Here’s How To Find The Perfect Bridal Gown For Your Body Type

posted: 05/08/15
by: TLC

Not all wedding dresses are created equal. Which is great, because neither are all bodies. It can be tough to find the right dress that works for your shape, especially when you're up to your ears in lace and chiffon, but it's not impossible. And we've got a few great tips that'll help you find a dress that flatters and fits in all the right places.

First thing's first: You need to know what your body type is.

from David's Bridal

Are you an hourglass, a triangle, an inverted triangle or a rectangle?

Hourglass figures tend to have well-defined waists and a fairly even shoulder-to-hip ratio.

Triangle figures have hips that are wider than your shoulders -- they're otherwise known as pear-shaped.

Inverted triangles are smaller on top and larger on the bottom.

Rectangle figures tend to have shoulders, hips, and waists that are of similar size.

So now that we've figured that out, what works best for each shape?

Hourglass figures tend to look great in, well, just about anything. If you want to really show off your curves, go with a mermaid cut that accentuates the lines of your body. Otherwise, try a streamlined sheath silhouette or a ballgown, if you want something more feminine and romantic.

For women who have triangle or pear-shaped frames, you may want a dress that refocuses your proportions. For example, an empire gown, which has a high-waisted bodice, keeps the focus away from the lower half of your body, and allows you to focus on your petite upper half. A-line style gowns, and ball gowns also do a great job of re-apportioning your frame, and letting your upper half shine.

Brides who have an inverted triangle shape -- whose shoulders are broad, and may be top-heavy -- can try a short gown to draw interest away from the upper half of their bodies. If your wedding is more formal, and you want to go with a long style, a ball gown, with more embellishment on the bottom might be the best bet. For women who prefer a more classic shape, a trumpet style gown that hugs your curves can help balance out your upper body.

Women with rectangle figures might need a little bit of help creating the illusion of curves. A-line gowns can help create an hourglass shape, while empire waist gowns make you appear taller and also give you a feminine shape. Try a dress with decorative seaming that'll give the illusion of an hourglass figure. Or go for a dress with a peplum which can give the appearance of hips, too.

Petite women should take care that their gowns don't overwhelm their small frames. Instead of heavily beaded, overwrought ballgowns, women with petite frames should go for gowns made from lighter fabrics, and with fewer layers. Skip the drop-waist gowns or mermaid gowns, they'll make your legs look non-existent. Instead, to elongate your body, you'll want a dress that has vertical panel, rather than horizontal details. The general rule for petite brides? Keep it simple and keep the details on the small side -- to scale with your small frame.

And for women on the plus-size end of the spectrum, there are tons of tips, too (Yukia and Yuneisia from "Curvy Brides" spill theirs in this video). Celebrate your curves with embellishments from the neck to the waist, Or search for a dress that has a high neckline and a sheath silhouette in order to make yourself appear as long and lean as possible. If you'd like to emphasize your waistline, find a dress with a dark sash or waistband. Draping on the bias can be slimming and shape-defining, too. In general, look for gowns made from fabrics with more structure to them.

If you're especially top heavy (aka big-breasted), you can opt for a square neckline, which will conceal your chest. If you definitely want a sweetheart neckline, try one with thicker straps, which will balance out your boobs. Or go for a dress that has some sheer netting at the top that adds interest but also added support. Just remember to pay attention to the fabric; fabric with too much sheen or shine to it (like, say, satin) will only call more attention to your chest.