Best Wedding Dress Silhouettes by Body Type

Tying the back of a wedding gown

Shopping for a wedding dress is one of the most memorable days leading up to your ceremony. It’s the moment that all of the wedding plans start to become real and you can actually envision yourself walking down the aisle. Shopping for your perfect dress is incredibly exciting (and let’s face it, fun—especially if there’s champagne involved), but it can also be extremely emotional. Insecurities can unfortunately rear their ugly heads, and it’s important to put together the right team to help you shop. You want to ensure that you feel like the amazing and incredibly gorgeous bride that you are from the moment you walk in the door to carrying the dress out to your car.

Before you go to your bridal appointment it’s a good idea to have a few wedding dress silhouette styles in mind so that you don’t get frustrated trying on dresses that you won’t like or feel great in. You definitely want to feel comfortable and confident in your dress instead of tugging or pulling on it during your ceremony or reception so make sure you work with your body and not the other way around.

Here are some suggestions for what dress styles would fit most comfortably for every body type—whether you’ve got a curvy, petite, hourglass, or anything in between.

*Just a note that these wedding dress silhouette suggestions are just suggestions. If you don’t have a lot of curves going on and you want to wear a mermaid gown—do it. If you are curvy around the middle and want to wear a ballgown with a tight bodice—do it. As long as you feel beautiful and confident, there really are no rules. Also, keep in mind that no one’s body fits perfectly into each category. You may be short and curvy or tall and hourglass so be sure to try on a variety of dresses until you find the one that fits your body best.

Bride posing in a wedding reception venue

Curvy

Now is the time to show off that beautiful, full-figured bod. Wedding dresses that hug closer to the body and conform to your curves such as mermaid or trumpet style gowns will look fantastic on a curvy body. Avoid empire dresses that start the flare out at the chest because it can make you look like you don’t have a shape, but an empire dress with a flare below the chest will work perfectly for brides who may be self conscious of a curvy tummy. Of course, an A-line dress is always a great option for curvy brides as well because it looks great on every kind of body.

Bride and groom posing against wall

Petite

Other than rocking a pair of amazing heels on your wedding day, petite ladies also probably want a way to elongate their bodies in a wedding dress. Go for a sheath dress or a mermaid, or trumpet with a smaller flare at the bottom so that you can make your torso and legs look longer. It’s probably best to avoid a ball gown or tea length wedding dress because it could make you look shorter.

Bride and groom during wedding ceremony

Hourglass

Gals with hourglass figures have to decide what kind of look they want to go for on the wedding day: busting it out or concealing it in front of grandma. Either way is fine, of course, but you should keep in mind what kind of look you’re going for. If the idea is to embrace what your mama gave you, choose a sweetheart neckline on a mermaid or trumpet gown. If you are having a conservative church ceremony and prefer that you don’t have a lot of cleavage showing go for an A-line dress or even a ball gown with a simple bodice at the top. Whatever you do, show off that waist, girl!

Bride with crown of flowers

Straight Figure

If you have a naturally slender figure, it’s likely that you won’t have a tough time finding things to fit correctly but you might have difficulty finding things that create the illusion of curves on your body. The best way to “fake” some curves is to go with a ball gown or an A-line silhouette. Try to find a dress that has a flared floor-length skirt that will accentuate your waist and make it look like you have fuller hips.

Remember: The Tailor is Your New BFF

If something isn’t fitting exactly the way you envisioned, ask to consult with the tailor or seamstress on staff to see what they can do to make the dress for you. It’s likely that the sample dress has been tried on several times and has been a little stretched out or worse for wear so it’s hard to get a good idea of exact fit anyway.

Remember that the idea is to make the dress fit you and not diet or exercise like crazy to make yourself fit that “perfect” gown. Tailors can take something that’s too large or too small and make it fit you like a glove.

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