How to Choose the Best Dress for Your Body Shape
By Brieonie Jenkins

19 August 2015

There is no doubt that the dress you look best in is the one you feel your best in. Shopping for ‘the dress’ is often one of the most exciting parts of the whole planning process. It’s the perfect accessory to your beaming smile! The right silhouette will accentuate all of your best features, making you feel confident and beautiful. There’s no magic trick for finding the perfect dress, but knowing the basic dress shapes and what works best with your figure is necessary homework before you start shopping. Here’s a quick breakdown of the five most common silhouettes to get you started.

Ball Gown

With its fitted bodice, fitted waist and flared full skirt, the ball gown flatters most body types. It’s great for creating shape for boyish figures and the full skirt can hide the lower body, working well for some pear shapes. Be careful if you’re petite, the voluminous skirt can be overwhelming.

a-line wedding dress

A-Line

This is one of the most popular silhouettes. It’s fitted at the top with the skirt extending out and down from the hips in the shape of an A. The A-line can work for everyone; it flatters curves and downplays hips by defining the waist without the extra fabric that can often  swamp a small frame.

Mermaid wedding dress

Trumpet or Mermaid

Both styles are fitted through the bust and hips. The trumpet flares from mid-thigh while the mermaid flares below the knee. These styles are great for confident brides who want to show off their hourglass figures. It’s not as flattering for apple or boyish figures as its super fitted through the stomach and thighs.

column dress

Column

Also known as a sheath style, this simple and elegant silhouette follows the body’s natural line. There are minimal embellishments so it’s difficult to create shape or disguise areas with this style. The long lines are ideal for creating height for petite brides but can make pear shapes look unbalanced.

empire wedding dress

Empire

This classic style is comprised of a fitted bodice with the skirt beginning just under the bust. This gives a high waist look and is perfect for apple or pear shapes wanting to draw attention away from the stomach and hips. The long shape of the dress also creates height and the short bodice will draw attention to the bust.

Speaking of busts...

A sweetheart neckline will emphasise a smaller bust, while a boat neck will draw attention up towards the neck and shoulders instead. Avoid the boat neck if you have a larger bust as it can look matronly. Halter and V-necks are great options for accentuating and supporting larger busts.

wedding dress

Image by Grey Area Productions