Wedding Dress Styles and Silhouettes

Ready to say yes to the dress but not sure where to start? We’ve outlined the most common bridal gown silhouettes so you can find the perfect wedding dress style for your bridal vision!

A-Line Wedding Dresses

A-Line wedding dresses are the epitome of classic beauty! A-Line gowns include a fitted, structured bodice and a flowy, easy-to-wear skirt that flares out gradually. It’s a very popular style as it complements brides’ proportions and flatters the figure with a romantic, feminine cut.

Who it is flattering on:

A-Line wedding dresses are praised for their ability to look good on everybody. From athletic builds to pear-shaped brides, A-Line silhouettes are gorgeous on every bride. Brides who aren’t sure of which gown style to choose often start by trying on a classic A-Line wedding gown and go from there. Ensure your dress fits perfectly by having it altered by a skilled seamstress.

What style of wedding:

The ever-flattering A-Line style is very versatile and works with every wedding theme. Dress it up for a black-tie wedding with a fingertip-length veil or a sparkly, jeweled belt. Achieve the bridal vision of your boho dreams by pairing your A-Line gown with sandals. Whether you’re opting for a rooftop soireé or a backyard big day, this silhouette could be your perfect fit.

Fit-and-Flare Wedding Dresses

 Fit-and-flare wedding dresses hug the body in all the right places! The top of the gown is fitted until the skirt flares just below the hips, which helps accentuate a brides’ waist. Fit-and-flare gowns are a hybrid of the A-Line and Mermaid silhouettes; this style accentuates the waist and still allows for dramatic flair.

Who it is flattering on:

Fit and flare wedding gowns are often selected by brides with pear and hourglass builds, as the shape highlights your curves. The shape also adds length in the torso, which can help petite brides look taller. 

What style of wedding:

Choose a fit-and-flare wedding dress silhouette if you’re planning an ultra-romantic wedding. Fit-and-flare gowns will float down the aisle of a rustic vineyard or an elegant art museum! The modern shape pairs well with any season and multiple accessories, so you can be sure that your fit-and-flare gown will complement any wedding day vision. A lace jacket or fur shawl will glam up your fit-and-flare gown but a flower crown can make it the perfect beach option.

Mermaid and Trumpet Wedding Dresses

 Mermaid or trumpet wedding gowns are undoubtedly the sexiest silhouette a bride can wear. This style amplifies all of your curves in all the right places. Frequently accented with a sexy sweetheart neckline, mermaid wedding dresses feature an elongated bodice that highlights the hips and flares out at the knee.

Who it is flattering on:

Any bride who chooses a mermaid or trumpet wedding dress will achieve that sultry, uber-romantic effect. Hourglass shaped brides love the way this silhouette adds a dash of drama and totally flatters the figure. Straight and narrow brides, rest assured, the shape of this style will create enviable curves as well!

What style of wedding:

When brides think of mermaid or trumpet silhouettes, their minds often picture a beach wedding. While this makes sense (and they are the perfect pick for summer nuptials) add lace sleeves and you have the most beautiful gown for a fall or winter wedding.

Ballgown Wedding Dresses

Two words: princess dress! Ballgowns are referred to as the most popular wedding dress silhouette thanks to their whimsical, romantic essence. They offer a traditional, classic shape that is the epitome of a quintessential wedding day look.

Who it is flattering on:

Ballgowns feature a fitted bodice, sometimes complete with a corset back, and a full, layered skirt that flares out dramatically. These wedding gowns cinch the waist in the most sophisticated way. The timeless silhouette is perfect for brides looking for that added drama on their wedding day.

What style of wedding:

Ballgowns are perfect for their namesake: a classic, elevated-glam ballroom reception. Layers of fabric give off a Cinderella-esque, appear to float down the aisle and always make a statement. Envision this silhouette waltzing across the dance floor in a vintage boutique hotel ballroom.

Short Wedding Dresses

Who said brides had to wear floor-length frocks? Short wedding dresses are the perfect option for brides who want to dance the night away. Short hemlines are usually tea-length or mid-thigh. Short gowns achieve an elegant look without the burden of feeling too formal.

Who it is flattering on:

Short bridal gowns allow you to show off your legs and the most fun accessory: your shoes! Short gowns are great for the bride who wants to wear something fun and simple.

What style of wedding:

Short wedding dresses are so versatile and bring fun to any wedding. Whether you’re exchanging I do’s in a casual city hall ceremony, a tropical oceanside reception, or a fun Sunday morning soireé, this is a fabulous silhouette that will make a modern statement.

Sheath Wedding Dresses

  Sheath wedding dresses are the embodiment of simple sophistication. This contemporary style is equal parts sexy and polished. Thanks to the straight lines and modern style, sheath wedding dresses have a flattering lengthening effect.

Who it is flattering on:

Because sheath gowns are so sleek, they look great on a multitude of body shapes. The column cut follows your body’s natural shape, fitting similarly to a slip dress. Petite brides can rest assured in this wedding dress silhouette, as they’re usually minimalistic and chic without overwhelming you with tons of fabric. 

What style of wedding:

Sheath bridal gowns are elegant enough to fit any theme! The column silhouette is perfect for small and simple, beachy boho, sexy, classic or vintage weddings. You can elevate your style and complement your big day style with vintage pearls, a glam headpiece or a romantic cathedral length veil.

Find Your Perfect Wedding Dress Style

The best way to decide if a wedding dress style is the perfect fit for your bridal vision, is to make an appointment at a bridal salon and try them on. Once you’ve made an appointment, bring a list of your favorite styles, necklines, sleeves and dream dress to help steer the stylist, but keep an open mind. Oftentimes, THE dress is one you never would have thought of! Find a bridal store near you.

View the entire Wedding Dress Styles Infographic

Cover image credit: @fashionablykay & Makayla McAfee