Wedding Gowns to Flatter your Body Type

When trying on wedding gowns, a good idea is to take a digital camera with you to take pictures of the bride in different dresses. Then you can look at each dress later at your leisure. Also, you can show the pictures to someone who might not have been with you, but whose opinion you value.

Since brides come in different shapes and sizes, so do wedding gowns. Listed here are several different body types and the style of dress that should be considered because it flatters that particular body type:

1. Pear-Shaped

A skirt that flares gradually in an A shape from the natural waist to the floor highlights the narrowness of the midsection as it floats away from the hips and thighs. A V neckline or spaghetti straps on the bodice will draw attention to a more slender upper body. Sturdier fabrics, such as duchesse satin and taffeta are great for A line dresses since they won't cling. A classic A line dress is often used for formal weddings, but it can also be less formal when it is made from a more casual fabric, like eyelet, lace, or raw-silk shantung.

2. Apple Shaped

The best style for this shape is one that cinches in at the smallest point of the waistline, then flares out into a gradual A line. The bodice should have a lot of texture, such as ruching or lace, that will fit snugly, creating a corsetlike effect. The most flattering neckline would be one with a deep V, which accents the vertical, not the horizontal.

3. Plus-Sized

A good style for plus size is an Empire wedding gown. With this style the skirt begins under the bust and flows into an A line. Be careful that the fabric is not gathered or pleated at the high waistline. It should play up your shape. Anything too loose will add pounds.This is best made with a fabric that provides structure, such as satin, rather than a flowing fabric. If you want the look of airier fabrics, choose a dress with a stiffer base, then add a tulle, chiffon or organza overlay.

4. Busty

A dress with a scooped neckline will open up your face and draw attention to your decolletage without showing too much cleavage. If you want a strapless wedding gown, look for one with a sweetheart neckline (slight dip along the neckline rather than straight across. A straight across strapless gown will make your bust appear even larger). Fabric with a sheen to it (organza, satin, or silk) or ruching will add volume and call attention to your chest.

5. Few curves or small-chested

Your will want a dress that creates curves. A good style might be a sheath dress in a wispy charmeuse with a curving side seam to give you the illusion of curves. Or perhaps a ball gown that cinches your natural waist and falls into a full, flowing skirt. If you have a small bust, look for a bodice with some ruching to create volume. A lightly padded halter style will also be flattering.

6. Tall

If you are tall you will want to emphasize your natural shape. Every aspect of the dress, such as the lower waistline and a floor sweeping hemline, needs to reflect your longer proportions. If the sleeves are long, they should be past the wrist to avoid looking as if you had outgrown the dress! Lean toward simplicity rather than too fancy. This will accent your statuesque shape and not look too cutesy.

7. Petite

A trumpet, sheath, or modified A line gown would be good for this body type. The waistline should be above your natural waistline so that it will give the illusion that you are longer! You can use a fabric with a high sheen, but have small detailing limited to the bodice to draw the eye upward. Avoid dresses with dropped waists (they make your legs appear very short) and ball gowns (you might get lost in the voluminous skirt).

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