One of the first questions a bridal consultant will ask is "Do you have an idea of what you're looking for?" Some brides arrive very knowledgeable about wedding dress silhouettes: "I want an ivory lace, strapless mermaid dress with no train and a sweetheart neckline." Others have it partly visualized with details up in the air: "I know I like beading, but I don't know which silhouette to choose." And a few will admit: "I haven't worn a dress since I was a child, so I don't know what I'm doing/help/I'm nervous!"
No pressure if you fall into the last two categories! If you think about it, most people walking into a bridal appointment are getting married for the first time. If you haven't experienced the industry first hand through a family member or friend, you aren't expected to be an expert.
At AYDÖRE, we generally cater to clients with a specific vision from which we can design and then bring to life! However, we are more than happy to spend extra time with you if your vision is not fully carved out. We can always sketch more than one proposal at our Sketch Review meeting. In fact, we love the creative aspect of it. You're collaborating with a Fashion Designer after-all!
Read on for a quick overview of common bridal silhouettes. Use our guide to discover which silhouette best matches your style, venue, body shape, and needs. Visualization is everything, so try to envision yourself in each of these silhouettes on your wedding day. With a couture design, the possibilities are endless and silhouettes outside of the ones mentioned in this blog post are possible! Find what makes you feel unapologetically yourself.
1) THE BALLGOWN
The Ballgown silhouette is the bridal gown silhouette most people are familiar with. It's traditional, feminine, and dramatic. Characterized by a voluminous skirt, this style is also form-fitting from the waist-up. For best results, a ballgown underskirt (petticoat) will need to be worn to give it that extra oomph, and to prevent the dress from collecting between your legs when walking.
Pros: Flatters most body types by elongating the figure and drawing in the waist. Photos will turn out amazing with the drama the skirt brings. All eyes will be on you!
Cons: Hot + heavy because of the layers of fabric. If you're considering an outdoor venue, just be cautious of walkways to prevent tripping and getting the dress dirty. Also, be cautious of the weather. An over-heated bride is an unhappy bride!
2) THE A-LINE
One of the most common bridal gown silhouettes is the A-line. It's basically the ballgown but with a less voluminous skirt. As the name implies, the overall shape of the dress resembles the shape of the letter "A." The definition may be at, above, or below the natural waist.
Pros: Flatters most body types if it hits the natural waist. If you wish to minimize your bust area, opt for an empire waist. If you wish to minimize your tummy area, opt for one that hits below the natural waist and features ruching details (like the one pictured).
Cons: A common misconception with this silhouette is that shape-wear and petticoats are optional. To ensure a smooth, "A" shape transition, and to prevent fabric from collecting between your legs when walking, suitable undergarments are a must.
3) THE MERMAID
If you're familiar with bridal gown silhouettes, you may have heard of the terms "Mermaid", "Trumpet", and "Fit-and-flare". These three looks are very similar to each other. The difference is the point at which it transitions from being form-fitting into a skirt. In a true Mermaid, the skirt begins to flare out at the knees. In a Trumpet, the skirt begins higher up at the mid-thigh. And in a Fit-and-flare, the skirt begins just past the hips.
Pros: This silhouette is super sexy. It's for the woman who wants to show off her figure and turn heads!
Cons: It's not always easy to walk in these dresses, especially the true Mermaid. Something to keep in mind if you don't want your reception dress holding back your wicked dance moves! Also, this silhouette will exaggerate your curves. Try other silhouettes if you're looking to minimize your bust, waist, or hip area.
4) THE SHEATH
Unlike the previously mentioned silhouettes, the Sheath skims the figure with no volume to the skirt. The fit can range from form-fitting to more relaxed. Most come with no train or one on the smaller side. Many Sheaths resemble evening gowns and may even feature a slit.
Pros: Comfortable and lightweight. Largely because shape-wear is not required! Can make some body types appear long and lean.
Cons: Overall, this silhouette will represent your body type for what it is. If you're looking to minimize/maximize a body part, focus on how you can achieve that through other design factors such as the neckline, back, and fabric manipulation.
5) THE TEA-LENGTH
The Tea-Length is popular among women who want a dress that is super simple and fuss-free. Tea-Length dresses end usually around the mid-calf. The skirt can range from ballgown to form-fitting. Channel a 1940's/1950's vintage look by pairing this silhouette with a bird cage veil and fun shoes!
Pros: A shorter dress means you can show off your legs and your shoes! You also will not have to worry about getting the bottom of your dress dirty.
Cons: If you're petite, the Tea-Length could make you appear even shorter. Try a shorter length (or get it hemmed) so that the dress can end at your knees.
6) THE JUMPSUIT
A small-yet-growing category is the Jumpsuit or Pant silhouette. Perfect for the modern bride. Pictured is a look from the AYDÖRE Dusty Rose Bridal Collection. See more photos from this photoshoot.
Pros: Comfortable! Also, a great option for someone who struggles to picture themselves in a dress. Alterations, if needed, will be the least expensive with this silhouette. Versatile enough to be worn again at a future special occasion.
Cons: Similar to the Sheath, the Jumpsuit will represent your body type for what it is. If you're looking to minimize/maximize a body part, focus on how you can achieve that through other design factors such as the neckline, back, and fabric manipulation.
Which is your favorite silhouette? Comment below!