We’ve all heard the hype a million times about how your wedding day is the most important day of your life. Even if you don’t buy it, there are still plenty of reasons to ensure that you have the best possible dress. There will be a photographer spending the day focused on you, after all. But unlike clothing for other occasions, like business, casual or party clothes, which usually have just a section of store devoted to them, there are whole superstores filled with wedding gowns and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The trick is to know how to break it down and figure out what you like and don’t like before you step foot in a store. Here’s a great starting point, with the five basic wedding dress styles:
This is the most modern and edgiest looking of all the options. The mermaid style creates a fit-and-flare silhouette which amplifies the body’s curves. The bodice hugs the body to below the hips and then the skirt begins to flare out mid-thigh or at the knees like a fishtail to create an hourglass shape.
If you’re going for more couture and less Princess kind of look, this is often a good choice but it can be very unforgiving. It does for the butt what the empire waist does for the bust. I.E. makes it look big. So if baby’s-got-back then she can forget it. And because it is at least as form fitting most of the way down as the sheath, it won’t do much for any love-handles or protruding tummy either. The mermaid style can be quite constricting so if you are considering this style, you’ll need to think about whether or not you will feel comfortable wearing it the whole day.
4. Empire Waist
If you’ve watched Pride and Prejudice repeatedly, then you may have been dreaming about this. But if you’ve got a well-endowed chest, you may have to give it a miss. A raised waistline which sits just below the bust defines the Empire style and from this hem, the dress flows down.
This style amplifies the bust, so it’s good for women who feel like they’re lacking curves as it draws attention to the neckline and creates definition. This is especially true if there are embellishments or delicate beadwork along the neckline. But if you’re curvy, then forget it. Depending on your figure, this cut can do even more for petite brides than a sheath dress. By bringing the waistline up, it makes legs look like they go on forever. So if you can get away with it, give empire waist a try.
The high waist with the loose flowing skirt can be a lot less restrictive than skirts that stay fitted farther down and that are very structured. This is especially true for pregnant brides, since the waist is already above and out of the way of the baby bump. But if you’re not pregnant, be careful. We’ve learned from experience that an empire waist can make even a small beer belly look like a baby.
The cut follows your body’s natural shape. That’s right, it goes straight down. If you have no curves, then you probably want to just skip down to number four because this will make you look like a stick. On the other hand, if you’re curvier than you care for everyone to see, this isn’t for you either. This is for the bride who wants something with some slink.
These are often body-hugging and show off what you’ve got no matter how much skin they cover. Therefore, it is not for the woman that wants to hide their problem areas. While they’re great for long slim women they offer the most bang for your buck for petite women who want to look a little longer as the long, straight lines have lengthening effect.
2. Ball Gown
This is exactly what it sounds like — puffy. If you’ve always wanted an excuse to wear layers of petticoats and a skirt that will twirl out around you as you spin, then this is your chance. Just be careful not to end up looking like one of those strawberry scented cupcake dolls (children of the 90s, you know what we’re talking about).
Unlike the Princess style, these dresses usually have a seam at the waist, from which point the skirt flares out more dramatically than an A-line. Particular warnings go to petite women who are easily overwhelmed if there’s too much going on, or women who are top-heavy. A large bust and a large skirt can just make you look bulky. The treat here is for pear-shaped bodies. The wide skirt disguises wide hips and butts.
This is by far the most versatile style and looks good on almost everyone. Princess seams are seams that run vertically from the shoulder or underarm and give a dress a nice form fitting shape without being clingy or even having to define a waist. The skirt is shaped like the letter A (creatively named, isn’t it?), widening gently as it goes down. These dresses are the best if you’re not a huge fan of your figure because the tailoring means you can easily choose to add shape where you want it or to let it skim easily over any problem spots.
Even if it sounds like your options are limited, trust us: they’re not. Within each style, designers are constantly coming up with new ways to adjust the silhouette and add details and texture and this is just a starting point. Each style includes hundreds of variations, so you’ll be sure to find something that you love that’s oh-so-flattering!
The most important thing when choosing out of these wedding dress styles is not to completely limit your preference. It’s best to try a variety of wedding dress styles to see what definitely suits your unique body shape. Regardless of your choice, you will look beautiful on your big day.