How to Choose a Wedding Dress for Your Body Type

In addition to appealing to the bride and fitting well, the ideal wedding dress should complement the bride's body type. There are many wedding gown styles, and not all of them are flattering on all shapes and sizes. Follow these guidelines for how to choose a wedding dress for your body type.


  1. Image titled Choose a Wedding Dress for Your Body Type Step 1
    Assess your body's characteristics.
    • Shape. There are 5 basic body shapes. Pear shaped bodies are wider at the hips than the shoulders. A rectangular shaped body is a streamlined shaped, with shoulder and hip widths that are relatively the same and not much definition at the waist. A triangular body shape implies shoulders that are broader than the hips. Hourglass figures have the same shoulder and hip widths and a lot of definition at the waist. Apple shaped women are fuller in the middle, and tend to have slender limbs.
    • Size. You may be petite, tall, plus-sized, slender or somewhere in-between.
    • Features. Take note of the parts of your body you feel the right wedding dress should call attention to, and which features you prefer to detract attention from. For example, you may want to cover your upper arms but display your back.
  2. Image titled Choose a Wedding Dress for Your Body Type Step 2
    Choose a wedding dress style that is flattering, according to your body's characteristics. Follow these guidelines to accentuate your positives:
    • Pear shaped. A-line skirts that flare out from a cinched waist, diagonally draped bodices, deep necklines and strapless tops can be ideal for pear shapes.
    • Rectangular shaped. Focus on cinching the waist and widening the shoulders. Fitted corsets, wide necklines and full skirts are sensible choices.
    • Triangular shaped. Simple, bias-cut wedding gown styles are very flattering on triangle shaped bodies.
    • Hourglass. Choose a low-cut shape that exposes the neckline and a well-fitted waist. Mermaid silhouettes work well on hourglass figures.
    • Apple shaped. The right wedding dress for an apple shape should cinch at the waist, then flare out into an A shape in the skirt. Additionally, an ornamented bodice can visually add weight up top and a deep V neckline creates a vertical line that will detract attention from the widest part of the waist.
    • Petite. Trumpet shapes are good for petite frames, as are simple sheath gowns and narrow A-line cuts. Keep the waistline above your natural waistline in order to visually stretch your figure vertically.
    • Tall. Keep the cut clean and simple, as in a bias cut or sheath dress, so as to accentuate the shape of your body. Make sure the sleeves and skirt are long enough to compliment your body's proportions.
    • Plus-sized. Empire waist and A-line wedding gown styles are flattering on plus-sized figures. Choose a fabric with body that can provide structure to the shape of the gown.
    • Thin. Look for wedding gown styles that add curves where you want them. Full skirts, cinched waists and ruched bodices are great for slender figures.
    • Busty. A wedding dress style with a curved neckline will frame your face and collarbone, and make your bust area a supporting feature.
    • Small busted. Look for ruching in the bodice, which can add volume and weight to your upper body. Halter styles are also good for accentuating a small bust.
    • Narrow hips. Bustles and full skirts can balance out your figure if you are very narrow from the waist down.
  3. Image titled Choose a Wedding Dress for Your Body Type Step 3
    Avoid wedding gown styles that aren't flattering to your figure. Take the following guidelines into consideration:
    • Pear shaped. High necklines can make pear-shaped hips appear larger and should be avoided. Additionally, stay away from full skirts, pleating and mermaid silhouettes.
    • Rectangular shaped. Halter tops and high necklines make your shoulders appear more narrow, and should be avoided, as well as straight silhouettes and bulky fabric treatments in the waist area.
    • Triangular shaped. Stay away from wide and/or low-cut necklines, which can make you appear even larger on top.
    • Hourglass. Straight cut dresses may be too snug on your curves and too loose around your waist, and empire cuts hide the best features of the hourglass figure. Gathers or pleats in the skirt can make the hips look disproportionate, and should only be chosen with discrimination.
    • Apple shaped. Trumpet dress silhouettes will accentuate the widest part of your body and contribute to a visual feeling of disproportion.
    • Petite. Drop-waist and calf-length designs will visually shorten your legs.
    • Tall. Avoid excessive embellishments, which can be overpowering on a tall frame.
    • Plus-sized. Avoid pleating and oversized and/or unfitted gowns, which will visually add weight to your figure.
    • Busty. Avoid strapless gowns with straight horizontal necklines, fabrics with sheen and ruching, as they will only make you appear heavier up top.

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Categories: Wedding Planning