When it comes time to start the search for the perfect wedding dress, all the styles and fits to choose from can be overwhelming. You may think you gravitate toward a certain style, but when you actually try it on – not so much. Or maybe there’s a style you’re considering, but aren’t sure if it will flatter your body type. No fear! We are here to help with our ultimate wedding dress cheat sheet. Refer to this blog as you’re preparing to shop to guide your choices. We’ll break down each style and fit below!
Not sure where to begin your search? We’ve got you covered there, too. You can trust these Houston bridal boutiques to help you find the dress of your dreams. Happy shopping!
Wedding Dress Style Definitions
A-line: Universally flattering and oh-so-versatile, the a-line silhouette is a solid choice for any bride. This style is flowy with skirt that gradually flares out from just above the hips.
Mermaid: A fun, beautiful silhouette for the bride who has a playful, sassy side. Mermaid dresses are fitted from the bodice all the way to the knee, where they flare out to resemble a mermaid’s tail. A flare starting just above the knee is called a trumpet fit, while a flare starting just below the knee is a true mermaid fit.
Sheath: Sleek and sultry, the sheath style is a gorgeous choice for the modern bride who wants something understated and form-fitting. This contouring style follows the natural lines of the body with no extra material or flare – typically straight cut with no seam at the waist.
Ball Gown: The ultimate style for the bride who wants to feel like a true queen. Ball gowns feature a fitted bodice (the uppermost part of the dress covering the chest and back above the waist) and a very full skirt, flaring out dramatically from the natural waist.
Which wedding dress style will work best with my body type?
A-line: An A-line silhouette can help create the illusion of curves where there aren’t any, but can also work wonders in slimming and hiding midsection curves you may rather not show off. The shape of the skirt works really well to balance a larger chest, as well.
Mermaid: Keep in mind that mermaid dresses are the tightest-fitting of all styles and will hug your midsection – waist, hips and thighs. If you’d rather not draw attention to that part of your body, it might be best to go with another style, but if you love to show off your curves and accentuate your figure, this is the style for you!
Sheath: A sheath-style dress best accentuates a lean, slender frame. If you don’t have many curves, a sheath dress will reinforce that, so you may want a different style (or add a belt!) if you do want to accentuate your waist. Sheath dresses are elongating and can help a petite gal appear taller.
Ball Gown: This style is fairly universally flattering and works well on curvier body types, too. The full skirt can add balance to a heavy chest or broad shoulders, but can also look gorgeous on a more petite frame. However, ball gowns can overwhelm ladies of shorter stature.
Wedding Dress Neckline Styles
Sweetheart: Often seen on strapless gowns, this style is ultra-feminine and versatile across a wide range of bodice materials. A sweetheart neckline draws attention to the chest and is suited well for medium- or larger-chested ladies.
Off-the-shoulder: a dramatically stunning style for the bride who wants to flaunt her décolletage in a lovely way, off-the-shoulder looks can be seen on dresses from boho to ball gown. If range of movement is a priority, however, this might not be the style for you.
Illusion: another beautiful option to accentuate your décolletage, the illusion neckline features a sweetheart hem with added mesh tulle acting in place of straps. Perfect for any chest size and practical, too.
Boatneck: a timeless, delicate style best-suited for smaller-chested brides, a boatneck style pairs wonderfully with a chic updo to show off the shoulders.
Straight: a great option for both the modern and the classically chic bride. This style also works best for small- to medium-chested ladies.
V-neck: a wonderful option for the bride who wants to dance the night away and not worry about her bodice holding up, this style also accentuates any chest beautifully.
Wedding Dress Train Lengths
Don’t underestimate the wow-factor a train can add to your dress! Remember, if you’re worried about it interfering with movement after the ceremony, most trains can be bustled (if not removed completely) and blend seamlessly with your dress.
Sweep or Brush Train: just enough fabric to barely skim the floor behind you.
Watteau Train: a true Watteau train attaches at the shoulders like a cape, but this style can also attach at the back or the waist as a detachable piece or as part of the skirt
Chapel Train: a popular option, best for brides who do want a train but don’t want a ton of extra fabric weighing them down.
Cathedral Train: a jaw-dropping look for a formal affair, a cathedral train will trail several feet behind you for a dramatic look.
Royal Train: the ultimate train for the most formal of affairs – fit for royalty!
We hope this wedding dress cheat sheet can help you as you’re looking for your dress for the big day. Remember, ultimately the choice is up to YOU and what you feel best in is all that matters. No matter what, you’re sure to look amazing!