Wedding Dress Styles: Go-To Guide on Everything Wedding Dress

You are now engaged and probably starting to plan your wedding. You probably have a lot of questions, like when’s the best time to buy a wedding dress or which of the wedding dress styles is right for me.  

Although this is an exciting time, it’s important to know that you will find a crazy amount of dress options. You’ll need to think of different wedding dress silhouettes, necklines, and waistlines that will fit your body type, time of year, and any other accommodations you may need this dress to fit.

Classic Wedding Dress Silhouettes, Necklines, and Waistlines

wedding dresses

When shopping for wedding dresses, brides have to consider their personal style and their wedding day look, but there’s a lot more to keep in mind. All wedding dresses fall into different silhouettes, necklines, waistlines, materials, and styles. It’s helpful to understand these styles before you go in for your bridal appointment.

Learning the different cuts and types of wedding gowns can help you find ones that accentuate your most flattering features. While any body type can look gorgeous in various wedding dresses, it is helpful to keep your body type in mind when considering the cut of your dress.

This guide will explain the top 5 most popular necklines, waistlines, and silhouettes that are great options for your future wedding dress.

 

Wedding Dress Silhouettes

A wedding gown silhouette refers to the shape, or outline, of the dress as it falls on your body. Different wedding dresses and silhouettes flatter different body types. Regardless of your body type, keep an open mind and look for silhouettes that fit your personal style, wedding style, and the latest trends.

 

A-Line

black wedding dress

Just like the letter itself, this dress starts more narrow at the top and extends out as it goes down, resembling the outline of an uppercase A. This silhouette is super versatile and looks great on almost every body type. Most body types are flattered by an A line gown. 

An A-line dress is a bit more modest and traditional, so if you’re looking for something more revealing, sexy, or fashion forward, you might want to choose a different silhouette.  That being said, there’s nothing wrong with a classic A-line wedding dress!

 

Mermaid

mermaid wedding gown

This silhouette is perfect for someone who wants to look a little more glamorous. The dress will fit closer to the body from the top half of the dress and then flares out below the knee; typically with huge bunches of tulle.

If you have a slimmer or hourglass figure, this dress would be perfect to show off your body shape with its fit and flare silhouette.  

For more curvy body shapes or women who don’t want anything too restricting, you might want to choose something else. 

 

Ballgown

ball gown wedding dress

The ballgown wedding dress is the most common and popular style of silhouette for wedding dresses. This dress has a fitted bodice and goes straight into a full, flared, and often poofy skirt, like a princess’ ball gown.

You’ll feel beautiful in this dress if you have a more pear-shaped body type because the bodice will nip you in the waist, and the full skirt will give the allusion of an hourglass figure. If you have a fuller chest, this dress will also perfectly balance you out.

If you’re shorter and slim, this dress might not be the best for you, as it could swallow you in all the fabric.

 

Sheath

Also known as a column dress, the sheath wedding gown silhouette fits closer to the body, yet has little to no definition in the waist. The bottom doesn’t flare out and follows the natural body line.

If you’re a shorter bride, this dress may make you appear a bit taller and also really flatters women who are more tall and slender.

If you’ve got a super curvy body, this silhouette may not be for you. Since there is little shape to this dress, you might want to opt for something that will emphasize your natural curves. Sheath wedding gowns tend to look best on slim or athletic body types, but they can also slim and lengthen larger bodies. 

 

Trumpet

A trumpet silhouette is similar to that of a mermaid style dress, yet there are some differences. This dress will fit closely until the mid hip and gradually flares out towards the bottom and is less harsh compared to the mermaid silhouette. It’s also known as a fit and flare silhouette.

If you’re a curvier bride, this dress will beautifully accentuate your figure. It’s form-fitting, yet still easy to dance and get around in.  

This dress might not be for you if you want something flowier and not super tight. If you have a rounder tummy, this silhouette also might not be the most flattering.

 

Wedding Gown Necklines

In addition to the overall silhouette of your dress, you should also consider the neckline. Consider your chest size and how much cleavage you want to show at your wedding day – there’s nothing wrong with a sexy bridal look, but it’s also okay to be more conservative!

 

V-Neck

bridal headband

This neckline simply dips down into a V shape. This neckline is very flattering for many women with small to medium chest sizes.

Those who are bustier may want to shy away from this neckline to avoid having too much chest showing unless that’s what you’re going for.

 

Sweetheart

sweetheart neckline

This neckline is very popular among all brides. The neckline is shaped like the top half of a heart and is commonly strapless.

This neckline is also universally flattering for all chest sizes. Bigger chested women commonly choose this neckline to accentuate their bust. 

 

High-Neck

This neckline comes up to the collarbone, leaving little chest exposed. The high neckline is common for more modest wedding dresses but can also be translated as more fashionable and edgy.

A high neckline may be better for brides who have smaller chests, as a high neckline could make bigger chested girls busts look bigger.

 

Halter

wedding dress halter neckline

This neckline has straps that wrap around the neck. This neckline is great for brides would want to show off their shoulders, or leave an open back.

Halter necklines can look universally flattering on any chest size.

 

Strapless

bride and family

A strapless neckline is exactly how it sounds, there are no straps. This is another neckline that will show off your shoulders and bust because no straps will be in the way.

You may love this neckline if you want to show off a beautiful necklace.

 

Wedding Dress Waistlines

The waistline of your dress directly influences the silhouette, but there is still a decision to consider about where the waist of your dress tapers. Check out the most common gown waistlines to determine your favorite!

 

Empire

This has a slightly raised waistline that sits right below the bust. From the waistline, the dress flows all the way down to the hem. This waistline is typically associated with A-line silhouettes or sheath wedding dresses.

An empire waistline would look flattering on almost all body types since it flows right over the stomach, hips, and legs, creating a flow-y look. 

 

Princess

 

A princess waistline is typically accompanied with an A-line silhouette, as well, with vertical seams going down the front to fit to the bodice.

This waistline can be flattering for hourglass figures, as it comes in at the waist and the vertical seams create an elongating effect.

 

Basque

basquewaistline

This waistline presents a lower V or U shape in the bodice of the dress. This waistline is usually paired with a ballgown dress as the rest of the dress flares out into a full skirt.

Many body types will find this waistline to be very flattering. 

 

Dropped

This waistline is that is dropped below the natural waistline towards the mid-hip.

Again, this waistline is flattering on most body types, especially on hourglass and pear figures.

 

Natural

A natural waistline is similar to the dropped but hits a little higher at the natural hip line between the lower rib cage and hips.

 

Final Thoughts

Use this wedding dress style guide to help you find the perfect wedding gown! Find silhouettes, necklines, and waist lines that best fit your body type and personal style so that you’re prepared as you head into the bridal boutique.

Still not sure? Try this wedding dress quiz from David’s Bridal to see what they recommend!

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