Congratulations! You’ve found the guy (or gal) and got the ring. Now all you need to do is find your perfect dress. Scrolling through Pinterest can be a daunting task; hundreds of pictures of gorgeous gowns in all different shapes and colors. And if shopping isn’t your thing– or you haven’t worn a dress since grade school – the whole process can quickly become overwhelming.
As you head into your first appointment, you’ll likely have many questions and think you may not be able to wear a certain type of silhouette because of your body type. Luckily, that’s not the case! Your personality and the feel of your wedding are bigger factors than your body type. After all, you still want to feel like yourself, just elevated. The key to finding the perfect wedding gown, regardless of silhouette, is structure. A gown with good structure is capable of many things: it can enhance a shape that is there, like a smaller waist or wider hips, while hiding insecurities, like a fuller midsection or thighs. You never know how something is going to look until it is on your body and a good bridal consultant knows what they are doing, you should never feel ugly in a wedding gown.
It’s a good idea to have a basic idea of what silhouettes exist and what they do for your body. It’s likely your consultant is going to ask about your thoughts on things like silhouettes, style, color and the more you know, the smoother the appointment will be.
There are three basic shapes that wedding gowns come in:
Ball gown- the fullest skirt of the silhouettes; often referred to as a “princess gown”
A-Line- still has volume, but not as much as a ball gown; creates an “A” shape from your hips to the ground
Fitted- the most body hugging of the silhouettes; follows your curves past your hips before flowing to the ground
Let’s dig in a little deeper.
The Ball Gown
When most people are asked to picture a wedding gown, a ballgown is the first thing that comes to mind. It’s easy to see why; the fairytale stories we grew up with always showed the girl in the puffiest dress the creators could imagine. And it makes sense once you think about it. Most ballgowns hit at the smallest part of the waist, and then flair out. Having all the extra fabric at the bottom creates the illusion of a smaller waist, and the many layers of fabric in the skirt can mask any midsection insecurities (it’s OK ladies, we all have them!). If you are a more petite bride who has dreamed of a ballgown but are afraid it’ll be the main focus instead of you, you can reduce the volume of the skirt by removing the crinoline (a really stiff fabric typically used under dresses to increase volume). This little change will keep you star of the show!
Sometimes you still want volume, but you don’t really want to feel like a cupcake on your wedding day. That’s where an A-line comes into play. A-line gowns still hit at the smallest part of the waist and flows out, but the shape of the skirt creates more of an “A” than a ballgown does. There aren’t quite as many layers in the skirt and it isn’t worn with the crinoline that ballgowns often have. You can always play with volume by adding a slip underneath if you want something between the original gown and a fuller ballgown silhouette. This style easily camouflages any problem areas you might have. A-lines are a great silhouette that works in both a casual and more formal wedding venue.
Our last silhouette and probably the most intimidating, is the fitted style wedding gown. A fitted gown hugs the curves and creates an hourglass-type shape, or emphasizes what’s already there. With a fitted gown, you can find one that only hugs to right below the bum, you can find one that fits all the way down to the knee, or you can find one that hits somewhere in between. From there the skirt can also have varying levels of volume. For example, if you want to flaunt your curves, but love the drama of a ballgown, you can find a fitted gown with structure all the way down to the floor. Or if you’re someone who wants to flaunt her curves but doesn’t want to be over the top, there are gowns that softly flow to the ground from the most fitted point. A common concern is how a bride’s midsection will look in a fitted gown (that dreaded problem area again!), but there are ways to alleviate those concerns. Choosing the right kind of fabric can do a lot. When you have a lace fabric on the wedding gown, the pattern can move the eye so you (and your guests) aren’t focused on one particular spot. When you have a flat fabric, like a satin or jersey, there’s no movement to the dress and you might hone in on shadows created around their stomach, or the folds in the dress. If you are a plus size bride and like the idea of a fitted gown but are worried, look for a dress with structure through the midsection, boning that goes through the waist, plus the right type of fabric will have you feeling your most confident.
Hopefully this breakdown has helped you on your journey to finding your perfect gown. Now go out there and pin those gowns without fear. We can’t wait to see you in the store!