Wedding Dress Silhouette Glossary

Written by    Last updated: January 7, 2016

Wedding Dress Silhouette Glossary |

Image courtesy of Justin Alexander

There are a lot of things to consider when shopping for a wedding dress; from the colour and fabric to the shape and length. Walking into a boutique and seeing hundreds of different dresses in an array of designs can be overwhelming and confusing, so we recommend that the first thing you tackle is choosing a silhouette.

Whilst you may have already looked online and decided which shape you like, you may be surprised to discover that a different style suits your figure better. Be open minded and try on a bit of everything and you’ll soon work out which silhouette is best for you!

In prep for your first bridal gown shopping experience, we take you through the UK’s most common bridal gown shapes that you’re likely to see in the shops.

Ballgown Wedding Dress

For many the ballgown is considered the classic ‘princess dress’ shape. With a fitted bodice and full skirt falling from the natural waist line, this style is great for accentuating a small waist and flaring over hips. It is also great for shortening a long torso and creating the illusions of a more curvaceous figure.

Justin Alexander Ballgown Wedding Dress |

Image courtesy of Justin Alexander

A-Line Wedding Dress

An A-line gown is another classic shape and suits most shapes and sizes. Most commonly corseted, this style will nip you in at the waist and will skim smoothly over the hips. This silhouette is less bulky than the ballgown and is particularly good for top heavy brides as the wide hem balances the figure.

 Dropped Waist A-Line Wedding Dress

This silhouette is very similar to the regular A-line, however it skims further down over the hips before flaring out into an A-line shape, showing off more of the figure. This style is great for elongating the body, but be careful as it can sometimes make your legs look shorter if the dropped waist falls too far down. You will find that different dresses will vary slightly in cut.

Ellis Bridal Dropped Waist A-Line Wedding Dress |

Image courtesy of Ellis Bridal

Fishtail Wedding Dress

A great shape for showing off curves or creating them if you don’t have them! This silhouette hugs the figure flaring out just above, on or below the knee. Dresses that flair out above the knee tend to be more flattering if height is not on your side!

Madison James Fishtail Wedding Dress |

Image courtesy of Madison James

Empire Line Wedding Dress

This style fits over the bust and flairs out directly underneath it hiding the tummy and hips. It suits most figures but is particularly flattering for brides with a smaller bust as it accentuates this area! It is also fab for brides with a pear shape figure who want to draw attention away from their curvy hips. Pregnant brides will benefit from the loose fitting waist, however if you’re not pregnant some styles can look like a maternity dress! Avoid this look by opting for an empire line dress that doesn’t gather too much under the bust.

Alfred Angelo Empire Line Dress |

Image courtesy of Alfred Angelo

 Sheath Wedding Dress

A sheath style wedding dress is a slim silhouette, which hugs the figure from top to bottom.  Its elongating affects make it a great option for petite brides who want to appear taller. Due to the figure hugging nature slinkier fabrics won’t leave much to the imagination, so opt for a heavier fabric to streamline the silhouette. If you lack curves a belt or sash can help define the waist.

David's Bridal Sheath Wedding Dress |

Image courtesy of David’s Bridal

 High-Low Wedding Dress

Whilst there have been the odd high-low wedding dresses in previous bridal gown collections, this modern shape is going to be one of the hottest trends for 2016. The short hem at the front allows you to show off a fab pair of shoes, whilst the longer back gives that illusion of a train, creating a bridal look!

Kelsey Rose High-Low Wedding Dress |

Image courtesy of Kelsey Rose

 Tea Length Wedding Dress

Inspired by the 1950s, a tea length wedding dress hem can hover anywhere between just below the knee and just above the ankle. If you are petite opt for a shorter length to avoid looking like a little girl in a prom dress! Add a petticoat to create a fuller flair and opting for a coloured one gives you a fun and unique look!

Amanda Wyatt Tea Length Wedding Dress |

Image courtesy of Amanda Wyatt

Mini Wedding Dress

Cut above the knee, the mini wedding dress is perfect for a bride with great legs and a fab pair shoes! This modern look is the perfect style for a contemporary wedding or for the bride who wants a dress which she can wear again.

Charlotte Balbier Mini Wedding Dress |

Image courtesy of Charlotte Balbier

This article was written by

Lucy Leaper
Lucy Leaper is our inspiration and bridalwear specialist! She has a degree in fashion design and 12 years experience in the fashion industry, including 3 and a half years as the manager of a bridal boutique. Lucy loves to hear every little detail about a bride's wedding plans and it is no surprise that the first thing she wants to know is what they're wearing!


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