The Wedding Dress for Your Body Shape

Written by    Last updated: October 9, 2013

Wedding dresses, like women, are all different shapes and sizes. We have our favourite styles but how can we be sure they are the most flattering? Here’s how to make the most of your shape with the right style of wedding dress to help you look more beautiful and feel more confident on your most photographed day.

Wedding dress National Wedding Show

If you have your heart set on wearing a ballgown then a ballgown you shall wear. If, on the other hand, you’re not sure what dress styles suit you as you’re always in jeans or you’re concerned about your tummy or your arms, there are a few tried and trusted 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, or just serve to highlight what’s missing?
  • the material – Does it cling to your every curve, or skim your line to perfection?
  • the length – Does it elongate you if you are on the short side, or serve to make the most of your elegant stature if you’re tall?
  • the skirt shape – Does it fall to the floor, giving the illusion of perfectly curvaceous hips, or cruelly accentuate your heavy thighs and saddlebags?

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.

Find the shape description that is nearest to your figure and discover which styles will suit you better than others and which dresses you may prefer to avoid.

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 like the plague!

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.

Wedding dress National Wedding Show


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.


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

Wedding dress National Wedding Show

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.

Choosing your wedding dress

It’s good to try on several dresses and 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 that you feel comfortable in the dress you choose as you’ll be wearing it all day and I hope very much that you’ll feel just as confident and beautiful in whatever style you choose.

 Find your dream dress in the Wedding Dresses Showcase. Images courtesy of the National Wedding Show 2014.

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.

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