Guide To Wedding Dress Styles And Silhouettes
Choosing a wedding dress is an exciting process, but it can also be a stressful one. Between the seemingly endless list of options and the confusing terminology, picking the perfect gown can seem almost impossible. Luckily, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ve broken down your choices into simple sections and clarified precisely what those tricky terms mean. So, after reading this, you’ll be ready to sit back, relax and sip some champagne knowing you’ve found the right gown. Here’s our ultimate bride’s guide to wedding dress styles and silhouettes.
Wedding Dress Styles
A-Line Wedding Dress Styles
A-line wedding dresses are very popular and can flatter almost all body shapes. They are fitted at the top and gradually become wider toward the bottom, like the shape of an ‘A’. This silhouette naturally highlights the bust while slimming the waist and skimming over the hips. As such, it makes a lovely option for many ladies, especially those with pear bodies. Due to their classic and chic style, A-line dresses can easily be partnered with different necklines, waistlines, and fabrics to showcase your best features.
Ball Gown Wedding Dress Styles
The ball gown wedding dress is a glamorous and classic option for brides. It is a full-length style that features a fitted bodice and full skirt. As such, it makes a beautiful choice for large and traditional weddings and is perfect for brides who want to feel like a princess on their big day. Due to its large skirt, the ball gown can create the appearance of a tiny waist. It can also suit all body shapes, providing the fullness of the skirt balances the wearer’s height and size.
Column Wedding Dress Styles
Column or sheath gowns are slim-fitting dresses that feature a narrow and straight shape from top to bottom. The style is designed to gently hug the body, showcasing your figure in the process. As such, they are best for confident brides who don’t mind showing off their waist and hips. In particular, tall and lean brides appear especially stunning in this style. However, if you have a straight body type, be sure to define your waist with a waistline or a sash. Also, if you have trouble walking in tight dresses, consider an option with a split.
Fishtail/Mermaid Wedding Dress Styles
Fishtail and mermaid wedding dresses are glamorous gowns that are shaped just as their names suggest. They follow the contour of the body before flaring out around the knees. The result is a very sexy and feminine style that highlights curves and turns heads. As such, these dresses are particularly ideal for confident brides and look stunning on hourglass figures. For a subtle take on the fishtail wedding gown, you can also consider a trumpet variation, which features a softer flare that begins higher up the legs.
Empire waist dresses feature a raised waistline that sits just below the bust. The rest of the dress then flows down to the hem. Therefore, they can lengthen the appearance of your legs while highlighting and defining your bust. This makes them perfect for petite brides who want to appear taller as well as brides with small busts. Additionally, empire gowns also make a lovely maternity choice for pregnant brides.
Wedding Dress Necklines
Scoop Neckline wedding dress
The scoop is basically a U or round neckline, the depth of which can determine the impact it creates. Its simplicity draws instant attention to the neck and face, and it is a universally flattering neckline that looks good on almost any bride. While most scoop necklines continue into the back with a slight dip, it can also be cut low in the front to give a modest display of cleavage. The rounded effect of a scoop neckline creates the illusion of curves and looks good on brides who are not liberally endowed in the chest area.
Bateau or Sabrina wedding dress necklines
Also known as the Sabrina neckline, the bateau is easily recognized by its similarity to the shape of a boat. It has a slightly softened straight cut that extends from one collarbone to the other and has a wide opening at the neck without revealing much of the décolletage. The bateau looks best on brides with small chests.
This neckline features draped fabric that loosely hangs around the neck of the dress. The thicker fabric at the neck draws instant attention to the neck and the amount of chest that is being exposed. It can be paired with sleeveless dresses or those with sleeves. The neckline suggested for brides with medium to small busts; as it emphasizes the upper body and makes it look bulkier than it actually is. Proper placing of the draped fabric can also work to shift focus from a full bust, but it can be revealing and so should be chosen with due care.
One of the most happening necklines, the illusion neckline is a universal classic. It features lace or sheer fabric that covers the bodice and continues upwards to form a higher second neckline. The sheer layer contrasts noticeably with the underlying fabric and creates an ethereal finish. The most dramatic pairings are with sweetheart bodices, although it works with almost any other bodice too. The illusion neckline is often decorated with intricate lace designs, beading, embroidery, or crystal work to create masterpieces of art. Such necklines eliminate the need for a necklace. The layer of thin fabric over the sweetheart or strapless neckline within it offers support and gives the gown a modest yet sophisticated look. The illusion design used on the neckline often continues into the back of the dress too, crafting unique gowns with spellbinding effects.
Queen Anne Neckline
Similar to a halter-neck, the Queen Anne neckline is however higher up in the back of the neck and lower in the front. It is safe to say that it looks like the dress has a collar at the back, but recedes into a partially opened front. A sweetheart neckline in the front a common design employed with this half-collar design. It has a very formal look, and this neckline is perfect for brides who do not want to display cleavage, shoulders, or collar bones. To make maximum use of the elegance of its design usually paired with long sleeve wedding dresses.
Considered a very high-cut scoop neckline, where the neckline is exactly at the area where the neck ends. It is modest and covers up the upper torso, shoulders, and collar bones. The jewel neckline is similar to a typical T-shirt neckline. This silhouette is a perfect choice for formal wedding ceremonies, held in a place of worship. And suggested for brides who want a supported bodice and do not want to draw attention to their chest area. Jewel neckline covers all the different necklines commonly found on wedding dresses.
Sweetheart necklines are cut low and shaped like the top of a heart across the bust. They can either have straps or be strapless and are perfect for projecting a feminine and romantic appearance. The style can work well for brides with small busts as well as those with larger busts, who want to show just a little cleavage. Also, the soft curves of the sweetheart neckline make it ideal for balancing strong facial features.
A halter neck dress features a strap that sits around the neck to help hold up the top. Most halter neck gowns feature a high-neck and backless design, but this can vary. The style is a flattering and stylish option for modern brides and is ideal for showing off your shoulders and arms. It also makes an excellent alternative to strapless styles and is useful for adding the appearance of height to a petite frame.
V-Neck Wedding Dress
V-neck styles feature two diagonal lines, which form a ‘V’ shape and expose the décolletage. Just how low a V-neck goes depends on the design. So, you can easily choose how much cleavage you want to show with this look. Additionally, while the cut does reveal cleavage, its straight lines can actually minimize the appearance of your bust. And its plunging shape can add height to your look.
Square Neckline Wedding Dress
A square neckline features a straight cut bust that connects to straps at a right angle, creating the three sides of a square or rectangle. Although the style is angular, some options can be slightly rounded for a softer appearance. Either way, the look appears formal and elegant and is ideal for broadening shoulders or balancing a round face.
Wedding Dress Sleeves
Strapless wedding dresses feature no straps or sleeves attached to the neckline. They are designed to sit snuggly around your bust and are ideal for achieving a chic and elegant appearance. Although strapless gowns can suit all body types, they don’t provide much support for large busts and can highlight incorrect posture. However, they do make a great option for brides who are planning a loose wedding hairstyle or that want to wear a statement necklace on their special day.
Spaghetti straps wedding dress
Very thin strands form the straps of these sleeveless gowns. The neckline as such may be cowl, scoop, V, or sweetheart. The straps usually adorned with scintillating elements to add a dose of glitz to the dress. Not only is it very stylish, but also a modern choice that is youthful and fashionable. These straps usually paired with modern and figure-fitting silhouettes to form glamorous gowns. It is a perfect choice if you have beautiful, well-toned shoulders and elegant collarbones. Spaghetti strap wedding gowns may not be a good idea for brides who have chunky necks and shoulders.
By opting for a wedding dress with long sleeves, you’ll be able to cover your arms for an elegant and beautiful appearance. Not only are long sleeves wedding dresses ideal for classic brides, but they can also work for those who prefer a modern aesthetic, especially when paired with daring details like cut-outs, plunging necklines, and low-cut backs. Although tight-fitting and sheath sleeves tend to be the most common choice today, you can consider other options, such as bell or bishop sleeves for a unique appearance. The 3/4 sleeves can also make an excellent alternative.
Cap sleeves are a popular and feminine option for wedding dresses. They are a style of short sleeve that covers the shoulder without extending below armpit level.
Off-the-Shoulder Wedding Dress
For a seductive and stylish wedding dress, consider selecting an off-the-shoulder style. The modern look, which features sleeves or straps that begin below the shoulder; perfect for showcasing delicate necks, collarbones, and, of course, shoulders.
One-Shoulder Wedding Dress
For a unique and modern option, a one-shoulder gown can make an excellent choice. The asymmetrical style is beautifully feminine and instantly draws eyes to the top of your dress.
How to choose a suitable neckline
When choosing your wedding dress neckline; the three most important elements that should help you determine your choice of the neckline are—body type, face shape, and bust size.
Let us look at each of these factors in detail.
The idea of choosing any dress feature is to create a balance in look. Average sized women, with slender figures, can carry off most necklines. Brides who are on the heavier side should look for necklines like the square or V, which have prominent lines that can elongate and make them look slimmer. Extremely thin women should opt for curved and wide necklines that will give a more rounded appearance to their face. The bateau, scoop, and jewel will be good choices.
The shoulder width must also be considered when choosing the neckline. Women with broad shoulders should avoid necklines like the halter or spaghetti straps that create the impression of a larger shoulder. Similarly, if you have large shoulders, choose necklines that reduce the impact by shifting focus to another area. Scoop and V-necklines do this. For brides with very narrow shoulders, choose horizontally stretched necklines like the bateau or low-cut necklines.
Unless your face is symmetrical and oval, you have to pay close attention when choosing your necklines. Oval and angular faces can make do with almost any neckline. For long faces, necklines that are horizontal are best. Bateau and off-the-shoulder necklines are examples. Brides with round faces should look at V-necklines or other designs that balance out the roundness of their faces. A wide neckline, on the other hand, will further add fullness to your face and blow your facial proportions even bigger.
Last but not least, your chest proportions have a role to play where your neckline choice is concerned. Brides with moderate or average busts will look good in almost any neckline. Small-chested brides should choose necklines that create the illusion of curves and emphasize the thickness of the chest. High necklines like the bateau, Queen Anne, and sweetheart necklines are a good idea. They should avoid strapless designs or thick cowl necklines. Brides who have large busts should opt for supportive neck designs like Queen Anne, scoop, or V. They should be cautious when choosing the sweetheart and plunging V, as they can end up looking bulkier than they actually are. The illusion neckline is one universal neckline that works well for most brides.
On a final note, we should add that there are several variations for each neckline. So don’t jade by what suggested for each. It is possible that a certain variation of a neckline may work well for you, so treat these only as a guideline. Trust your bridal consultant to understand what will work for you, and keep your options open.
Your Ultimate Guide To Wedding Dress Styles And Silhouettes
Your wedding day is the one day where you are the star of your own show, where all eyes are on you! It is the one unique event in your life that is filled with monumental significance; a day where you wish to look and feel more beautiful than ever. You will instantly know when you find ‘The One’ for you; as soon as you try it on you will feel elegant, beautiful, and special all at once!
The trick is to draw attention to the most flattering areas and minimize attention where it’s not needed! Finding your dream dress can, at times, a pressurized experience, so before embarking on your hunt for your dream dress, it does pay to have done a little bit of research into what kind of look you are dreaming of and what kind of shape will show your figure off to best advantage. This will ensure your experience can be transformed into an exciting, pleasurable, and fun time.