There truly is no such thing as a ‘typical wedding dress’. The variety will blow your mind and will encourage you to keep searching for the dress that will make you… you. The most beautiful you anyone’s ever seen!
These dresses are like a piece of art. They glow and shine like most exquisite jewelry. Their dramatic curves carry the softest touch. These dresses draw all the eyes to you. They elevate your naked skin like most precious porcelain.
Formal, floor-length gowns are the traditional choice. There are no other occasions in life that call for this type of dress code… it’s an exclusive opportunity reserved for you to stand out during your most cherished moments.
Various silhouettes convey personality and breathe femininity. Enhanced curves and strategically added volume balance out your body and make it look wonderfully proportioned. Necklines show off your best assets and draw attention to your face. The color gently frames your skin to look delicate and precious. The embellishments remind everyone that you are the queen of this day!
In this post, let’s talk about the variety and types of wedding dresses. In another post, we will talk about how different dress features can bring out the best in different body types.
Wedding dress silhouettes.
Femininity is all about curves, and silhouettes enhance curves by narrowing some parts and adding volume to others.
Silhouettes create drama, flow from fitted to flared, or pour down your natural curves like liquid honey. The right silhouette will absolutely flatter you, but the wrong one may look disappointing. Take the time to try different dresses, and be prepared that some will surprise you by looking more flattering than you expected.
The trickiest silhouette to pull off, and the most elegant and sophisticated look, comes with a sheath dress (sometimes called column dress).
It just flows down, relying on the body to supply the curves and the proportion. It doesn’t hold the body – it moves with it, adding grace and poise to each gesture and each step.
With its minimalist and body-conscious approach, it can be a very sexy dress for the right body type. Pouring down the body’s natural curves like liquid honey, featuring side splits, open backs or plunge necklines, it’s an ultimate red carpet dress for your own celebrity moment.
It doesn’t have to be over-the-top sexy, either. Sheath dresses come in great variety. Asymmetric necklines, pleats, sequins. If you’d prefer to err by being a little conservative, keep looking for the right sheath dress. Most often, they have straps and look great with a high neck. They are almost always understated and timelessly elegant.
Sheaths make an already near-perfect body look even better. Yet, unfortunately, they can be maddeningly difficult for most women to pull off. Before you reject it out of hand, though, explore the undergarment options and custom-made linings that may give you the support you need to love yourself in it.
On the other hand, sheath dresses are not for everybody. Sheaths are all about sophistication and maturity. If you are looking for a playful, fun dress to dance and party in, keep reading.
As you could guess from its name, this is often a vintage style, dating even as far back as 18th century.
Empire dress’ focal point is the narrowing just above the waist. This narrow point is usually accented with a horizontal element (a sash or a belt).
The empire style dress gently flares out below, usually without a dramatic skirt. These dresses rarely have strapless necklines, and are excellent choices to emphasize the bust and lengthen legs in a fairly conservative way.
Empire dresses tend to look flattering on slim and tall ladies, and are almost always the garment of choice for a pregnant lady. However, women of many body types do not find it flattering.
A-line dresses and ballroom dresses
These dresses are fitted at the top and flare from the waist down. They are, hands down, one of the most universally flattering silhouettes.
A-lines flare out in an unbroken, flowy shape of an A, whereas ballroom dresses have an eye-catching, even dramatic, voluminous skirt. The additional volume at the bottom, together with the fitted bodice, makes the woman look smaller and shorter – and thus these are top choice dresses for tall and plus-size brides. On the other hand, they usually don’t work for short, petite ladies.
These are the ultimate ‘princess dresses’. Notice the difference – it’s ‘princess’, not ‘queen’. Somehow they feel youthful and playful. Yet if you try wearing one, with all the space that it claims for you, you’ll instantly feel like royalty, everyone fawning over you.
These are also great ‘power dresses’ for when we feel a little unsure of ourselves. Taking up space subtly builds our self-confidence and helps us take the limelight that is rightfully ours.
Finally, A-line and ballroom dresses are also incredibly feminine. The skirt silhouette enhances natural curves, and – because fitted bodice (often a laced corset) and waist support can provide excellent support – these dresses are frequently strapless.
Similar to A-line and ballroom dresses, trumpet dresses have a fitted bodice and a flared skirt. The difference is that the flare starts at the hips.
In trumpet dresses, the skirt flare is usually fairly subtle – just enough to show an unbroken, flowy line.
This dress allows you to show off your natural hip curves and brings grace and poise to every step you take. At the same time, it enhances your hips with strategic volume underneath, evens out the proportions, and achieves a great, balanced look.
Similar to A-line, ballroom and trumpet dresses, mermaid dresses have a fitted bodice and a flared skirt. In this case, though, the flare starts at the knees.
Mermaid dresses fully show off the hips and your derriere and highlight two separate curves – the natural curve of your hips, and – just below it – the flare of the skirt. The resulting look is elaborate and contrived – in other words, it gets all the attention on you.
Necklines show off the delicate skin of your bosom, shape the face and attract attention to the face. People may look at the bride – but it’s the neckline that most directly influences what they will see!
And there’s more magic to necklines. A right neckline can help enhance the shape of the shoulders, lengthen the body and even have a slimming effect!
Horizontal / strapless. These are perhaps most popular bridal necklines. A common type of strapless neckline – sweetheart neckline – has a dip in the middle, making the top of the dress look like a heart. Generally associated with sleeveless dresses (sometimes off-the-shoulder), they look very special for a winter wedding with gloves, cape or other accessories. Most commonly seen in A-line, ballroom, trumpet and mermaid dresses – fitted at the top and the waist, and often featuring a corset, providing enough support for the weight of the dress. Although generally not the slimming neckline of choice, it looks incredibly feminine and never goes out of fashion.
V-necklines are falling a bit out of fashion. But don’t forget their many advantages – they look slimming and flattering on most women, help shape bigger shoulders and lengthen the body for petite ladies. V-necklines come in a variety of options – from plunging necklines to very wide, almost-horizontal Vs that taper off the shoulder. You can also find less revealing, flirty, or vintage types. Queen Anne neckline is related to a V-neck but results in a more diamond shape in the front, with a high neck in the back. Halter neckline is often a steep, vertical V-neckline that ties around the neck and exposes shoulders.
Bateau and cowl neck are rounded neckline that lend beautiful curvature around the face and convey movement. They often look great with open backs and sleeveless dresses.
High neck and illusion (high neck of sheer fabric) necklines provide the greatest canvas for lace, beading and other elaborate embellishments that will truly stand out. Layers of fabric provide beautiful, ornate texture. These dresses require no corset to give utmost support for heavy, winter dresses and are perfect for more conservative settings (church).
In another post, we talk about silks and polyesters – the most common fabrics used to make wedding dresses.