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Wedding Dress Styles for Your Body Type – the 7 Dress Silhouettes to Consider

Bride in white dress outdoors

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With so many wedding dress options out there, finding the right one that suits your body type and makes you look your best can be difficult. After all, what looks great on the mannequin won’t necessarily look good on you. If you know your body type, it’ll be easier for you to find a dress that maximizes your most attractive features and minimizes the areas that aren’t so flattering.

Knowing your body type and the main types of wedding dress styles will give you an insight into what works and what doesn’t so much. This will reduce the stress and disappointment of trying on dresses that just don’t sit right on you.

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Here we outline the top 7 wedding dress silhouettes and the body types they best complement. Note that these are only guidelines, not rules written in stone.

What are the Main Body Types?

Body types for wedding dresses

Every body is beautiful and everybody has a body type. Here are the 5 main body types:

  1. Triangle/Pear/Spoon Shape – your hips are the widest part of your body. This is a bottom-heavy body shape. Celebrities with pear shape include Kim Kardashian and Beyonce.
  2. Inverted Triangle/Lollipop Shape – your breasts are the widest part of your body, your shoulders are broad, you have narrow hips and an athletic look. This is a top-heavy shape. Celebrities with this shape include Angelina Jolie and Demi Moore.
  3. Rectangle/Banana/Straight Shape – straight and boyish with few curves, with all measurements typically even. This shape doesn’t have much definition. Celebrities with straight body shapes include Natalie Portman and Cameron Diaz.
  4. Hourglass Shape – the most famous body type like a mermaid. Here the waistline is well-defined and both the hips and the bust are equally emphasized. Celebrities with an hourglass shape include Sofia Vergara and Jennifer Lopez.
  5. Apple Shape – waistline isn’t that defined  and the mid-section can be heavy. Celebrities include Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mindy Kaling and Rebel Wilson.

What are the Top 6 Main Wedding Gown Silhouettes?

Now that we’ve covered the main body types, here’s a look at the main types of wedding dresses.

A-Line Wedding Gown

a-line white wedding dress worn by bride

A-Line wedding dress by Lady Kristin Co. See it here.

Best for: All body types

Might not suit: Someone looking for a sexy style

The A-line is one of the most beloved of all wedding dress styles, so called because it looks like the outline of the letter A. It’s a versatile style that easily adapts to any body type.

The silhouette is narrow at the top, accentuating your bust and waist, then flows out into a long, elegant skirt. It’s a cross between the sheath and the ballgown, neither figure hugging nor voluminous. It’s sweet, elegant and princess-like, flattering all body types and making you look tall and slim.

The A-line silhouette works well on someone with a large bust as the long, flowing skirt balances out the look but also works well for someone with a larger lower half, as the skirt helps to hide this area. If you’re someone with more angles than curves, the A-line can help soften your figure and give you the look of having curves.

Ballgown Wedding Dress

Ballgown Wedding Dress

Best for: Slim figures and pear-shaped body types

Might not suit: Petite brides

The ballgown is the quintessential princess wedding dress that most little girls dream of growing up. It’s similar to the A-line, but the main point of difference is that the skirt is very dramatic and voluminous. The ballgown has a fitted bodice which accentuates your bust and waist.

This silhouette tends to suit most body types. If you have a large bust area, the ballgown provides perfect balance and giving you an hourglass like figure. For brides with large hips, the ballgown minimizes this with its full skirt.

However, for some brides, this silhouette can appear too cute and princess-y and for shorter, more petite brides, large ballgowns can make you feel lost in the fabric without the height to balance out the look.

Sheath Wedding Dress

Bride wearing column style dress

Sheath wedding dress by Wedding Beautiful Day. Check it here.

Best for: Slim and petite figures

Might not suit: Square, pear or curvy body types

The sheath wedding dress, also known as the column silhouette, is style that flows easily over your natural curves, following your body’s natural shape. It doesn’t flare out nor does it cling to your body.

The best thing about the sheath dress is that it adds length to any figure, giving you the illusion of height if you’re a petite bride. For tall, slim brides, the sheath dress flatters their natural lines.

However, on the flip side, this silhouette isn’t very forgiving. It tends to emphasize every flaw and doesn’t help to minimize certain areas. It also doesn’t add the illusion of curves, so it may not be ideal for someone with a more angular body type.  

Trumpet Wedding Gown

Trumpet wedding dress by Zen Bridal. See it here.

Best for: Hourglass figures and curvy brides

Might not suit: Brides who want more movement with their dress

The trumpet silhouette is very similar to the mermaid style but there are some main differences between the two. While both dresses follow a similar style, the trumpet dress flares out from around the mid-thigh area. The size of the flare is also more gradual, and the overall look is more free-flowing and comfortable.

However, while this style perfectly suits brides with hourglass figures and brides who want to show off their curves, it’s not ideal if you want a dress that is less restrictive.

Empire Wedding Gown

empire waist wedding dress

Empire waist boho wedding dress by Xiao Lizi. See it here.

Best for: Pear shapes, pregnant and petite brides

Might not suit: Very curvy brides

The empire gown is known for its high waistline, that sits just below the bust. The skirt begins below the bust and flows out over the natural waist and hips. This silhouette is perfect for brides who want to minimize attention to their hips and waist, as it’s a perfect style to cover any unflattering areas. This is also what makes it ideal for a pregnant bride, as it’s comfortable and free-flowing with no restrictions around your waist.

For petite brides, the empire line gives the illusion of height with its high waist and for brides with small busts, this silhouette emphasises your chest and neck, making it appear curvier. However, it’s not ideal for brides with a large top area or a very large bust as it can make you look top heavy.

Mermaid Wedding Gown

Mermaid or trumpet wedding dress

Best for: Hourglass, petite and curvy brides

Might not suit: A bride looking for a dress with movement

The mermaid style is one of the most popular wedding dress silhouettes there is. It features a slim, fitted bodice that hugs your figure all the way down to your knees, ending in a dramatic, unexpected flare around the knees. It’s perfect if you’re after a statement, dramatic dress.

The trouble with the mermaid dress is that it isn’t very forgiving and can show all your problem areas. However, because of the flare at the knees, it works well to provide balance if you have a large bust or hips, and although it accentuates every curve, the overall look is perfectly balanced.

Wrapping Up…

So there you have it, the 6 main wedding dress silhouettes and the body types they suit. Having said that, note that there are no strict rules for choosing a wedding dress. Pick what feels right and comfortable to you, a dress that makes you feel beautiful.