Finding a beautiful wedding dress to suit your body shape can be tricky but to make sure you look your best on your big day we’ve come up with a guide to help you recognise which style works best, whether you’ve got an hourglass figure, a pear shape or you’re tall and slim.
Women with an hourglass shape have a perfectly balanced top and bottom half with a defined waist.
Do’s: The hourglass figure is one of the easiest to dress, but it’s still best to pick a dress that shows off your waist – usually your best asset. Mermaid styles are particularly flattering, while a draped bodice will show off your narrow waist. A-line gowns with a bodice that hugs your hips, waist and bust are also great choices.
Don’ts: Because you already have an even balance on the top and bottom, try not to pick a style that adds extra weight or bulk to either half, such as an Empire line. Don’t hide your figure by wearing anything oversized which will drown your curves.
If you are a triangle shape, you are wider on the top of your body, with hips narrower than your shoulders.
Do’s: Look at covering your shoulders to lessen the expanse of skin and draw in your figure. V-neck dresses, or dresses with straps and sleeves, work well to disguise wider shoulders. You can also draw the eye-line down by having more detail around the hip area, and opting for a larger skirt to balance out your figure.
Don’ts: Avoid bulky sleeves or huge amounts of detail on the top half as this will draw attention to your shoulders, as will halter and off-the-shoulder necklines. Try to avoid embellished necklines and bust areas.
The classic pear will have a nipped-in waist and narrow shoulders, with wider hips and bottom.
Do’s: It’s important to try to balance out your body shape as a pear, so go for dresses such as princess styles, which have cinched-in waists and will help to accentuate your smaller top half and disguise wider hips. Strapless gowns are also very flattering on pear shapes, while Empire lines will skim your hips. Sturdier fabrics, such as duchesse satin and taffeta, are especially effective, since they won’t cling.
Don’ts: Anything that draws attention to your bottom half should be avoided, such as tiered, trumpet and mermaid style dresses. These styles generally won’t flatter a pear shape.
Women with a willowy figure will be tall and slim with an undefined waist.
Do’s: Willowy brides are one of the only shapes that can get away with a high neck line, but can also carry off a ball gown with a fitted bodice and full skirt. Corset backs will also help to create the illusion of curves as will clever use of beads or jewels. If you have a small bust, look for a bodice with some ruching to create volume.
Don’ts: Avoid portrait, off-the-shoulder or halter necklines if your collarbone is a little bony. Empire line dresses also run the risk of being a little tent-like on willowy frames.
Apple shapes are more voluptuous, with full breasts and a rounder bottom and hips.
Do’s: An Empire line dress will de-emphasise your waist, giving you a leaner look. You can also elongate your figure with high waistlines and a skirt that flows away from the body. Fitted bodices, especially ones with a corset back, will help to draw in a fuller waist, and ruching to the side can also create the illusion of a more defined waist. Go for V-necks or sweatheart necklines with straps.
Don’ts: Princess line dresses draw too much attention to your middle, and fabric on the bodice that has a sheen to it, such as organza, satin or silk, will add volume and call attention to your chest. Avoid trumpet dress styles, which emphasize the area where your body is widest and flare out at the legs and the knees, where you are most slender.
If you’re 5’1” and under, you fall into the petite frame range
Do’s: Keep things simple with smooth lines and not too much fabric to help elongate your figure. Narrow A-line dresses work well for petite brides.
Don’ts: Avoid ballgown and mermaid dresses which will swamp your small frame. Dresses with dropped waists can also make your legs seem nonexistent, and anything calf length will make your legs look short.
Ladies with a plus-sized figure are fuller all over, often with larger busts and bottoms.
Dos: An Empire dress with a skirt that begins just under the bust and flows into a gradual floor-length dress will flatter your tummy area and skim your hips. A-line dresses are also flattering, as are corsets.
Don’ts: Try to avoid anything too floaty, as this will cling to the parts of your body bits you don’t want to emphasise. Structured fabrics can help give you a defined shape. Avoid anything too billowy as this will make you look larger.