What do you think? What’s the most popular wedding dress silhouette? Any bridal stylist would, without hesitation, answer “A-line.”
However, the ball-gown, fit and flare, mermaid, sheath, and empire styles make a solid competition to this cut.
Everyone’s body shape, personality, and style preferences are different, and wedding dress silhouettes aren’t limited to these six options.
But specific styles have become popular for a good reason. Some are valued for the comfort and versatility; others – for a show-stopping effect and the ability to emphasize curves.
Learning the types of wedding gowns is vital because your preferred silhouette is the first thing any bridal stylist will ask when you go shopping. Often, popular styles are the best choice, even if they aren’t the most creative.
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A-line is undoubtedly the most popular wedding dress style because it fits any body type and setting.
This silhouette features a fitted bodice and skirt that gradually flares from the natural waistline, giving the dress a signature shape of the capital “A.”
A-line gowns can vary from mini and midi to full and monarch-length.
Furthermore, this cut comes with virtually any sleeve and neckline style, from seductive strapless sweetheart neckline to romantic flutter sleeves and boat neckline.
The A-line wedding dress cut truly suits any body type because it helps to accentuate natural curves and visually elongates the silhouette.
Classic A-line gowns without corsets or elaborate sleeves won’t help create curves if you don’t have any or balance significant disproportion.
Thankfully, you can always choose a corseted bodice and play with sleeve styles to achieve the desired look.
The A-line silhouette is perfect for petite brides because it creates an illusion of height, especially if the dress is floor-length or chapel-length.
Tall brides who are proud of their height will also appreciate this feature of the A-line silhouette.
Depending on the design and fabric, an A-line gown will fit any wedding style, including rustic, bohemian, whimsical, preppy, and black-tie. If you can’t decide on the perfect dress silhouette, go for an A-line.
However, this silhouette isn’t a good fit for brides wishing to cause a wow-effect by wearing dramatic attire.
The A-line cut is a timeless classic that is unlikely to amaze anyone unless the dress has a royal-length train or intricate embellishments.
Another benefit of this style is comfort – the flared, flowy skirt doesn’t chinch the legs, allowing the bride to walk and dance freely.
The ball gown wedding dress silhouette is a princess-worthy alternative to an A-line cut.
If you’ve always dreamt of a fairy tale wedding, this silhouette is your best bet. This style is ideal for any bride looking for show-stopping wedding attire.
A classic ball gown features a fitted bodice, often with a corset to enhance the contrast between slim waist and wide hips.
Ball gown skirt doesn’t flare gradually like A-line – the transitioning from the waistline to the skirt is always apparent.
The skirt’s volume is usually achieved by a crinoline, hooped underskirt, or many layers of fabric.
A ball gown can be made from any material, but organza, tulle, and other lightweight fabrics are especially common, giving the attire a dreamy, whimsical feel.
Ball gown wedding dresses can be of any length, although full and floor-length options are the most popular. Most tea-length wedding gowns have a ball gown cut, with a voluminous, swinging skirt.
Unlike A-line dresses, ball gowns aren’t universal. They require a worthy setting, like a castle, church, or exquisite hotel venue. This silhouette may look over-the-top in the countryside or beach.
This silhouette also isn’t as versatile when it comes to body types. The wide skirt can make the figure appear shorter and bulkier, so petite brides should avoid it or wear it with extra-high heels.
On the other hand, brides with an inverted triangle body type can benefit from the full skirt that balances broad shoulders.
Women with a pear body type will admire how this silhouette accentuates the waist and draws attention from the hips to the upper part.
Note that a ball gown isn’t the most comfortable silhouette. Although the full skirt gives enough room for walking, it can create distance between partners during dancing and cause trouble when taking the stairs.
The fit-and-flare wedding dress silhouette toes the line between the mermaid and A-line cuts, featuring a fitted bodice and hips and gradually flaring from the upper thigh skirt.
It’s an ultimately feminine, seductive silhouette made for confident brides.
Don’t confuse a classic fit-and-flare cut with the trumpet cut. The latter also has a fitted bodice and hip area, but the flare starts lower, at the mid-thigh or slightly above the knee.
Since the fit-and-flare style accentuates natural body lines, it looks the best on brides with hourglass and pear body types. Fit-and-flare gowns often feature corsets to make the stomach slimmer and emphasize the waistline.
This style may also suit brides with an inverted triangle figure because the flared skirt balances proportions. Brides with a rectangle body shape may look for dresses with a corset to create the illusion of curves.
The fit-and-flare silhouette beautifully elongates the legs and looks well with any height. This gorgeous style is demanding to the setting.
Although a fit-and-flare gown can fit even a rustic or beach wedding, depending on the design, it looks the most appropriate in luxurious venues.
If you wish to fit this silhouette into a laid-back wedding in a barn or forest, choose modest necklines and flowy sleeves, and avoid embellishments.
Overall, this style is perfect for brides wishing to showcase their curves while remaining comfortable.
The skirt hugs the hips but doesn’t restrict leg movement so that the bride can dance easily. However, many fit-and-flare gowns have long trains that may get under the feet.
The sheath wedding dress style skims the body, falling straight to the floor below the hips. The skirt doesn’t have any flare – it has a slim-fitting, narrow shape but doesn’t chinch the legs.
The sheath silhouette is commonly confused with the column, but they aren’t the same. Column gowns have a more relaxed fit without a defined waistline, while sheath gowns hug the upper body curves.
This wedding dress style is a sleek and modern choice for brides who value tradition and comfort. It isn’t as attention-seeking as the ball gown or mermaid silhouettes, but undoubtedly elegant and chic.
This doesn’t mean that a sheath wedding dress is necessarily a modest choice. You can add drama to a sheath gown with a cathedral-length train, illusion sweetheart neckline, intricate beading, or a thigh-high slit.
This silhouette beautifully emphasizes height and is perfect for petite brides wishing to appear taller.
Brides with an hourglass body type look the best in this silhouette because it accentuates natural curves but doesn’t help to balance broad shoulders or hips.
The sheath wedding dress style also looks beyond gorgeous on athletic figures, especially if the gown has a halter neck or strapless neckline, drawing attention to toned arms.
Sheath gowns don’t typically have corsets, so they aren’t a good fit for brides concerned about tummy fat.
The best thing about the sheath silhouette is that it fits any wedding style and setting, just like A-line dresses.
The empire silhouette is an all-time favorite among pregnant and plus-sized brides because of the high waistline that sits just below the bust.
The skirt is typically straight like in sheath dresses but can be slightly flared like in the A-line style.
Although this style is favored by brides with an apple body type concerned about tummy fat or the lack of defined waist, it’s actually a fantastic all-rounder for any body shape.
Empire wedding dresses are dreamy, elegant, and romantic.
This wedding dress cut draws attention to the upper body and helps to emphasize fuller bust or slender arms. It also visually elongates the legs and thus is perfect for petite brides.
The empire is perhaps the most modest wedding dress silhouette, but you can make it seductive with a plunging neckline or high slit. A long train will make an empire wedding dress royalty worthy.
Technically, the mermaid silhouette is a dramatic variation of the fit-and-flare style. It hugs the body and flares at the knees or slightly below them, creating an alluring, feminine look.
The mermaid wedding dress style demands confidence in one’s look. This silhouette inevitably draws attention, even if the dress design is minimalistic. For this reason, it’s favored by extraverted brides who love to be in the spotlight.
Note that it’s the most uncomfortable wedding dress silhouette because the tight skirt chinches the knees, restricting leg movement.
The bride must take small steps and needs assistance when taking the stairs. Furthermore, mermaid gowns often have long trains and corsets.
However, if you’re ready to sacrifice comfort for the sake of looks or plan to get a second wedding dress for the reception, go for it. The wow-factor any mermaid wedding dress carries is worth it.
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