Updated: Jul 16
So many lovely bridal gown styles to choose from and you might just fall in love with them all! This of course can make choosing the silhouette that suits your own unique physique, wedding style, ceremony venue, and above all, your individual personality seem even more daunting. As you begin your dress quest for the special day, try and keep your options open from the start. You could discover styles that you had not even considered for yourself before. You may find that you look like a goddess in a design you had never imagined being drawn to the past!
Once you’ve discovered the silhouette that says “you”, everything that follows in your search for perfect gown for you should become a lot more fun and exciting. How could it not be? This will be part of your big day!
A dramatic ball gown makes a big statement and if you really want to evoke that enchanted fairy tale feeling, this is definitely the style to go for. Ball gowns (or princess gowns) are very fitted and structured in the bodice and constructed with corsetry and boning.
They nip in at your natural waist and feature a billowing, voluminous skirt created with numerous layers of tulle underskirts that make for an opulent and stately entrance.
This silhouette suits many different body shapes as it can create a more voluptuous look through volume and detailing for those with slim, athletic bodies but it can also draw the eye to a tiny waistline for the women that are more of an hourglass type, accentuating this feminine attribute.
A ball gown is also a great choice for women that have a pear-shaped physique, as well as for those with a smaller bust, creating the illusion of a more ample bosom that is balanced out by the fullness of the skirts. Do keep in mind though that if you are on the shorter side or have a very small frame, a very “poofy” or full-skirted gown could overwhelm you.
A-line dresses are the most widely chosen silhouette by brides as they are flattering on every body type. As its name suggests, the skirt forms an “A” shape as it falls from the waist. It is a classic and elegant style that allows for freedom of movement while still gracefully defining the waistline.
Women with a pear-shape body type are particularly well-suited to this style as it does not cling to the hip area, yet still showcases the body’s natural feminine figure. This style is very versatile and looks perfectly delightful in both rustic style weddings as well as more opulent settings.
Mermaid or “fishtail” gowns are, as the name implies, shaped like a mermaid’s tail and are the quintessential form if you want to look ultra-sexy and voluptuous on your big day. They are fitted tight through the bodice and all the way down to the knee or just under, where they then fan out into a tail-like shape to the floor or longer in back depending on the length of the train. Ideal for creating that perfect hour glass figure for a classic Hollywood-glam look!
A mermaid gown can look stunning on everyone, creating curves where you want them, and are also especially suited to those with small waists and a more ample bust and hip area. Remember though that this silhouette can feel more restricting and moving around might be a bit more cumbersome than other styles.
Trumpet gowns (sometimes also referred to as “fit-and-flare”*) are a slightly more relaxed version of the mermaid style. Still very form-fitting, they have a bit more ease of wear in the bodice and through the hips, and the skirt flares out from mid-thigh rather than from the knee, which makes dancing and socializing a bit more comfortable.
Trumpets are a very glamorous and feminine style and are especially stunning on taller, statuesque brides and for those with broader shoulders as the trumpet flared skirt balances out your form.
* fit-and-flare gowns can also refer to a silhouette that is form- fitting through the bodice all the way down to just below the hip before flaring out.
Column or Sheath
Column dresses skim the body in a straight line from the bodice to the floor, and can be constructed with delicate, flowing silk chiffon or lace, but also in more substantial, structured fabrics such as raw silk or even a heavier brocade.
Column or sheath-type dresses are ideal for tall willowy types, straight figures, yet also work well with slim, petite women as the style elongates and gives the illusion of length to the body.
This is a very sleek silhouette with clean lines that many brides choose when they want a more understated look than that of a grand ball gown, for example.
They are great choices for more casual or contemporary wedding settings, but at the same time can be very luxurious depending on how much detail and embellishment you want added to the garment. Whether it’s modern and minimalist, or a free-spirited bohemian vibe you are going for, this style is always a lovely choice.
Empire waist dresses are named for a style that was popularised by the Empress Joséphine during the Napoleonic era, though it of course dates back much further to Grecian times. This style is also referred to as “Grecian” for this very reason. This refined silhouette is fitted on top and the the skirt portion flows down from just under the bust area. From here, diaphanous, delicate folds of fabric drape gracefully down to the floor creating an utterly romantic and ethereal look.
This works very well for women with a small bust and athletic body type, and also for those that are thick-waisted as it does not accentuate that part of the figure. Ladies with a larger cup size might want to avoid this style as it can look unbalanced and top-heavy as it is a high-waisted style.
A tea length dress is defined by a length that hits below the knee and above the ankle, somewhere around mid-calf level. This cinched-waist, full-skirted retro style is fun, flirty, and absolutely charming and looks outstanding in vintage-themed weddings.
Petite brides are sweet and impeccable in this style and it is equally suited to those with a curvy, hourglass shape as the style showcases this. Furthermore, if you have amazing ankles and calves, this is the perfect silhouette to show them off in some fabulous shoes for all to see! Embellish the look with a short veil or a delicate fascinator and it’s classic perfection.
– Valerie Torres