Wedding Dress Styles: How to Find The Perfect One for Your Body Type

And look gorgeous on your wedding day.
Wedding Dress Styles

Every bride-to-be has one goal in common: to look gorgeous on her wedding day. And the wedding dress chosen plays a huge role in that.

Whether you’ve dreamed about your wedding dress since you were a little girl or only started thinking about the perfect gown since getting engaged, wedding dress shopping is one of the most exciting parts of preparing for your big day.

As fun as it is to try on wedding dresses, not finding the perfect dress can be immensely frustrating. The key to saying “yes to the dress” is choosing one that not only suits the vibe of your wedding, but that will complement your figure.

From beautiful ball gowns to sleek sheath dresses, there are a range of wedding dress styles to choose from. Knowing which one is right for you is as simple as determining your body type.

So, before diving into which wedding dress style will suit you best, take a look at the different body types to determine which best describes your figure. Once you know your body type, you’ll be well on your way to finding your dream wedding dress.

Body Types: Which One Are You?

Every body type is beautiful. And, with the right wedding dress, yours can be shown off to its fullest advantage. Here’s an overview of the five main body types. Keep in mind, not every woman will fall into one category exactly. Whether you fit one body type or are a combination of two, there is at least one perfect wedding dress style for you.

Rectangle

Proportional shoulders and hips with very little waist definition. Celebrity examples: Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Queen Latifah.

Pear

Full hips and thighs and a defined waist. Narrow shoulders and small bust in comparison to hip size. Celebrity examples: Jennifer Lopez, Eva Mendes, Kelly Clarkson.

Hourglass

Proportional shoulder and hips with a small waist and well-defined bust. Celebrity examples: Salma Hayek, Sofia Vergara, Ashley Graham.

Inverted Triangle

Broad shoulders and narrow hips without much waist definition. May have a large bust and a flat bottom. Celebrity examples: Meghan Markle, Cameron Diaz, Jill Scott.

Apple

Large busted with an undefined waist, narrow hips and slim legs. May or may not have a rounded tummy. Celebrity examples: Drew Barrymore, Catherine Zeta Jones, Rebel Wilson.

Wedding Dress Styles: Which Silhouettes Are Right For You?

Now that you’ve determined your body shape, it’s time to dive into which wedding dresses will best flatter your figure. We’ll also discuss bust size and height, two more important traits that should be taken into account when choosing a wedding dress.

Whether you’re interested in shopping for designer dresses in New York City, are hitting up vintage stores for a lace wedding dress or are shopping for gowns with long sleeves for your winter nuptials, this bridal fashion guide will help you choose the perfect wedding dress for your frame. Now let’s dive into the styles!

Photo By Said Mhamad Photography

Ball Gown

Known as a classic fairy-tale style dress, a ball gown is wonderful for brides hosting extravagant or formal weddings. With its princess silhouette, ball gown wedding dresses boast a dramatic full skirt and are sure to appeal to any bride looking for a romantic look.

It looks best on:

  • Inverted triangle — A ball gown wedding dress is the perfect choice for you if you have this body type. Its fitted bodice and flowing skirt will add volume to your slim hips, helping to balance out your beautiful, wide shoulders and full chest. 

It also works for:

  • Hourglass — With your perfectly balanced proportions, a ball gown with a structured bodice and full skirt will show off your tiny waistline and ample bosom. This style works equally well for slender and fuller figured hourglass body types.
  • Pear — As long as the skirt of the ball gown you choose isn’t too voluminous, this style hides rather than accentuates full hips and thighs. Bring the focus to your upper body by choosing a dress with embellishments and special details like lace and beading on the bodice.
  • Apple — A ball gown will accentuate your lovely full bust while giving the illusion of fuller hips. A gown that flares out at the waistline is the perfect way to balance out a thicker torso and hide a tummy.
Photo by Moonlight Bridal

A-line

This universally flattering style is fitted through the upper body and softly flares out into an A-shaped skirt. A less dramatic version of a princess-style ball gown, an a-line wedding dress is perfect for both modern and traditional brides alike. While this classic cut is often favored by brides hosting a more traditional celebration, you can find a-line wedding gowns sporting a more minimalistic look as well. This style looks especially beautiful with soft lace embellishments.

It looks best on:

Everyone! The a-line silhouette is a great choice for virtually any body type. It hugs the waist area showing off a slender torso while also flattering the bust, making it a great choice for pear and hourglass figures. It’s gently flaring skirt can help balance out the slim hips of an inverted triangle while also creating the illusion of an hourglass shape for brides with thick waists or boyish figures.

Photo by BERTA

Mermaid

This sexy, fit and flare wedding dress is perfect for any modern bride who wants to flaunt her figure. The mermaid silhouette is form fitting throughout the torso and flares out dramatically at the knee down to the floor. This chic, red carpet-worthy style is favored by many modern brides.

It looks best on:

  • Hourglass — No other gown will show off your curvy hips and tiny waist like a mermaid wedding dress. It’s slim, curve-hugging silhouette will accentuate all of your best attributes.

It also works for:

  • Rectangle — A mermaid cut can be an effective way to add womanly curves to your straighter silhouette thanks to its fit and flare shape. 
Photo By Val Stefani

Trumpet

Also boasting a fit and flare silhouette, the elegant trumpet wedding dress flares out at mid-thigh and is a more subtle, less fitted version of a mermaid gown. It’s perfect for brides who want to look chic and sexy without sacrificing comfort. 

It looks best on:

  • Hourglass — While a trumpet dress is designed to show off your small waist and shapely hips, it still offers ease of movement and is sure to have you looking your best.

It also works for:

  • Inverted triangle — While a trumpet cut will show off your slim hips, this fit and flare wedding dress still gives the illusion of curves as it flares out at the thighs.
Photo By Jenny Yoo NYC

Sheath

A sheath wedding dress follows the natural shape of the body making it ideal for brides who favor a slim silhouette. The sheath is often stark, relying on the cut and the bride’s body to make a statement. 

It looks best on:

  • Rectangle — This modern gown silhouette flatters athletic or slim rectangle-shaped figures by gently skimming over slim hips and falling elegantly to the floor. To add definition to your waist, try it with an embellished belt or sash.

It also works for:

  • Hourglass — A sheath wedding dress is perfect for any bride who wants a simple dress that will show off her curvy figure.
Photo By Pronovias

 Empire

This classic style dress is known for its fitted bodice and a waistline that hits just above the natural waist. The skirt flows to the floor from the high waistline and can skim the body or have a slightly a-line silhouette.

It looks best on:

  • Apple — An empire waist can make your waist look smaller by emphasizing the slimmest part of your torso. It’s also a great way to conceal a tummy and emphasize a full bust. Just make sure you don’t choose a neckline that’s too low cut.

It also works for:

  • Rectangle — An empire cut will de-emphasize your waistline, making you look long and lean. It also can add some emphasis to your bust, making it look fuller.
  • Pear — An empire silhouette will hug your upper body giving the illusion of wider shoulders and larger chest while downplaying your full hips.
Photo By BERTA

Tea Length

The tea length wedding dress is equal parts fashion-forward and vintage-inspired. Perfect for a small wedding or a more casual ceremony, the tea length usually features a fitted torso and a skirt that flares out at the waist and falls somewhere between the knees and calves.

It looks best on:

  • Inverted triangle — A tea length gown’s flaring skirt will lend your hips a curvy appearance while showing off your slim legs. 

It also works for:

  • Hourglass — With your even proportions, the tight bodice and full skirt will enhance your small waist and curvy hips.
  • Pear — A tea length wedding gown is an ideal way to showcase your slim torso while camouflaging your hips.  
  • Apple — This type of gown will flatter your bust and add volume to slim hips while de-emphasizing a thicker waistline. It will also show off your great gams.
Photo By STUDIO MINC ®

Slip

Similar to a sheath silhouette, the slip dress isn’t a traditional bridal look. Made for brides who like the casual or boho look, this fashion-forward dress is simple and fits close to the body. Often featuring a plunging v in the back, this silhouette is made for confidant brides who enjoy showing off their shape.

It looks best on:

  • Hourglass — If you have a slim hourglass shape, a slip wedding dress can be very becoming. It will show off your curves to perfection and looks especially lovely with your hair worn up to emphasize your shoulders. 

It also works for:

  • Rectangle — This simple shape flatters a boyish or athletic frame by showing off toned arms and slender curves. If you’re a plus-sized rectangle, you’ll be better served by a-line or empire cuts.

Bridal style tips

Here are a few other things to keep in mind when choosing your wedding dress:

Photo By Jenny Yoo NYC

If You Have a Large Bust

The key to looking your best when you’re busty is finding a dress that will offer appropriate coverage and support. Choosing a wedding gown with sleeves or wide straps will allow you to wear a supportive bra without any straps peeking out. 

If you have your heart set on a strapless dress, choose the neckline with care. A sweetheart, or portrait neckline will provide you with the coverage you need to wear a supportive strapless bra. An off-the-shoulder dress is an elegant option if you want to bare your shoulders without showing too much cleavage.

The back of your dress is also key to supporting your curves. Wedding gowns with a higher back or corset will hide your bra while also providing the support you need. 

Photo By Helena Kolan

If You Have a Small Bust

Brides with smaller chests can get away with styles that curvier women cannot. Rather than trying to add fullness to your chest, why not take advantage of your slim figure with a plunging neckline, a low back or both? You can also get away with more sheer touches in the torso.

If you want a wedding dress that gives the illusion of a larger chest, ruching and lace or beaded embellishments near the bust are flattering ways to enhance your décolletage. 

Photo By TALI Photography

If You’re Petite

If you want a wedding dress that will add height to your small frame, a mermaid or trumpet style will do just that. The long simple lines of a sheath can also add height to your frame, especially when worn with high heels.

If you’re full-figured and petite, an empire wedding dress will flatter your curves, giving you a long, lean line from just under your bust to the floor. A-line is also a flattering style for you.

Final Thoughts

Once you know your body shape, finding wedding dresses to suit your frame will be a breeze. The hardest part will be choosing which one you love the most!

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