It’s clear that not every style works for every person. While some people can wear black and be the brightest person in a room, others can pull off clashing colours like it’s the next big trend.
Equally, what compliments a petite frame will look disproportionate and obscure on a tall person. So, while you or your partner is hunting down that perfect wedding dress, we thought we’d give you a few tips for which styles tend to suit certain body shapes and figures. Like always, it’s a pretty general evaluation and at the end of the day, it should always come down to whatever makes you feel most comfortable and demonstrates your personality.
But we can’t deny that hunting down the dress can sometimes be a nightmare when you don’t know where to begin. So here are our rough guidelines, just in case you need them:
If you’re pear-shaped: look for a fabric that’s quite sturdy and doesn’t cling. Choose a skirt that gradually flares outward, creating an ‘A’ shape from the waist down. This will concentrate the attention to the narrow waist and give you a glamorous, flattering silhouette. A ‘V’ neckline or spaghetti strap bodice will compliment your slender upper body, too.
If you’re apple-shaped: a dress that cinches in at the narrowest part of the waistline and has a skirt that gradually flares out into an ‘A’ shape silhouette will probably suit you best. Choose a bodice that has a lot of texture, with lace perhaps, or ruche, that will create a camouflage while giving a snug fit to provide a corset kind of effect. The best neckline for an apple-shape is a steep V, which concentrates attention on the vertical, rather than the horizontal.
If you’re petite: try trumpet, sheath or modified A-line gowns. Do your best to avoid ball gowns, as it’s easy to get lost in all of that voluminous fabric on the skirt, and anything calf-length has a tendency to make your legs look short. Ideally, find a style with a waistline above your natural waist, so that the lower half of the dress looks longer – and thus makes you look longer. You can pull off most fabrics, including high-sheens, so have a good look around for something that really demonstrates your personality.
If you’re small-chested: ruched or textured bodices will help to fill you out up top. The extra fabric will help to give the illusion of curves and give you a little more proportion. Lightly padded halter styles will also accentuate your bust, or you could use a bra, but most wedding dresses are strapless or backless, so it may not be an option. Good-quality, strong self-adhesive silicone bra cups could be a good alternative.
If you have a bigger bust: try a dress with a scooped neckline. It will highlight your face and showcase your décolletage without showing too much cleavage. If you decide to go strapless, choose one with a gentle dip in the neckline, like a sweetheart style, rather than having a straight line across your chest, which will make your bust appear larger and potentially shelf-like. Materials that have a sheen tend to highlight the chest, so matte fabrics are often better.
If you’re plus-sized: don’t choose material that is too loose or baggy. Play to your shape, or the fabric will add volume to your figure. Try to avoid pleats and make sure the empire line doesn’t start on the chest. Make sure you get a with an empire line that begins just under the bust, and has a skirt that flows gradually into a floor-length ‘A’-line. If you love flowing, airy fabrics, consider a dress that has a strong base structure and then add the lighter, flowing material over it in an embroidered tulle overlay, or else stick to fabrics that naturally provide structure, like satin.
If you’re tall: you’ll be better working on the side of simplicity; too many embellishments like ruffles or rosettes can look ‘cutesy’ on a taller person. A relatively simple gown that emphasises your natural shape is the usually the best option. A lower waistline and a floor-sweeping hem will work with your longer proportions and create a delicate, long silhouette. If you’re wearing a dress with long sleeves, make sure they pass over your wrists.
If you’re straight-lined: look for a dress that will create curves where you don’t have them. If you have a small bust, a bodice with ruching will help to create some volume. A ball gown that cinches in on the waist and flows into a full, floor-length skirt will add volume around the hips and accentuate your slender figure in the right areas. A sheath dress in a wispy charmeuse that’s cut on the bias will give you an ‘hourglass’ silhouette with its curving side seam, too.
If you need more ideas about which dress types suit your wedding thematically, take a look at a few of our pictures and the weddings we host. For any further inspiration or (hopefully!) informative blog posts, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook, where we post all of our blogs and news. Alternatively, have a look at our tariffs or location if you’re interested in a wedding with us in the Lake District. Hope that helped!