Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wedding Gown Silhouettes: A Comprehensive Guide

Saturday has been a full day of wedding gown shopping! I am a bridesmaid in my friend Rachel's wedding, which is scheduled for this July, and I was so honored to have been invited to help weigh in on probably one of the most important fashion decisions of her life. And, surprise surprise! I was loaded with opinions...even through a particularly nasty bout of laryngitis that made me sounds a lot like this woman. (Yes, I'm sorry to admit that show is a bit of a guilty pleasure...) Anyway, if you weren't born automatically possessing an ability to swiftly identify wedding gown silhouettes, I've created a comprehensive guide for all of you!

A-Line: Simply put, the bottom of the dress flairs out just slightly at the natural waist, resembling a letter "A." This gown is flattering on almost every body type.

Ballerina: This usually means a full, usually ankle length dress, reminiscent of a 1950s silhouette. It typically has the shape of a shorter ballgown, and utilizes material like tulle or crinolines to keep it's full shape. The length of this gown can sometimes make you appear shorter, so if you're teeny to begin with, a ballerina length may not be right for you.

Ballgown: This is definitely a traditional wedding gown silhouette. If you can imagine a cake-topper bride or wedding Barbie, you usually picture her in a ballgown. It's basically a gown with a fitted bodice, and a very full-skirt which begins at the natural waist. I think ballgowns can be very flattering if you want to highlight your waist and minimize your lower body.

Empire: This silhouette simply means the waistline, separating the bodice from the skirt hits higher than your natural waist. Usually the empire waist lays at the ribcage, slightly under the bust. Selecting a looser-fitting gown with an empire waist can definitely help minimize your midsection.

Mermaid: This gown is fitted all the way down to the middle of the leg, and the flares out dramatically, resembling a fish tail. These dresses can be gorgeous, but they are definitely better for a body-confident bride!

Princess: To quality as a princess gown, it's less about the silhouette, and more about the construction. A middle-panel, with two seams running up the bodice gives this dress the "princess" moniker. These vertical seems can be very slimming, as long as the material and silhouette works with your body.

Sheath: A sleek, sexy, straight silhouette is considered a sheath. This style is great for those soft, silky fabrics, and works perfectly for summery or destination weddings. It's definitely reserved for a confident bombshell of a bride.

Trumpet: This silhouette is hugely popular right now, and is usually a tight bodice with a drop-waistline that rests very low on the hips and then flares out dramatically like the bell of a trumpet. I love the look of this, on the model, but it really does nothing to hide any flaw you may want to disguise, as it draws attention to your bust, waist, and backside all at once! But if you are confident with your bod, definitely give this gown a try-on!

And there you have it, my Comprehensive Guide to Wedding Gown Silhouettes. My tip for shopping would be that if you have too many ideas of what you want, or what shape would work best for you, you may really miss out on a silhouette you never considered. The same thing happened to Rachel! So know what you want to highlight, or hide, but also utilize the bridal consultant's expertise as well. Believe me, she's seen a lot of gowns on a lot of brides, and she knows what may or may not work...But in the end, it's your day, and you need to feel beautiful, confident, and above all else comfortable!

Note: All these lovely images are of wedding gown silhouettes were taken from Aire Barcelona's 2011 designer gown collection. Don't you love the styling? I adore the sleek, polished piled up-dos with those diamond earrings, and lots and lots of lashes! Gorgeous.

Photos from Aire Barcelona 2011 Collection


  1. This is really very beautiful gown. A wedding gown is the clothing worn by a bride during a wedding ceremony. Color, style and ceremonial importance of the gown can depend on the religion and culture of the wedding participants.


  2. How would I go about purchasing one of these dresses or can you guide me in the right direction to buy?
    Thank you!

  3. The food was very good as wedding reception food goes--much better than typical hotel reception hall food. But I felt that beer selection at the bar was weak though.