Wedding Dresses - The Silhouette
It's in your best interest to understand wedding dress terminology before walking into a bridal shop. This saves you time by helping you narrow down styles and will keep you focused while shopping. It's also best for you to know "your stuff" so that a high pressured sales associate at a bridal shop will respect you for your knowledge and not take advantage of the fact that you are completely relying on her/him. Lets begin:
A-line: fitted at the bodice, then flares out towards the bottom like an “A”.
Who: Looks great on most body types. Provides a narrow point for women who don’t have a clearly defined waist. Good choice if you’d like to disguise “bottom heavy” figures.
Empire: The waistline on an Empire dress is above the natural waistline (can be as high as right below the bust).
Who: designers recommend an Empire dress for smaller busts or petite figures. Similar to A-line, the Empire silhouette disguises “bottom heavy” but creates the illusion of length because of the high waistline.
Ball Gown: Most popular silhouette, known as the princess or “Cinderella” dress. A ball gown is a long formal dress that has a fitted bodice and then flares out with a very full skirt (resembling a “ball”).
Who: Flattering on an average height – tall woman since this silhouette visually “cuts the body” into two parts. Women prefer this type of dress because of its forgiving nature – hides everything from mid-section, hips and legs. Not to mention the princess feel.
Mermaid: Second most popular silhouette purchased by brides. A mermaid gown is tightly fitted from the chest to the knee, and then flares out to the hem. Some mermaid dresses will flare straight to the ground, where others have many layers or a trail.
Who: Best on hourglass body shapes. The majority of bridal shops will recommend this for a “proportioned hour glass figure” (bust and hip line meet equally where the waist is smaller by 2 inches or more) but I think this dress looks great on any hourglass body shape. After all, when was the last time you met a “proportioned” body shape?
Sheath: A figure-hugging silhouette with a straight skirt which usually stops mid-calf or shorter. It has a defined waist without the use of a waistband or belt.
Who: Works well on well-toned or petite bodies. Most avoided dress by brides – most preferred dress by fashion designers (go figure!).