Which style of wedding dress should I choose?

Dress Styles: Mermaid

The mermaid silhouette contours to the body from the chest to the knee, then flares out to the hem. This is a very sexy look that highlights the curves of a woman’s body. For this reason, you must be confident and comfortable in your skin to pull off this dramatic style.

Options: The mermaid style can support just about all necklines and sleeve lengths to reveal or cover as much skin as you desire. Since this dress is captivating by design, a high neck and long sleeves will still create an alluring look without being too sexy. If you want to show off your skin, you can opt for a strapless neckline, or a halter with a plunging v-neck to accentuate your seductive side.

Things to Consider: The mermaid cut is not for everyone. This daring design is best worn by slender figures, both short and tall. Since the mermaid dress is made to hug the body and show every curve, it is not well suited for those brides with full figures. However, if you are on the voluptuous side and want to accentuate your curves, this is the perfect dress for you. The most important thing to keep in mind when considering a Mermaid style dress is whether or not you will feel comfortable wearing it on your big day. You may have a flawless figure perfect for this type of dress, but if you do not feel confident in it, it is not worth choosing.

Beware: Clingy slip dress such as the mermaid often reveal embarrassing underwear lines. These lines not only reveal what you are wearing under the dress, but also take away from the elegance of your overall look. It is important to keep this in mind when considering a tight fitting or body hugging dress since it may restrict what items you are actually able to wear underneath the dress.

Dress Styles: A-Line/Princes

The A-line dress features a shape that is fitted around the bodice and flows out to the ground, resembling the outline of an uppercase A. The dress flows fluidly from the bust to the hem with an unbroken line. Due to its classic and simple style, the A-line dress is appropriate for any occasion, from a quiet backyard gathering, to a traditional church ceremony.

Options: The A-line is a versatile shape since it can accommodate many different structural elements, including horizontal seems that help define your waistline, or a separate bodice and skirt that feature contrasting fabrics. The look of the A-line dress is also dependant upon length, which can range from above the knee for a fun and flirty bride, to a full-length dress that flows into a chapel-length train for the more traditional bride.

Things to Consider: The A-line dress is flattering on almost all body types. The long lines of the princess cut dress can create the illusion of height on a shorter body, as well as slim down a rounded figure. The full skirt of the A-line can also hide a larger lower body, or create the illusion of curves on a narrow frame. Since the A-line dress is so versatile, simple modifications to the neckline, waistline, or fabric can accentuate your best features and hide those your not so fond of.

Dress Styles: Empire

An empire dress is defined by the raised waistline that sits just below the bust, from which the rest of the dress flows down to the hem. This style is usually paired with a square neckline and wide set straps or sleeves. Like the A-line, the empire style is very versatile and can accommodate a wide range of formality.

Options: Since the empire dress is primarily defined by the placement of the waistline, there are many other design options that contribute to the overall look of the dress. Sleeve length on an empire dress can range from long, bell sleeves for a winter Renaissance wedding, to a sleek, sleeveless design perfect for an outdoor summer affair. Skirt style is another important variable on the empire cut, as it can flow freely or contour to your body, depending on the silhouette you want to create.

Things to Consider: While the empire dress fits well on most body types, it is especially suited for those brides with a smaller bust since it draws attention to the neckline and creates definition. Added accents and fabric embellishments, such as capped sleeves or delicate bead work, will help to draw attention to your chest and neckline, and therefore create the illusion of a fuller bust.

Oddly enough, this cut can also work to conceal a large bust by controlling and minimizing the size of your breasts due to the traditionally square neckline of the empire dress. Unlike other necklines that accentuate breast definition, such as the scoop neck or v-neck, the Empire’s square cut modestly covers larger breasts.

The design of the empire dress is also ideal for covering other unwanted body features such as a long torso, short legs, or a pear shaped figure. Since the dress flows from the bust line, it can easily leave these areas undefined. The structure of the empire dress is also ideal for pregnant brides since the fluidity of the dress can accommodate a growing belly.

Dress Styles: Column

The column dress has a narrow shape that flows straight down from the neckline to the hem. This dress, also referred to as a sheath, tends to hug the body and show any and all of your curves The column is appropriate for all types of weddings, especially causal occasions on the beach, or intimate evening events at a banquet hall.

Options: Due to the simplicity of the column style, there are many ways to change the overall appearance of the dress. Mixing various necklines and sleeve lengths will create a range of different looks around the basic cut of the column dress. A strapless column dress will look sexy and elegant, while one with a bateau neck and long, bell sleeves will look more romantic and whimsical.

Things to Consider: Similar to the mermaid style, the column dress is best worn by lean figures, both short and tall. The elongating nature of this design will help petite brides appear taller. However, the column dress does not allow much room for hiding problem areas, such as a larger lower body. It can conceal minor flaws if you opt for a constructed column that will stay in place, but the slip style will be unforgiving. Also, boxy figures that do not have natural curves may consider accenting the waistline with a separate bodice or sash to create the illusion of a defined waist.

Beware: Body hugging designs such as the column dress can constrict your movement, including the ability to sit and dance as comfortably as you would wish on your big day.; If you want a highly-constructed column dress, you may consider one that has pleats or gathering in the back that will allow you to move more freely.

Dress Styles: Ball Gown

The ball gown style is perfect for those brides envisioning a fairy tale wedding. This silhouette pairs a fitted bodice with a full skirt that can either be one piece or separates. The ball gown is most appropriate for large, traditional weddings where the dress will be consistent with the formality of the event.

Options: Much like the A-line dress, the ball gown can support many different necklines and sleeve lengths. Various combinations of these elements create many different looks for many different occasions. If you are having a very formal or traditional wedding where you are expected to be covered, choosing a ball gown with a portrait neck and long sleeves will keep you covered but also show your femininity. You can achieve a dramatic effect by choosing a strapless ball gown and pairing it with opera length gloves. If you want a simple yet elegant look, you can go with a sleeveless, scooped neck bodice that flows all the way to the ground.

Things to Consider: While this style can accommodate most body types, the ball gown is ideal for slender or pear-shaped figures as the full skirt helps to accentuate the waist and hide the lower body. If you have a large bust, this style will help to create the hourglass look since it emphasizes the waistline due to the fitted bodice and natural or dropped waist.

Beware: The volume of the ball gown can create false and unwanted illusions. Be careful if you are on the shorter side since you may not have the height to balance the size of the skirt. Also, instead of complimenting the figure of a full-breasted bride, the skirt could actually cause her to look larger. Keep these factors in mind when considering a ball gown, and remember that an A-line or princess cut dress can be more flattering while still providing the desired effect.

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