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  • Writer's pictureWindy Lo

Guide to wedding gown silhouettes: How to choose the perfect dress for your body type


The ball gown or princess wedding dress is classic and timeless with a fitted bodice and a full skirt. They’re flattering on all body types as they show off the bust, arms, and shoulders while concealing the waist and hips. However, if you’re petite, you might find yourself getting lost in all the material! With its full, bell-shaped skirt offset by a fitted bodice that cinches at the waist, the traditional ball gown is the silhouette of choice for brides dreaming of a princess-worthy look and a dramatic entrance.

Best for: Most body types, including those with wider hips and fuller figures, as it disguises problems in the hips and thighs.

Avoid if: You’re a bride of petite stature, as the voluminous silhouette of the skirt may overwhelm your frame. Pear-shaped brides should also approach with caution, as the multiple layers of fabric may add unflattering width.


The sheath or column wedding dress has a long, slim silhouette that follows the body’s natural line without flaring out. This type of wedding dress shows off a sleek and slender figure and is best suited to those with an hourglass, straight or athletic figure for an elegant, classy look. A silhouette that hugs and follows the line of the body, the sheath is a popular choice for brides with a charming, antiquated style.

Best for: Brides-to-be who have lean figures or are petite, as it will elongate tinier frames.

Avoid if: You have a pear-shaped figure, as it can add extra inches to the lower half of the body. It’s a rather unforgiving silhouette, so steer clear of this if you’re looking to conceal problem areas.


Empire wedding dresses feature a high waist that hugs your upper torso with a straight, soft and flowing skirt for a simple, stylish and classic bridal look. Empire wedding dresses compliment the slim figure of a straight or athletic body type and can also sit beautifully over wider hips making it a flattering choice for the pear or hourglass shaped bride.

This silhouette has a high-waisted seam just below the bustline, and either flares out into an A-Line or a sheath. It does not cling to the body; rather, it gently cascades down the form, creating a gorgeous Grecian-goddess look while assuring maximum comfort for the wearer.

Best for: It’s ideal for most body types but is especially flattering for petite brides, as it will give the illusion of longer legs.

Avoid if: You have an hour glass figure, as it will hide your curves or worse, make you look disproportionate.


Trumpet wedding dresses hug the bust, waist and hips and are a sexy choice to show off the feminine figure of the hourglass body shape! While a trumpet shape flares out from the mid-thigh to the ground. Similar to the mermaid silhouette is the trumpet – the only difference between the two is that the trumpet flares out mid-thigh.

Best for: Body types with smaller waists, such as hourglass figures and petites. It elongates the form and makes the torso appear longer and leaner.

Avoid if: You have a pear or apple-shaped body, as this silhouette draws attention to the stomach and hip area.


Mermaid wedding dresses hug the bust, waist and hips and are a sexy choice to show off the feminine figure of the hourglass body shape! The mermaid style fits to the knee, providing even more definition. Add a little va-va-voom to your wedding look with the subtly sexy mermaid silhouette. It hugs the body at the top and flares out close to the knee.

Best for: Slender frames, hourglass figures and brides wishing to show off their gym-honed bodies. For boyish and waifish figures, this curve-creating silhouette is a godsend with its emphasis on the waist and hips, giving the illusion of an hourglass figure.

Avoid if: You don't want to emphasise a fuller figure, as this silhouette hides absolutely nothing. Also stay clear if you'd like more freedom to dance (or gorge on that feast you shelled out so much for) as the clingy silhouette will restrict your movements.


A-line wedding gowns feature a fitted bodice that gently flares down to the ground creating a classic and unbroken silhouette. It’s the perfect choice for pear and inverted triangle shaped figures to balance out the shoulders and hips and can create a curvier profile on a straight or athletic shape.

The universally-flattering A-Line dress has a fitted and narrow bodice, and extends out along the body in the shape of an “A" without the dramatic poofiness of a ballgown.

Best for: All body types. The fitted bodice of the A-line gown highlights a small waist while its full skirt camouflages wider hips and bottoms. It also elongates the torso, making this a dream silhouette for petite frames

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