Every bride wants to find the gown of her dreams. When the selection of dress styles is limited compared to all the unique shapes and sizes of body types available, choosing a dress can be challenging. Since bridal gowns accentuate different physical traits, the best way to create the perfect wedding dress is to research the different kinds of styles salons carry and mix or match them to your personality. Learning the basics of how designers construct their gowns can go a long way in helping you find ‘The One’!
When you collaborate with a consultant at a boutique, or create your own customized gown, one of the most important terms to know is silhouette – this is the fundamental term used to describe how a dress looks and fits a woman’s body. There are six silhouettes that can enhance your favorite features and conceal your least-favorite traits. Once you pinpoint which silhouettes work well with your body, there are also embellishments like necklines and colors that can make your special personality shine with the gown.
Out of the six basic silhouette styles, the sheath is the most form-fitting. For other special occasions such as spending a night on the town with friends or attending business events, this dress is popularly recognized as a cocktail dress, or a column dress. Because the sheath silhouette runs straight up and down, it aligns with a slender rectangular body type with little to no waist definition, or an hourglass figure for a bride who wants to flaunt what she’s got. If you’re looking for a dress without a lot of embellishment, the sheath silhouette will keep it simple.
Have you ever watched a historical romance film and loved the elegant wardrobes? Then you’ll definitely be familiar with the empire silhouette. This type of dress contains a formed bodice that hits right under your bustline with a loosely-fitted skirt that drapes over your waist and hips. It’s perfect for nearly every kind of body type – pear, apple, hourglass, rectangular, and inverted triangle, and gives the illusion of the bride being taller and leaner.
Just like the capital version of the letter A, this silhouette starts out narrow at the chest and then naturally extends outwards to the hem. It’s one of the most popular silhouettes for brides because, similar to the empire silhouette, the A-Line fits all shapes and sizes: pear, apple, hourglass, rectangular, and inverted triangle. Because of the dress’s gradual extension away from your body, this silhouette works if you’re looking to show some va-va-voom but also be comfortable while mingling on the dance floor.
Mermaid vs the Trumpet
These next two styles are so similar to each other, they sometimes create confusion. Both of the mermaid and trumpet style hug your body from the chest to the hips, but extends outwards to the hem. They are great for brides who are looking for a dress that’s form-fitting and offers a dash of drama. However, each style tapers off differently. The mermaid dress flares out at the knee and can be constricting in the thigh-area. The trumpet dress, however, starts flaring out at the mid-thigh and gives you a little more freedom while walking or dancing. Because of the silhouettes’ ability to cling to almost every curve, it fits to a tee for pear and hourglass bodies.
If you’ve dreamed of being a princess since you were a little girl, the ball gown will make your Cinderella dreams come true. Cinched around the natural waistline with a fitted bodice and offering a full skirt, the ball gown is an all-time classic. If you have a rectangular body, the fabric can give you curves, and if you have a pear, inverted triangle, or hour-glass figure, it can balance out your curves from top to bottom. There’s a lot of room to play with the fullness of the skirt and train too. However, if you have a petite frame or a rounder figure like the apple body type, the fullness of the skirt might be overwhelming.
Besides silhouettes, another big factor for your wedding gown is the neckline. There’s a large variety to choose from based on what you want to show or conceal of your neck, chest, collarbones, and shoulders: a V-Neck will create a v-shape in the middle of your chest; a high-neck mimics a turtle neck; a Bateau or boatneck creates a wide opening around the neck; a sweetheart neckline outlines the fabric in a heart shape around your chest. There’s also halter, off-the-shoulder, a cowl, and one-shoulder. The neckline leaves a lot of room open to personalizing the straps or going strapless.
White is considered to be the most common color for a bride’s big day, but gowns actually come in a wide variety including ivory, natural white, light gold, alabaster, or champagne. Depending on the theme of your wedding, there are gowns made in blush, aqua, rose gold, and lavender too – the sky’s the limit! However, the color of your gown depends on one big factor: if the designer is open to customization or has it available in another shade. If you want to break free from tradition, it’s a good idea to tell your consultant at the beginning of your appointment that you’re open to experimenting and trying new things.
If you’ve been imagining what your gown will look like, but you can’t seem to find your one-of-a-kind idea in stock, there’s always customization. Working closely with a designer can help you narrow down all of the beautiful wedding dresses available out there and help you create the right look you’re searching for. No matter your silhouette, body type, and personality, there’s a dress out there that will make you feel confident and beautiful when you finally say “I do”!