Shopping for wedding dresses is likely the most important spree of your life. After all, it’s not your average dress – it’s the dress that will appear in the most important album in your life.
It’s the dress that you’ll see in the pictures when you are old and gray. And most importantly, it is the dress that will make you feel beautiful on that special day.
That being said, every woman’s body is different – so, to make sure you look perfect in your dress, you need to get one that contours on your shape perfectly. This is why you need to understand your body shape first so that you can determine which type of wedding dress is most appropriate for you.
Figuring Out Your Body Type
In order to determine your body type, you first need to grab some measuring tape. You may do it yourself, but for the measurements to be as accurate as possible, you may want to ask someone else to do it for you. Based on the measurements that you just took, here are the body shapes:
- Athletic or Straight/Square: Your hips, bust, and shoulders are pretty much the same size, with your waist not being much smaller.
- Pear: Your hips are bigger in comparison to your shoulders and your bust.
- Apple: Your middle area is heavier and wider in comparison to your shoulders, bust, and hips.
- Inverted Triangle: Your bust and shoulders are bigger in comparison to your hips.
- Hourglass: Your hips, bust, and shoulders are pretty much the same size, but your waist is around 25% smaller or more in comparison.
Depending on your overall shape of the body, the perfect wedding dress will compliment your assets and hide those aspects that you feel self-conscious about. Sometimes, depending on the gown, you might have to make some wedding dress alterations to make it fit smoothly to your shape.
Types of Wedding Dresses
Once you’ve figured out your body shape, it’s time to select the appropriate dress. Here are the types of dresses explained, along with the body shape they compliment.
Am empire dress will typically have a high waist that will hug around the upper area of your body. It will also feature a soft yet flowing skirt that will look classy and stylish – perfect if you wish to achieve that classic bridal look.
The empire dress is the go-to for pretty much every bride. Indeed, it looks best on women with an athletic/straight shape, as it hides the absence of a well-defined body figure. However pear-shaped brides, as well as those that have an hourglass figure might also benefit from this type of dress. The style is flattering as the fabric sits beautifully over the hips.
Mermaid and Trumpet Dress
The trumpet wedding dress generally hugs the bust, your waist, and the hips. If you have an hourglass figure, this will certainly allow you to show off your assets. These dresses begin flaring out from the mid-section of your thigh, allowing you to show off your shape.
Similar to the trumpet dress, we have the mermaid wedding dress. However, instead of beginning to flare out around the thigh area, this one goes even further down – starting around the knee area. It may seem slightly more restrictive, but it offers more definition – particularly if you have a well-defined mermaid shape to show off. It might also work with some pear-shaped brides.
Brides that spend their childhood watching Disney movies and admiring princesses might want to become princesses themselves at some point – in which case, they might want to try on the ball gown. This type of dress always looks gorgeous in pictures.
It hugs you around the shoulders and bust – and then begins to flare out starting with the waist and your hips. This type of dress usually has a fitted bodice that naturally fits around the waist and a full skirt.
This kind of gown is designed to offer your body some balanced proportions, which is why it is the perfect choice for ladies that have a pear shape or an hourglass shape. It will make you look tall and beautiful – the definition of a princess. Bear in mind that if you choose this kind of wedding dress, you might also want to wear a petticoat beneath your skin.
A-line wedding dresses are exactly what they sound like – a dress that is pretty much made with an A-shape. Some people compare them to ball gowns, as they also flare out from around the middle – but unlike ball gowns, these wedding dresses are slightly less fluffy. That being said, with a little bit of help from a wedding gown alterations shop, you may turn a ball gown into an A-line dress.
A-line dresses represent the perfect choice for brides that have a pear shape or that of an inverted triangle. They balance out your body, leveling your shoulders with your hips and making you appear curvier around the lower area. For this reason, they are also ideal for the ladies sporting an athletic shape.
Sheath Wedding Dress
If comfort is what you are looking for as a bride-to-be, then you might want to look into the sheath wedding dress. This type of gown follows the natural line of your body without actually flaring out. Since it has less fabric, it is the perfect choice if you expect to move around a lot, or if you want to go for a rustic wedding.
Since it does not have any flares or special designs, it is perfect for brides that have an hourglass or athletic frame. It can show off a slender, sleek figure – ideal for those that wish to achieve a classier look.
Finding the perfect dress might take some time, but at least now you know where to start. Sometimes, you might need to buy a new one. Other times, you might simply have to alter an old one (say, the gown your mother wore on her wedding day). Regardless of your choice, as long as you wear something fitting to your shape, you will certainly look gorgeous.
Tony Kantzavelos is the owner of LoveYourDress and Love Your Tailor Toronto. Specializing in dress cleaning, clothing alterations and tailoring since 1986. Tony loves sharing tips and trade secrets for customizing and taking care of almost any kind of dress, and especially helping women look their best no matter the occasion.