How to Choose a Wedding Dress Silhouette & Style for Your Body Type

Your wedding dress reflects your style, personality and the love story you’re about to share with your partner and the world. However, when it comes to wedding dress silhouettes and styles, one size does not fit all. 

Each body is one-of-a-kind, and knowing how to choose a bridal gown that flatters your figure can be the difference between feeling good and feeling great on the big day. Here’s how to match your bridal vision to your wedding dress silhouette with elegance and ease, ensuring that you feel as beautiful as you are. 

Understanding Your Silhouette 

Before you step foot in a bridal boutique, it’s important to understand what a wedding dress silhouette refers to and identify your body type. In the world of fashion, silhouette simply means the outline of a garment. This outline could be loose and flowing, as in the case of sheath dresses, or fitted and flaring, as in a bell-shaped ballgown silhouette. 

To discover the silhouette that will make you feel truly beautiful, start by understanding your body type and the wedding dress waistlines that typically flatter it. But remember, these classifications are just starting points, and each person is wonderfully distinctive. Don’t hesitate to try on different wedding dress styles to see what makes you feel the most confident. 

Different Body Types 

There are several recognized body types in the fashion world, each distinguished by where they carry their weight. The most common are the Hourglass, Pear, Apple, Rectangle, Inverted Triangle and Oval. 

When selecting a dress, the goal is to create balance and proportion. Here are the most common body types for women: 

  • Hourglass: Characterized by a well-balanced bust and hips with a cinched waist, hourglass figures can pull off most wedding dress styles. However, a dress that highlights the waist will often be a knockout. 
  • Pear (Triangle): Pear-shaped figures feature a fuller bottom and a narrower top, often flattered by skirts that gently flare out. The A-line silhouettes are especially flattering for pear-shaped brides. 
  • Apple (Round): Apple-shaped bodies carry most of their weight around the midsection. Their body type can be balanced with a dress that emphasizes the bust and creates a flow from the midsection down. 
  • Rectangle (Straight): Straight figures have little variation between their bust, waist and hip measurements. Dresses that add volume or definition to the bust or waist, can enhance this body type. 
  • Inverted Triangle: Inverted triangle bodies have broader shoulders and a narrower waist and hips. To create balance, look for a dress that adds fullness to your lower half, such as ballgown silhouettes. 
  • Oval (Round): Ovals have a wider waist, and the aim is to create the illusion of a risen waist. Sheath silhouettes or those that fluidly skim the body might work well. 

Determining Your Body Type 

To determine your shape, observe your body’s horizontal and vertical alignment, paying attention to your curves. 

Are you curvy with a fuller bust, hips and bottom? Do you have a smaller frame with a more defined waistline? Maybe you fall somewhere in between these two body types. 

Note where the widest points are — is it at the shoulders, bust, waist, hips or all equally? Also, measure your shoulders, bust, waist and hips to understand the numbers behind your visual observations. 

Wedding Dress Silhouettes 

Once you’ve become familiar with your body type, it’s time to understand wedding dress silhouettes. Keep in mind that different dress waistlines and styles can either accentuate or diminish your natural curves. Here are some common wedding dress silhouettes and how they work for different body types. 

Sheath Wedding Dress 

Dresses with sheath silhouettes are designed to flow straight down from the neckline to the hem, skimming the body’s curves rather than clinging to them. This silhouette is excellent for tall, slim brides. If you have an hourglass or rectangle shape, consider a sheath wedding gown with a sash or belt to highlight your waist. 

simple silk column wedding dress with cowl neckline and pearl detailing - D3823 by Essense of Australia

Essense of Australia Style D3823 

Essense of Australia Style D3823 is a clean and modern wedding dress with a touch of sparkle! This chic designer bridal gown showcases wide-set shoulder straps and a draped scoop neckline with pearl beaded accents. The shimmering pearls embellishments with the low open-back add just the right amount of detail. 

Made of luxurious crepe satin, the column sheath silhouette features a fitted ruched hip to accentuate natural curves. It is complete with a soft sweeping train for an elegant finish. 

A-line Wedding Dress 

A-line silhouettes are fitted at the bodice and flow out to the ground with an unbroken line —resembling the outline of an uppercase “A.” This style is an excellent choice for all body types, especially pear, rectangle and hourglass figures, as it skims over the lower body without hugging too tightly. 

lace and tulle a-line wedding dress with straight neckline and 3D accents - 7702 by Stella York

Stella York Style 7702 

Stella York Style 7702 is a gorgeous A-line gown that features luxurious embellished tulle layers, ideal for modern romantic brides. It showcases a scooped neckline and a strapless bodice with corset boning for a touch of elegance. Delicate 3D organza petals and subtle sequin accents add an ethereal charm, while billowy tulle layers create a soft train for a graceful walk down the aisle. 

Ballgown Wedding Dress 

The quintessential royal dress, ballgown silhouettes feature a fitted bodice and a full, floor-length, bell-shaped skirt. Ideal for most shapes, it can be particularly stunning on pear and hourglass figures, as it accentuates the waist and provides a lovely proportion. 

simple satin ballgown wedding dress with scoop neckline and train - D3846 by Essense of Australia

Essense of Australia Style D3846 

Immerse yourself in the elegance of Essense of Australia Style D3846, a modern twist on the classic ballgown wedding dress. This captivating design features a refined strapless bodice with a chic scoop neckline, adorned with graceful draping to accentuate your natural beauty. The lavish satin flare skirt offers a classic silhouette for modern brides, adding an elegant touch to their special day. 

Mermaid Wedding Dress 

For the bride who wants to flaunt their figure, mermaid silhouettes are fitted through the bodice, waist and hips, with a skirt that flares out into a wider shape at the knee. This style highlights curves in a dramatic way and works best for hourglass and inverted triangle shapes. 

lace mermaid wedding dress with open back and a plunging v-neckline - 1547 by Martina Liana

Martina Liana Style 1547 

Sparkling with luxurious 3D florals, beads and sequined floral lace, Martina Liana Style 1547 truly dazzles as it gracefully glides down the aisle. This mermaid silhouette stuns with chic shoulder straps, a deep V-neckline and a shimmering low back. The form-fitting skirt features intricate floral designer details, culminating in a glamorous mermaid style with a sweeping train. 

Your wedding day is such a special event, and choosing the right dress is a truly fulfilling aspect of the preparation process. By understanding your body type and how different silhouettes can enhance your natural beauty. You’re well on your way to finding the gown of your dreams. Remember, the most important thing is how you feel in the dress, so stay true to your style and trust your instincts. 

Ready to begin your wedding dress shopping journey? Explore our range of wedding dresses to discover the ideal style and silhouette for your body type. Find a store location near you!