A glossary of wedding dress silhouettes


A glossary of wedding dress silhouettes

Wedding gown shopping is something that most ladies are totally thrilled about. Still, the process can seem daunting when you’re just getting started with the search. Luckily, there are plenty of simple things you can do before you begin to give yourself the upper hand. One of the easiest things is perusing bridal magazines and starting a dress scrapbook filled with the images you adore. As you compile your dream book, you may notice that there is a pattern to your choices and that you are drawn to a particular dress style. This can be a good place to start.

Understanding dress silhouettes

Many brides-to-be are ecstatic when they find a dress in the shop that looks like the one they’ve already fallen in love with from the magazines. It seems like such a serendipitous sign — until they disappear into the changing room and discover that the gown simply doesn’t flatter their figure. It can feel devastating when you’ve already pictured yourself wearing a certain dress only to realize that it doesn’t look the way you hoped. But, fear not. It’s just a matter of finding the silhouette that suits your unique beauty.


You know the image of Cinderella has been engraved into your brain since you were little. This style features a fitted bodice that flares out at the waist. A full “fairytale” skirt completes this silhouette. Thanks to its ability to hide the lower portion of the body, this style is ideal for those who consider themselves to be “pear-shaped.” However, many body types can succeed with this traditional style, although petite brides may be wary as the skirt can look out of proportion on a tiny frame.


Ladies who want to show off their curves or those who have a slender frame may just love the way this wedding dress style accentuates their bodies. A Mermaid dress is fitted from the chest all the way to the knees and it flares out from there. Plus-sized brides or apple figures may not be as comfortable in this cut.


This style is considered to be a winner regardless of your body type. It consists of a fitted bodice through the waist and then gently flows outward until it reaches the floor. This style gets its name from the fact that it resembles a capital letter A.

Modified A-Line

This dress style fits closer to the body in comparison to the original A-line style. It features a fitted body to the waist and hips and flares gently to the hem. The modified A-line is also considered to be excellent for all types of figures.


This style is almost as if a mermaid cut and a modified A-line cut got married and had a dress. This cut features a fitted body and then flairs out at the mid-thigh level. Ladies with tiny waists, petite figures or hourglass physiques should definitely try this style on. Because it accentuates the hips and stomach area, it is not as flattering on apple- and pear-shaped ladies.


Lean frames and ladies who are ultra petite may adore this narrow shape. Hourglass figures who prefer to show off their curves should definitely try at least one of these on at their fitting. The sheath flows elegantly from the neckline all the way to the hem. Pear shapes might want to avoid this style as it can draw unflattering attention to the midriff area.


This dress is awesome for those who want to show off their legs. This cut is not ideal for plus-size brides. The skirt falls above the knee to keep you dancing carefree all night long.


This style features a skirt that ends between the knee and the ankle. It is considered great for all body types; however, ladies with thicker calves and ankles may not find this style to be as flattering as others.

Stay open-minded

If the dress of your dreams doesn’t accentuate your figure the way you want, it simply means there is something better waiting for you. Be patient with your body and the entire fitting process. Refrain from judging a dress on the hanger, be open-minded and ask for honest opinions from those you trust.

At New York Bride & Groom of Raleigh, our seasoned bridal consultants have the experience and knowledge to make excellent dress recommendations. Whichever silhouette best fits your style, our selection of designer wedding dresses will give you the full range of choices you’ll want when you’re looking for “the one.”

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