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Wedding Dress Silhouette Style Guide

As a bride, it’s natural to want to look your absolute best on your wedding day — aside from you and your soon-to-be husband, your wedding dress will be front and center on the big day. Finding the right gown is essential, but with with everyone having different body types and the abundance of dress styles on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at the prospect of dress shopping.

Today, we’re breaking down the five most popular styles in a user-friendly wedding dress silhouette style guide so that you can get a grip on the industry’s terminology and figure out which look you like best before stepping into a bridal boutique to try on gowns! After all, the silhouette is the gown’s most prominent feature, and you want it to both flatter your shape and make you feel beautiful.

Check out the graphic below to determine what silhouette you believe suits you, and read further for an in-depth description of each style. Be sure to check out our previous post about wedding dress neckline styles, too!

Wedding Dress Silhouettes

A-Line Wedding Dress Silhouette
An A-line, or princess gown, is fitted at the bodice and has vertical seams that flow out from the shoulder all the way to the ground in an unbroken line, creating a flared skirt that resembles an “A” shape. A modified A-line has a slightly more fitted skirt that a traditional A-line gown, giving you a more defined shape. A-line gowns are incredibly popular because they are almost universally flattering for every body type.

Ballgown Dress Silhouette
A ballgown is fitted at the bodice and features a (very!) full skirt that begins at the natural waist. It’s a very traditional wedding gown style — think Cinderella! Ballgowns are great for brides who are pear-shaped, as they highlight the waist and minimize the lower body.

Sheath Wedding Dress Silhouette
A sheath dress is a sleek gown that fits very closely to the contours of the body. The narrow shape of the gown flows straight from the neckline to the hem with no defined waist, and is great for thin, silky fabrics and summery beach or destination weddings. Sheath gowns are for confident brides who want to show off their shape!

Mermaid Wedding Gown Silhouette
A mermaid gown fits closely to the body from the chest all the way to the knee and then flares out dramatically to the hem, resembling a fish tail. This silhouette is perfect for an elegant evening wedding or black tie affair. Mermaid gowns are a wonderful choice for brides with an hourglass figure who want to accentuate their curves.

Trumpet Wedding Dress Silhouette
Trumpet gowns fit closely to the body until mid-hip, where they then gradually widen to the hem, resembling the mouth of a trumpet. A trumpet gown features a tight bodice and a drop-waist, which highlights the bride’s every curve. The trumpet silhouette is often confused with the mermaid because each features a fitted bodice and flared skirt, but trumpet gowns flare from the hip while mermaid gowns flare from below the knee.

Source for photos used in mood board. 

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