An easy guide to bridal silhouettes

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An easy guide to bridal silhouettes

Even though there are numerous silhouettes for wedding dresses there are some that every bridal consultant should know. Often brides have an idea about a silhouette that they like, after having seen it on a skinny and tall fashion model. They can often be disappointed after trying the dress on themselves. It’s your job as a consultant to help a bride find the right silhouette.

Even though I don’t believe in silhouette rules, simply because there are exceptions on almost every one of them, there are certain basic ideas that generally ring true.


The A line dress refers to the shape of the letter A. The skirt varies from full to more narrow versions. The good thing about this silhouette is that it makes almost any body type look good. The tight waist and the way the hips are hidden underneath the skirt make brides feel comfortable and confident about their bodies. Even though it is probably the most popular silhouette it is also a little safe and boring. Probably about seventy percent of brides choose this silhouette, so unique it is not.


A mermaid is a fitted dress that flares out at the seam that is around the height of the knee. It is a very sexy silhouette and is great for showing off a great figure. It is not one of the most popular silhouettes because brides often don’t like the way the skirt and the bodice feel like two completely separate parts. It also accentuates the stomach and hips, areas that not every bride is comfortable with. However brides that have a beautiful fit body with curvy hips will look magnificent in a mermaid style.

Ball gown

A ball gown is a gown with a dramatic full skirt. This skirt comes with or without pick-ups. The waist is often natural but it also exists as a dropped waist. This silhouette is the dream dress of almost every five year old girl. Brides that have dreamt their entire life of getting married looking like a real princess will almost certainly choose this style. Brides with a petite figure can disappear in a dress like this and plus size brides can look extra full with this type of skirt. However I have always felt: “Who am I to hold a girl back from having her princess wedding!”


The empire dress consists of a short fitted bodice that ends almost immediately underneath the bust. The skirt is loosely fitted along the body, not supported by a petticoat or crinoline. This type of dress is often popular with beach- and bohemian style brides. The long skirt and the short bodice make a bride look taller. This can be great for shorter brides but not always the best choice for already tall brides. In the store guests often joke and compare the empire gown with a luxury night gown. This style does work very well for pregnant brides that want to be comfortable, yet show off their growing belly.

Fit to Flare

This silhouette has a fitted bodice all the way to the thighs and then gently flares out. It’s the perfect dress for a bride that wants to show off her body yet not quite as much as a mermaid silhouette does, but certainly more fitted than an A-line gown. It’s like the best off the most popular silhouettes put together.  Plus size brides often choose the A-line silhouette, but I have dressed many curvy brides in this silhouette and it looks fantastic! This style is great for curvy and not so curvy brides.


A sheath features a silhouette that fits close to the body and has a straight shape. The elongating nature of this silhouette will help petite brides appear taller, yet there is not much room to hide problem areas. It can still be worn by plus size brides as long as the dress contains a corset or the bride wears shape wear. Because of the straight shape I often advice brides to complete the look with a bridal belt. This will create a more fun and playful look.



Posted on

June 30, 2016

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