How to Select a Wedding Dress Style - dummies

How to Select a Wedding Dress Style

A wedding dress is possibly the most symbolic — and costliest — item of clothing for a bride, Thinking about your wedding gown, shopping for it and purchasing it can induce nothing short of sheer panic.

Selecting a silhouette

The best place to start your search is with choosing a silhouette.

  • A-line: Also called a princess line. Flared from either the shoulders or under the bust, often with a fitted waist. An A-line is a flattering look for just about everyone, as shown in the image (dresses C, D, E, and F, below).

  • Ball gown: A fitted corset with a very full skirt that brushes the floor (dress F). The waist may be nipped in at your natural waistline, be shaped in an elongated triangle (called a basque waistline), or be dropped to hug your hips. The neckline can vary from high to modest to strapless.

    This is the classic fairy-tale wedding-gown silhouette, and when the dress is highly embellished with sequins, lace or crystals, you’ve got your very own Cinderella fantasy costume. The ball-gown silhouette looks particularly good on women with small waists and is most flattering for the less-buxom bride.

  • Empire: As shown in dress E, the bodice is cropped and the waist seam ends just below the bust line to create a flattering, elongated effect. Works particularly well on a woman with a medium to large bust and full-figured waist.

  • Mermaid: Also called a trumpet skirt. Dress G shows a narrow, body-hugging gown that flares dramatically at or below the knee like a mermaid’s tale. Good for showing off your curves, especially if you’re tall.

  • Sheath: A narrow, close-fitting gown that goes to the floor in an unbroken line (dress B). This shape is more reminiscent of an evening gown than a wedding dress and is popular with buff brides. Basically, a sheath is the mermaid style without the flared bottom.

  • Slip: Like a long tank top (dress B). May be backless or bias-cut, but usually without ornamentation. Most elegant on someone tall and slender.


Choosing your white

Although there are many styles of necklines, sleeves, veils and trains, brides have a big choice to make when it comes to color. Bridal gowns come in a variety of shades from white to ivory, and some incorporate splashes of color to match the wedding colors.

  • Diamond white, silk white or natural white is soft white, found only in natural fibers like silk, cotton or linen. These tones are usually flattering on fairer brides.

  • Blue-white or stark white is generally polyester and can be stunning on dark-skinned women.

  • Ivory, eggshell or candlelight is creamier, with golden or yellow undertones. Ivory generally looks good on fair brides, but it can be attributed to a wide range of shades.

  • Champagne or rum is off-white with pink undertones. These shades look particularly good on olive or darker skinned brides.

Modern gowns don’t even have to be white or all white. Tints of pink, blue, and gray are popular, as are accent colors that complement bridesmaid dresses.