The Best Dress Shape For You

How to choose the right silhouette for your body.

by Heather Levine

The Best Dress Shape For You

You’ve joined a gym, changed your diet and even banned alcohol (during the week, anyway)—now don’t let all of your hard work go to waste. Stick to dress styles that flatter your figure to get the most out of your wedding workouts. Here are five common body types and what to wear for each.

Curvy

Embrace those curves with a gown that shows off your hourglass shape. A mermaid-style or a dropped-waist dress is ideal, though anything with a fitted bodice will enhance your figure.

Figure Flatterers
1 Opt for a sweetheart neckline to mimic the shape of your body’s natural curves.
2 A decorative sash in a contrasting hue will highlight your shapely waistline.
3 A strategically placed floral appliqué draws attention to your most petite parts.
4 Exaggerated dropped waistlines, which hit below the hips, will hug your curves but still give you plenty of mobility.

Details to Dodge
Plunging necklines (or anything that shows a bit too much skin—you want all of your guests to look at your face, right?)
Empire waistlines

Pear-Shaped

Disguise your hips by choosing a gown style that flares at or above your natural waist. Think baby doll gowns with Empire waistlines. Or focus on interesting necklines and detailed bodices that draw the eye upward.

Figure Flatterers
1 An elaborate one-shoulder neckline is a great way to call attention to your tiny torso.
2 A fitted bodice with a full skirt suits your shape since it helps define your waist.
3 Empire waistlines (which fall just under the bust) hug your body at its slimmest spot.
4 Billowy tiers will hide large hips in style.

Details to Dodge
Dropped waists
Slinky fabrics
Sheaths
Mermaid skirts

Petite

Opt for a modern sheath. The slim silhouette adds length to your tiny frame. Pay attention to the hemline though: If it’s too long or too short, you’ll end up looking even smaller. If a sheath feels too casual, a trumpet or A-line style is another great option.

 

Figure Flatterers
1 A v-neckline draws the eye downward and gives the impression of height.
2 For layers without extra bulk, try a slim style with a sheer lace or light tulle overlay.
3 Embellishments on the bodice in v-shaped patterns will elongate your torso.
4 Trumpet skirts hug your frame and are the best bet if you want to wear a fuller skirt.

Details to Dodge
Poufy tiers
Excessive embellishments
Oversized bows and flowers

Tall and Slender

If you want to downplay your height, stick to more voluminous silhouettes. Or you could show off your lean shape in a flowing sheath. These slim looks hug your body for a sexier take on the traditional wedding gown.

Figure Flatterers
1 High necklines, like halter, jewel or bateau styles, will make you seem statuesque.
2 Silky fabrics show off your lean shape.
3 A gown with a defined waistline will create the illusion of curves on your slim figure.
4 You can go with a voluminous A-line dress or ball gown; it won’t overwhelm your frame.

Details to Dodge
Headpieces
High heels (duh!)
Hairstyles with lots of height

Apple-Shaped

You’re going to want a gown that hides your not-so-tight tummy. Search for styles with tight ruching or beading around the waist, and conservative necklines like scoop or v-neck.

Figure Flatterers
1 Wide straps balance out your figure. Bonus: They also let you wear a bra with ease.
2 A gathered waistline will instantly help make your tummy look more toned.
3 V-necklines are slimming.
4 A sassy, above-the-knee hemline is ideal to show off your best asset: great legs!

Details to Dodge
Off-the-shoulder necklines
High necklines

Waist Watchers

Undergarments to help fake a toned tummy.

High-Waist Thong
This butt-baring suit leaves no panty lines. It’s perfect for brides who are wearing figure-fitting trumpet, dropped-waist or mermaid gowns.
Low-Plunge Bodysuit
This suit gives support for women who wear A- to D-cups. And thanks to its low-dipping middle, it won’t peek out underneath
keyhole, sweetheart or plunging v-necklines.
Thigh Shapers
This microfibre suit goes from under the bust to the top of the knee. It’s an ideal option for sheer gowns like chiffon sheaths because no thong or panty lines will show.
Toning Tank Top
Unlike a bodysuit, this shaper is best for bust-conscious brides because it’s specifically suited for women who are planning on wearing a bra (and a gown with straps), as it diminishes back bulge.
High-Waist Pantyhose
A microfibre band under the bust extends into sheer tights for tummy-to-toe curve coverage. Think control-top pantyhose on steroids. They’ll hold you in but aren’t a great combo with open-toe shoes.

Search dresses by body type

Share your comments on this topic

Write your own tips and ideas to share with other Knotties.

  1. Engagement
  2. Dresses & fashion
  3. Planning & ideas
  4. Beauty
  5. Suppliers
  6. Honeymoons
  7. Community
  8. Registry
  9. Video
  10. My Wedding