Shopping for a wedding gown? You want to look your best on your wedding day. But the amount of choices can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what looks good on you. Browse our quick guide for the different dress styles and the kind of look that suits your body shape best—before you say yes to the dress.
The A-Line style has a fitted bodice until the waist. The skirt is flowy and cascades from the waistline toward the ground, resembling an uppercase “A”. It is ideal for all body types.
Also known as the “princess” dress, the ball gown style has a fitted bodice and a full skirt. Think Cinderella attending her very first ball. It’s ideal for most body types, but if you have a petite frame, it might look a little overwhelming.
The column or sheath dress is characterized by a narrow shape that flows from the neckline to the hem. If you’ve got a lean form, an hourglass figure, or an athletic body type, wearing gowns with this shape is a great way to show off those curves.
The empire-style gown has a fitted bodice that ends under the bust, with the skirt flowing straight down. It gives the appearance of a high waist and is perfect for petite brides as it gives the illusion of a longer torso.
The mermaid or fishtail style is sleek and sexy. It has a fitted cut from the chest to the knee and then flares out. It’s the perfect gown for brides who want to flaunt those curves.
The trumpet style is a cross between an a-line and a mermaid cut. It’s fitted throughout the body but flares out mid-thigh. It’s the perfect gown for brides who want to accentuate a tiny waist, like those who have petite frames or hourglass figures.
The hourglass shape is characterized by a defined waist and wide hips and bust that are usually perfectly balanced. Look for dresses that show off your gorgeous curves rather than choosing something that may add extra weight to your bust and hips.
What to wear: A-line, mermaid, column, trumpet
Avoid: Ball gown, empire
When you have a pear-shaped figure, your hips tend to be wider than your bust area. You usually have a smaller chest area, a petite and narrow build, and a defined waist. Get a gown that balances out your narrow shoulders and wide hips.
What to wear: A-line, mermaid, trumpet
If your shoulders and upper body are bigger than your lower body, you probably have a triangle shape. Triangle-shaped bodies usually have a slimmer waist and smaller hips, so you want to wear something that makes you look more full-balanced.
What to wear: Ball gown, empire, A-line
Avoid: Column, mermaid, trumpet
The oval or apple shape features a more ample bust, narrow hips, and a full torso area. You often have a more rounded torso and slender legs and arms. Look for gowns that don’t draw attention to your waist.
What to wear: A-line, ball gown, empire
Avoid: Mermaid, trumpet, column
The rectangle body type features a straight figure with shoulders, waist, and hips that are more or less within the same width. Usually, you have little waist definition and a smaller bust.
What to wear: A-line, empire, ball gown
Avoid: Mermaid, column, trumpet
The Cathedral Line train is grand and eye-catching, measuring about six to seven feet from the waistline. If you want to make a statement the moment you walk into the room, go with a cathedral wedding train.
A full cathedral train can be a bit of a bother because of how big and long it is. You can opt for a semi-cathedral length, which is a good mix of chapel and cathedral styles. It measures about five feet from the waist and still gives a statement without being too much to handle.
The chapel train is often the “just right” for many brides. It’s not too short, not too long, and measures about three feet from your waistline.
Even as this is the shortest wedding train, it still makes a statement. It is also known as the brush train, extending about a foot or less from where your skirts touch the floor.
The birdcage veil is a small veil that measures roughly nine inches in length. It is intended to cover only a part of your face.
Elbow-length veils are usually worn high on the crown of the head and hit near the bride’s elbows. If you love the retro vibes and don’t want to worry about a long veil, this is the one for you.
This veil flows from the head and hits near the bride’s fingertips, or just about the area around the hips. It's a neutral style that can go with almost any dress or hairdo.
The chapel length veil is a go-to option for many brides as it is best suited for formal weddings. It extends a couple of inches beyond the hem of the wedding gown.
If you’ve always wanted to have a fairy tale wedding, you can do so with a gorgeous gown and a cathedral length veil. It is the longest type of veil and extends one or two feet beyond the bride’s dress. Keep in mind that you will need a small team to spread and straighten it so it looks lovely in photos.