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How to Choose the Best Wedding Dress for Your Body Shape

Written by    Last updated: March 27, 2017

Wedding dresses, like women, are all different shapes and sizes. We have our favourite styles but how can we be sure they’re the most flattering? Here’s how to choose the best wedding dress for your body shape to help you look and feel amazing on the happiest day of your life.

Justin Alexander Signature collection dress 9840 | Confetti.co.uk

Wedding dress by Justin Alexander Signature, style 9840

Is there a best wedding dress for your body shape?

Yes there is, in fact there will be many. And if you have your heart set on wearing a ball gown, then a ball gown you should wear! If, on the other hand, you’re not sure what dress styles suit you or if you’re concerned about your tummy or arms, there are a few well-known rules that are well worth considering when looking for your ideal wedding dress. Consider:

the neckline – Does it flatter your body shape and enhance your bust however large or small?

the material – Does it cling to your every curve, or skim your line to perfection?

the length – Does it elongate if you are on the short side, or make the most of your elegant stature if you’re tall?

the skirt shape – Does it fall to the floor, giving the illusion of curvaceous hips, or accentuate heavy ‘saddlebags’?

Wedding dress by Lilllian West | Confetti.co.uk

Wedding dress by Lillian West

Which shape and style are you?

Most women are not one defined shape, we are all different with a combination of curves, some we love more than others so it makes sense to consider our good bits as well as our not so good bits. For every one of us there is a series of ideal dresses. So don’t feel that just because you are very tall or very short, very round or very petite you should only go for one prescribed style.

Simply identify which shape described below is nearest to your figure to discover which styles will suit you better than others and which dresses you might prefer to avoid.

Dress by Lillian West | Confetti.co.uk

Wedding dress by Lillian West

1. Pear shape

You are narrower on top with curvy hips

Choose: Slim A-line styles with wide or square necklines and especially strapless or off-the-shoulder dresses where the horizontal line gives the illusion of a wider top-half. A heavier material wrapped around your top half such as a velvet or fur stole will also help to balance you and complete your look.

Avoid: Clingy materials around your hips, bias cut skirts, and if you have small boobs avoid a deep v-neckline or low-cut dress unless they feature a panel that creates a different shape.

2. Plus size

You are curvy and rounder than most and probably a size 18+.

Choose: Deep v-necklines will give the illusion of a slimmer you while enhancing your best assets. A fitted bodice with a longer length gentle A-line skirt will also help to streamline you. A gentle A-line gown with sheer sleeves or straps and a deep v-neckline will be your best dress choice.

Avoid: High necklines, pleats, short skirt lengths and strapless or off-the-shoulder styles.

Sweetheart Gowns style 6189 | Confetti.co.uk

Wedding dress by Sweetheart Style 6189

3. Petite

You are 5ft 3ins or under and are probably also a smaller dress size.

Choose: A-line or long-line styles with detail at the neckline and hem to draw the eye up and down the length of your frame. Petite sizes should go for a gentle A-line style as this shape appears to lengthen the body. A high neckline or an empire-line may also give the illusion of length. Heels will complete your look.

Avoid: Ball gown or full-skirted ‘fru fru’ meringue type styles.

Sweetheart Gowns, style 6174 | Confetti.co.uk

Wedding dress by Sweetheart, style 6174

4. Hourglass

Your bust is about the same width as your hips and you have a nipped in waist.

Choose: Anything you like, especially dresses that accentuate your tiny waist and curves. A fishtail (sometimes called the ‘mermaid’) will look amazing on you. Think Hollywood glamour of the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe, Diana Dors and you’re there.

Bohemian wedding dress by Lillian West | Confetti.co.uk

Wedding dress by Lillian West

Choosing your wedding dress

It can be empowering when you know you have chosen the best wedding dress for your body shape. You know when you look good, and your confidence shows.

It’s advisable to try on several dresses in different styles before you make your final decision. Make a day of it and go with a trusted friend or your mum or sister and take a camera so you can look back at the photos of you in each gown you’ve tried on. It’s important to feel comfortable in the dress you choose as you’ll be wearing it all day.

And lastly, please do remember that every bride looks beautiful on her wedding day, because real beauty is not just about how you look.

 Find your dream dress in Fashion and discover What to Consider Before Buying Your Dress Online.

This article was written by

Kate Thompson
Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.