue and weather, you can find a dress that will be both practical and comfortable on your wedding day. While a ball gown is a great choice for a formal indoor ceremony, it may not be a great idea for a modern, beach wedding. In this case, you would be better off in a lightweight wedding gown with fewer embellishments.
Bridal consultants are seasoned experts in the world of wedding fashion, and can guide you well. Share your ideas with them, and they will help you find the dress you want. Wedding dress consultants have the talents to identify a dress that may not have hanger appeal, but would look good when tried on. So, give their suggestions a go, even if you don't think you like what they put in front of you. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you see when you actually try it on.
Shopping for your bridal gown should be a priority task, as it takes time to complete the shopping and alterations following it, so your bridal gown fits you just right. However it should be done no earlier than a year before your wedding, as only then can you make use of the latest offers and choose from the latest collections. Ideally, your bridal appointments should be scheduled at least six months before your wedding, so everything is completed in time for your wedding day.
Do not tempt yourself into choosing a bridal dress that is smaller than your actual measurements. Although you will most likely lose your extra pounds in time for your wedding, we suggest buying the dress in your current size as you can have it altered to fit your actual measurements, closer to your special date. In case you are unable to shed the extra weight, you will still be able to wear the dress you bought, as it will correspond to your actual size. On the other hand, if your dress is too small, it will be very difficult to add extra fabric to accommodate your size, and this would compromise your look.
It is highly unlikely that a wedding dress
picked off the rack will fit you exactly. You will have to find a good seamstress to alter your chosen dress to your measurements, after you buy it. Getting good quality alterations is just as important as picking the right dress. This is because wedding dresses are complex garments, and only professionals who are experienced in handling these dresses can alter it well. At Best for Bride, we offer in-house alteration services
that will allow you to get your dress perfectly sized in time for your wedding. You can find out more details about the prices for each service, as well other details on this page
We all know that the traditional and most common colour of your wedding dress is white. However, many brides now choose to experiment with different colours and shades of wedding gowns. Although, white wedding gowns are extremely popular and have the biggest selection, there are so many coloured wedding gowns that are absolutely stunning. The second most popular colours are ivory wedding gowns and blush wedding dresses. Both of these are subtle yet have a little more colour than plain white wedding gowns. It is now becoming a trend to wear a black wedding gown for your wedding which is also stunning depending on which fits your wedding theme and venue the best.
You can also read more here:
Wedding dress styles and trends on weddingideasmag.com
Learn the Silhouettes on bridalguide.com
The Top 5 Wedding Dress Silhouettes On WeddingWire
Finally, you will know it when you finally find your dream dress. Brides who have found their dream wedding gown
immediately know that they have made the right decision and don't have any reason to look further. At Best for Bride
, we make this dream a reality. Our seasoned staff guide brides through our extensive dress collections from top-class world designers, bringing brides the perfect arrangement to find the ideal bridal gown with minimum effort. Drop in at your nearest Best for Bride store
, or call us to enjoy the shopping experience for a lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions - Wedding Gowns and Bridal Dresses
There are five common bridal gown silhouettes-fit and flare, ball gown, mermaid, sheath and A-line. Each of these will flatter one or two different body types. Therefore, the best bridal silhouette for one bride may not be ideal for another bride. To find the best bridal silhouette for your body type, you should first identify your body shape as apple, pear, straight or hourglass. Accordingly, choose a recommended silhouette for your body type.
The best wedding dress silhouette for your body will balance out your upper and lower half and highlight your best assets. It would also draw attention to the features you wish to flaunt and hide the less desirable aspects of your figure. To find such a silhouette, you should first identify your body type as apple, pear, straight or hourglass. Then explore your options from the recommended dress styles for your body type. For instance, the sheath would look great on straight and hourglass figures while the ball gown would be suitable for apple-shaped brides.
Preparation is key to enjoying a productive and pleasant bridal shopping appointment. To start, fix your dress budget. Next, try to identify your body type and do some research on bridal gowns and create a list of preferences. Find a place where you can find gowns within your budget and book your appointment. Finally, decide who to take shopping with you. Plan your shopping at least six to nine months before the wedding. This will allow you to shop at a relaxed pace and explore different options.
Designer bridal dresses are custom made for orders. Designers typically take three to six months to construct a gown after receiving the order. So, plan your shopping at least six to nine months before the wedding. This will help you receive your dress on time and get it altered before your wedding. If you delay shopping until the last minute, you may have to settle for off-the-rack dresses or pay rush charges for a custom order.
Sample wedding dresses are floor samples that are available at bridal boutiques. Brides try on when they go shopping these dresses. Sample wedding dresses will be in limited sizes and there may only be a few pieces in each design.
Traditionally, the wedding dress color has always been white. However, it is up to you to decide whether you want to wear white or another color. You can choose a classic white dress or go for bold, modern colors and still look super bridal. In any case, the best way to choose a dress color is to find one that flatters your skin tone and makes you feel special.
There is no single wedding dress style that flatters all body types. The ideal choice would depend on your specific body type and what features you wish to highlight or hide. Of all the bridal silhouettes, A-line is a universally flattering dress style. If you are looking for opulence and elegance, you may like to try ball gowns and mermaid dresses.
Wedding dresses are complex garments. They are not easy to design. Therefore, it is always a good idea to go with designer wedding dresses as they are created by experts who know what they are doing. A designer wedding dress will have high quality materials that look elegant and classy. In addition, designer wedding dresses look amazing in photographs.
A fit and flare wedding dress is fitted throughout the bodice until the waistline. It then flares out into a full skirt at or below the hips. It is like the A-line silhouette, except that the A-line flares out at the waistline while the fit and flare widens beyond the hips.
The sheath wedding dress is designed to follow the natural body shape and is also called a column dress for this reason. There is no extra fabric that creates a rigid structure and the dress shows off your natural curves. Sheath dresses use less fabric and fall straight to the floor below the hips.
When choosing a dress for an outdoor ceremony, consider the following factors-formality of the event, whether the fabric and dress style will be suitable for the weather and how comfortable it will be in the setting. Lightweight gowns in breathable fabrics are usually most comfortable. Sleeveless and strapless styles look great in outdoor settings. Also, pay attention to accessories like jackets and shrugs that will keep you warm if it gets too chilly.
The best wedding dress style for a plus size bride would be one that highlights your best assets and hides the less desirable ones. It will balance out your figure. Therefore, if you have a heavy upper body, dress styles like the ball gown will be suitable to balance both halves. Focus on the overall look and fit instead of the size to find a dress that helps you look and feel great.
The best wedding dresses for petite brides are those that create the illusion of a longer, leaner frame. It will draw attention to assets like a slender waistline or well-toned arms. Various silhouettes like the sheath, A-line and fit and flare can help you achieve this effect. Avoid dress styles like the ball gown that can look overwhelming on a petite body type. Focus on the overall look and fit instead of the details in the dress.