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Wedding Day Advice | Wedding Attire

Which Wedding Dress Style Best Suits My Body Shape?

It’s your Big Day and you want to look your very best. But this task can be ever so daunting, what with so many factors to take into account – style, fabric, colour and cost, and let’s not forget it, body shape! Alas, it’s no good wanting to look like waify Kate Moss in a sexy little sheath dress if you’re more curvy Nigella Lawson. Take the stress out of the hunt for the perfect wedding dress by following The Wedding Directory’s four simple steps…

Photo courtesy Green Wedding Shoes, Photographer Stephanie Williams

Step One: Know your shape

We were all born with a certain body shape and, while exercise can target certain areas, we’re basically stuck with what we were given. Feeling glum? Don’t! The good news is that, once we are aware which basic body shape we are, we can dress to accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives. Strip down to your underwear, stand in front of a full-length mirror and take a good look at yourself. Are you:

  • A Pear Shape? Bigger on the bottom half, with shapely hips, butt and thighs, and a smaller bust, torso and waist.
  • An Apple Shape? Shapely, slim legs, with a full waist and wider torso and bigger bust, but delicate shoulders.
  • An Hourglass Shape? Hips and bust of roughly the same measurements and a small waist.
  • Rectangular Shape? Straight up and down, without a lot of curve.
  • Inverted Triangle? Wider on top, around the shoulders, and tapering to a narrower waist and hips.

Step Two: Know the basic wedding dress styles

There are five basic wedding dress styles, each with different silhouettes, necklines, bodices and sleeves:

  • The Ball Gown or ‘Fairytale’ dress – has a shaped, tightly-fitting bodice, with a lace-up corset-style top, and a full skirt which often falls on or below the hip line. This style can have different necklines and sleeves. The structure of the skirt lends itself to having a long train. Satin and chiffon are popular material choices and the bodice often incorporates beaded detail.
  • The A-Line or Princess dress – is often strapless and is shaped through the bodice until the hip line where the dress falls away into an A-shaped line. This style can be made from a variety of fabrics, from silks to satins.
  • The Empire-Line dress – has a raised waistline that sits just below the bust and can have a full skirt, great for minimizing hips and thighs, or a bubble or ‘puff’ shape, great for creating curve. The Empire-Line dress can incorporate long or short sleeves and different necklines. Lighter fabrics work best with this dress style.
  • The Mermaid dress – fitted along the length of the body and then flaring at the hem, this style oozes sexy sophistication. Stiff fabrics work best with the constructed nature of this style.
  • Sheath dress – a simple yet elegant style which floats from the neckline to the floor. Light silks and satins work well, flowing over the contours of the body.
  • The Tea-Length dress – falling to the knee or just below, it’s a great style for showing off tanned, shapely legs and gorgeous shoes. This style can be made from a variety of fabrics – silk, satin, organza, cotton or linen.

Step Three: Match your basic body shape to a basic wedding dress style

  • Pear Shape: Ball gown, Empire-Line, A-Line or Tea-Length dress
  • Apple Shape: A-Line, Empire-line or Tea-length dress
  • Hourglass Shape: Ball gown, A-Line, Mermaid, Sheath or Tea-Length dress
  • Rectangular Shape: Ball gown, Empire-Line or Sheath dress
  • Inverted Triangle: Ball gown, A-Line, Empire-Line, Sheath or Tea-Length dress

Step Four: Remember the rules

  • Full-figured brides – don’t be afraid to show some skin; deep V-necks, off-the-shoulder and scoop necks show off décolletage and flatter curvy figures.
  • Petite brides – steer clear of a full skirt; it will swamp your tiny frame.
  • Tall brides – Tea-length dresses which finish just under the knee will disguise your height
  • Pregnant brides – avoid corseted wedding dresses; the Empire-Line is a flattering choice.
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