The Perfect Match: Dresses To Suit Your Shape

So many women spend a lot of time thinking about their perfect wedding dress, and then the moment finally comes to try on the dress of their dreams… and it just isn’t as flattering as they hoped! Fear not, this is perfectly normal I can assure you! I mean, it’s not like we wear formal, full-length, mermaid style dresses to do the weekly food shop, so we just don’t have the years of trial and error we’ve had with say the perfect jeans, to find out which bridal gowns suit and flatter our body shape.

So, ahead of our exciting Made with Love ‘Curves’ event at the end of January, where we will be showcasing an extended range of sizes from this utterly gorgeous range, I thought I’d take a moment to share with you LOVEly brides to be, which style of dress is particularly flattering to which body type and how to highlight and show off your most fabulous assets.

Skirts

A-Line

A timeless, incredibly popular wedding gown with a fitted bodice that flows into an A-line skirt.

A perfect match with: Just about everyone, this shape flatters and flows effortlessly over most body shapes.

Not such a perfect match for:  Anyone looking for something slightly sexy or edgy. Although with its universally flattering shape I would suggest everyone give this style a try if they’re open to different shapes.

Ballgown

A full skirt with fitted bodice and cinches at the natural waist.

A perfect match with: Pear shapes (reduces the emphasis on the hips), boyish figure (creates a defined waist) and a fuller bust (creates a balance between hips and bust).

Not such a perfect match for: Shorter brides as a fuller skirt may swamp a more petite frame.

ballgown

Dropped Waist

A fitted bodice that gently flares, below the natural waistline in to a full-length skirt.

A perfect match with: An hourglass figure as it highlights your perfectly balanced hips and bust.

Not such a perfect match for: Athletic body types, these dresses can tend to look a little boxy if you don’t have curves.

dropped waist

Mermaid

Fabulously form-fitting, a mermaid skirt is a slim, tapered and curve-hugging skirt following the line of the hips and thighs, and flares out around the knee.

A perfect match with: Hourglass and curvy figures, showing off their natural assets.  Enzoani’s Naya is a wonderfully, dramatic example.

Not such a perfect match for: Anyone conscious of their hips and wanting to detract from this area.

mermaid

Column/Sheath

Stunningly simple, this dress follows the body’s natural line, is form-fitting and emphasises curves.

A perfect match with: Slender figures and shorter brides, as the slim shape adds length. If you’re tall, your long legs will be an asset you’ll be keen to show off too!

Not such a perfect match for: Pear shapes or curvy shapes may want to avoid a column shape as the straight up and down style may disguise your tiny waist and emphasise a curvier lower half.

column

Empire

A fitted bodice and waistline that hits right above the natural waist, with a loosely fitted skirt that skims the body.

A perfect match with: Shorter brides as it elongates the body.

Not such a perfect match for: Curves, as the silhouette over-emphasises a large chest or fuller hips.

empire

Necklines

V-neck

One of the most flattering necklines, formed by two straight edges that meet a point to form a V-shape. It could be a demure higher V for those not wanting to show too much cleavage or deeply plunging for added sass!

A perfect match with: Pear shapes and those with a small bust as it highlights a delicate décolletage. Thick straps or a V-neck work wonderfully well with a straight or athletic body shape. A V-neck also enhances a beautiful cleavage as demonstrated with the incredibly stunning Riley dress from Made with Love.

Not such a perfect match for: Any bride who likes to be covered up in this area. A V-neck is, however, universally flattering, it is just about finding the right depth of V to suit you!

v neck

Bateau

Made famous by Meghan Windsor née Markle, a wide and slightly curved neckline that passes past the collarbone to delicately sit just below or at the top of the shoulder.

A perfect match with: A particularly good neckline for a smaller bust since its shape creates the illusion of a bigger bust. The wider neckline shows off a delicate collarbone without being too revealing and beautifully enhances an elegant, long neck.  Best worn without a necklace so it isn’t competing with the neckline.

Not such a perfect match for: Not ideal if you have a short or wider neck.

bateau

High-neck

A high and wide neckline that finishes at the base of the neck gently sweeping the collarbone with no décolletage or cleavage exposure.

A perfect match with: Those looking for a modest gown or those with a smaller chest.

Mis-match with: A fuller bust, as this neckline can make you look top-heavy.

high neck

Sweetheart

This neckline dips in the front, creating an outline that resembles the top of a heart shape.

A perfect match with: This neckline style is ideal for accentuating cleavage as seen here with Enzoani’s beautiful Nami dress.

Not such a perfect match for: Strapless, sweetheart necklines aren’t ideal for larger chests and provide less support, unless the gown is heavily boned and has an in-built corset. Straps can however be added for extra support.

sweetheart

Scoop

A modern scoop neckline has straps of varying thickness which exposes the décolletage but doesn’t show too much cleavage.

A perfect match with: This open neckline is perfect for women with a bigger bust.

Not such a perfect match for: A long torso, as the shape will elongate the body further making you look out of balance.

scoop

Illusion

A sheer panel of fabric (typically lace, tulle or organza) that extends upwards from the bodice to form a barely there, higher ‘illusion’ neckline.

A perfect match with: Anyone! Illusion is a great way to go for a more revealing neckline such as sweetheart, V-neck or strapless but with subtle coverage.

Not such a perfect match for: Illusion bodices come in all shapes and designs so there’s something out there for everyone.

illusion

Backless

A dress that leaves the back bare or covered with an illusion fabric such as lace or organza.

A perfect match with: A beautifully toned back, this is a fabulous way to show off some skin in a sexy yet demure way.

Not such a perfect match for: Anyone needing the support of a bra or those wanting to cover up on their big day.

backless

Cowl

This is a neckline where the fabric hangs in draped folds below the collarbone, often unstructured and relaxed.

A perfect match with: Smaller busted ladies as this style adds volume and definition. A cowl can also help camouflage a larger chest.

Not such a perfect match for: Those with bigger busts and a shorter, wider neck might find this neckline less flattering. It can also be difficult style to wear with a bra, so one to avoid if you need extra support.

cowl

Halter

Held up by a strap around the neck, bodices with a halter neck often have higher necklines and lower backs.

A perfect match with: Those with toned shoulders and a long, graceful neck. It is also perfect for those wanting to wear their hair up.

Not such a perfect match for: Broad shoulders as this style can make you look broader.

halterneck

Sleeves

Long sleeves

Increasingly popular, long sleeves provide cover and warmth as well as being a style statement. Whether loose or fitted, satin or lace, long sleeves are a bold feature.

A perfect match with: Broader shoulders or those looking to cover up their arms. Jodene from Sassi Holford is a stunning example!

Not such a perfect match for: Those getting married in the middle of summer or in a hot climate, you may get a little warm!

sleeves

Off the shoulder/Drop sleeves

Drop sleeves hang loosely off the shoulder and provide design detail rather than any support.

A perfect match with: This ethereal and romantic style is perfect for brides with a delicate décolletage who want to show off some skin in a modest way, or if they are conscious of the tops of their arms.

Not such a perfect match for: Those who don’t want to be constricted by sleeves as they can limit arm movement slightly.

off the shoulder

 Flutter sleeves

Sheer draped fabric covers the arms to give a romantic, whimsical look.

A perfect match with: Anyone wanting to cover up their arms without the restriction of sleeves.

Not such a perfect match for: Broader shoulders as the voluminous fabric can add width.

flutter sleeves

Bell sleeves

This is a full sleeve that flares toward the bottom creating a fullness that is both flattering and wow-worthy.

A perfect match with: Anyone wanting to make a statement! Works especially well on taller brides who have the height to carry off this style.

Not such a perfect match for: This look can overwhelm petite brides.

bell sleeves

Cap sleeves

This is a sleeve that extends only a short distance from the shoulder and tapers under the arm. This sleeved look can also be achieved by adding a ‘topper’ or ‘jacket’ to a strapless dress to give two looks from day to night.

A perfect match with: These chic and sweet sleeves that just cover the shoulder are perfect for adding a feminine touch and help to balance out wider hips.

Not such a perfect match for: Brides with broader shoulders

cap sleeves

Strapless

A dress often reinforced by an internal corset without shoulders or straps.

A perfect match with: A smaller bust and toned shoulders.

Not such a perfect match for: A fuller bust as you may need a dress that offers more support, unless the bodice is heavily corseted/structured.

strapless

I hope this post has given you all the the reassurance that your perfect dress is out there, just waiting to make you feel like a million dollars!

When you book a wedding dress appointment at LOVE, you will be assisted by one of our trained stylists, with lots of experience in helping brides choose dresses that flatter and enhance their natural assets. All you need to do is email hello@lovebridalboutique.co.uk and we’d LOVE to help find you the dress of your dreams!