What Knots

Choosing A Bridal Gown For Your Body Type

 June 28, 2017

Most brides will attest to this: one of the most important decisions during wedding planning involves choosing a bridal gown that is just perfect for you. We asked a few industry insiders for advice to help you (finally) decide on yours.

The perfect wedding dress sometimes seems more like a mythical creature when you’ve tried on twenty, thirty RTW gowns and find you still cannot make up your mind between that princess ball gown or the sexy lace mermaid dress. Some brides have worn two dresses on their big day—probably because they couldn’t decide on just one. But for those of us who can’t afford that kind of luxury (because we need to be practical adults every once in a while), choosing a bridal gown that will flatter our God-given features seems almost impossible.

While there is no one formula for a gown that will magically transform you into Pia Wurtzbach, we’re sure every bride—with a bit of guidance and a whole lotta faith and patience—can find success in choosing a bridal gown that will suit her personality, motif, body type, and budget. It has been done before, believe us! So we invited four of wedding industry insiders to give us the low down on some basic bridal silhouettes and their personal opinions as to which styles suit which body type.

Know Your Gown Silhouettes When Choosing a Bridal Gown

1. Empire

Choosing a bridal gown
Credits to CA-Bridal

Cut right below the chest and gently flaring out, this style is ideal for creating an illusion of longer legs and hiding the stomach and hips.

Christine Lam Couturier

This style suits petite as well as plus-sized brides. But be wary of the fabric used or the cut of the skirt. Sometimes, it clings to the lower part of the body or, if too voluminous, can emphasize the tummy.

Clayton Vidal Cecilio Abad Design Team

This is also good for brides with small bust lines or petite frames as it camouflages a heavier bottom and elongates the body.

2. Sheath

Choosing a bridal gown
Credits to The Knot

Also known as the column, this shape flows almost straight from the neckline down, with some tapering at the waist. It’s a style that’s ideal for brides with a well-proportioned figure.

Christine Lam Couturier

This is best for petite brides as it gives an illusion of height, but it’s also great for brides who don’t want to look too frilly. It’s definitely more streamline and modern.

Clayton Vidal Cecilio Abad Design Team

The column is a style that’s simply ideal for for slim and well-toned figures, if you want to show off your shape.

3. A-line

Credits to Classic Wedding Invitation Blog

This classic style has a fitted waist and flares out to an A-shaped skirt that flatters most body types as it falls on but doesn’t hug the hips.

Nikolai Hernandez Couturier

I recommend this to petite brides who dream of having a ball gown – the skirt’s volume is just right and won’t swallow them. It also fits most rustic and bohemian brides because of the relaxed skirt.

Christine Lam Couturier

Another variation of the A-line is the Princess cut. It looks like the A-line but cuts are done vertically, which gives the illusion of height and can give you a wider more voluminous skirt.

Patty Valle Couturier

For Full figured women/pear shape: an A line looks good on you. I suggest that the cut of the dress should not fall on the waist but on the 2nd hips to give her an illusion of a shapely upper torso. The more we put the flare on the waist, the more bigger she'll look.

4. Ball gown

Choosing a bridal gown
Credits to Morilee Madeline Gardner

Cut on or below the waist and flaring out into a big skirt, it’s a popular style among brides choosing a bridal gown because of its grandness which gives off that princess-y feeling.

Nikolai Hernandez Couturier

So many brides want this right now, but I always make them try out one first [before choosing a bridal gown]. Most Pinays are not that tall so they tend to look bell-shaped with such a voluminous skirt. But for petite brides who want to feel like a queen or princess, I usually combine this with the A-line so that it’s still well-proportioned.

Christine Lam Couturier

A good compromise for the ball gown is to modify the cut. Plus-sized brides can have a drop waist to give the illusion of a smaller waist, while petite brides can use softer fabrics like tulle to soften and lighten appearance of the ballgown.

5. Trumpet

Credits to http://clinicapiedraazul.com/

The trumpet is a style that has a fitted bodice down until the mid hip section, gently flaring out into a skirt.  Choosing a bridal gown in this style will give the illusion of a long torso and long legs.

Nikolai Hernandez Couturier

One of the most popular gown shapes right now, this is flattering for those with full hips. But if you lack the hips, don’t worry because designers can pad the hip area to make it look fuller. It’s the perfect choice if you want your gown to be sexy but still give that ease of movement.

6. Mermaid

Credits to Eddy K.

This style hugs the body from neckline, down until the knees, where it begins to flare out.

Nikolai Hernandez Couturier

This is a nice style if you’re tall or willing to use very high heels. But since this is fitted until the knees, movement is quite limited in this gown. It’s a sexy, va-va-voom type of gown but tiis ganda talaga.

Christine Lam Couturier

While best suited for hourglass or rectangular body types, other types can also wear the mermaid. They just need to find the best way to modify the style to flatter their shape.

Try It Out First (Before Choosing a Bridal Gown)

Know the silhouette you want but think it’s not right for your body type? Don’t be limited by the tips above. The pirate code isn’t a solid rule book but more like guidelines.  And the same is true when choosing a bridal gown too! Our advice? Just be you!

Nikolai Hernandez Couturier

My advice to all the brides to be is: don’t be afraid to try on gowns. Book an appointment at bridal salons or with designers. By doing so, you’ll see what shape complements you. Also talk with designers about how you want to look and feel on your big day. Sometimes, you’ll be surprised that a certain style you never expected to look good on you actually hides your flaws and shows off your assets, or will help you achieve the feel that you want. It’s really a matter of trial and error.

Christine Lam Couturier

Brides can wear any silhouette. In the end, it’s simply a matter of modifying the style to suit your body type.

Patty Valle Couturier

Silhouettes should flatter a woman's body type. By choosing the right fit and design, a bride will achieve the beautiful look.

In the end, you can’t go wrong with what feels good. Our number one tip for choosing a bridal gown is to just listen to your heart. Even if you don’t end up having supermodel legs, as long as you feel beautiful, you would’ve chosen right. The best of luck to you (and your bridesmaids accompanying you on your fittings)! Cheers!

Supplier Spotlight: Couturiers: Patty Valle | Clayton Vidal of Cecilio Abad Design Team | Nikolai Hernandez | Christine Lam

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About the author

Kat Martin

Aspiring novelist and screenwriter. Master daydreamer. Klutz. Extreme cheapskate. Owner of secret dream wedding Pinterest board. Always the guest / calligrapher / coordinator / bridesmaid.

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