Just as brides come in all shapes and sizes, so too do bridal gowns. Only with bridal gowns, you describe its shape as the silhouette of the dress.
There are A-line, sheath, ball gown, empire and mermaid silhouettes, just to name a few. Because different silhouettes favor different figures, it is good to make sure you are aware of the choices when you begin to look for your gown.
You should also be aware of what's in style this season. For instance, you will see lots of sweeping skirts, sweetheart necklines, dramatic pleating, fabric petals and dramatic use of lace. Another feature to look for, especially in a full-skirted dress, is inline pockets! They are perfect for holding a tissue if you are prone to tears.
Start your search for the perfect wedding gown by finding the silhouette that favors your shape. Then look for that type of gown with the stylish features you prefer. If you break down your search that way, you will discover that finding the perfect dress is not as difficult as you think.
Ball gowns are one of the most popular styles of bridal gown. They are what little girls often picture when they think of being a bride, probably because Cinderella wore a ball gown. They are often strapless or have a fitted, off-the-shoulder bodice. From the waist, the full, gathered skirt flows to the floor. This full skirt is the perfect camouflage for the bride who wants to conceal full hips. On the other hand, the full skirt can give brides without hips the appearance of curves. It is a style that flatters many women – and is often a good place to start. The only brides who should probably avoid a ball gown are those who are very petite, as the fullness of the dress could overwhelm you.
Another style that looks good on many brides is the A-line dress. It is named that because the dress flows out, like the letter A, from the shoulders to the floor. It does not cling to the body, so it will not be a form-fitting dress. This is a good cut for petite brides, full-figured brides or those with a short waist. It will not favor thick-waisted brides.
The princess silhouette is very similar to the A-line in the way it flows out. The only difference is that a princess silhouette has two seams down the front of the dress for a sculpted effect. (Princess cuts favor those same brides who can wear an A-line dress.)
On the contrary, a sheath style is a slim-cut, curve-hugging gown. It does not have a waistline, but often features interesting draping and fabric. It is best worn by those with a thin or petite figure. Because it clings to the body, it would not be a kind cut for those brides with full figures or those who are heavier in the hips.
Trumpet or Mermaid
These two silhouettes are really very similar. The main difference is where on the bride the skirt begins to flare out. A trumpet skirt hugs the bride's body and then flares out starting about mid-thigh. A mermaid skirt also hugs the body, but does not begin to flare out until near the knees. Because both silhouettes cling so tightly to the body, these are not styles everyone can wear. A bride with a nice hourglass figure will look best in these cuts. Full-figure brides should avoid this look.
A bridal gown with an empire silhouette usually involves a low neckline and a narrow bodice that ends just below the bustline. The skirt begins just under the bustline and flows gracefully to the floor. This is a good cut for brides with thicker waists because the waist is not accentuated. It is also a cut good for a petite bride.
What is in style?
One of the most popular styles today is sweeping skirts. Silk skirts are flowing behind brides as they go up and down the aisle. Full silk organza skirts make the bride appear to be floating. And nothing moves quite as nicely as a full silk taffeta ball gown.
You will see lots of sweetheart necklines – from a demure dip in the neckline to a deep-cut strapless bodice. It is a very feminine cut.
Lots and lots of lace is being used in some very interesting ways laTely. For instance, a strapless silk satin gown takes on a whole new look when lace is used to cover the neckline and create three-quarter length sleeves.
Fabric petals are being used to give gowns an ethereal look. Some dresses feature a few petals on the bodice or are used to form a ruffle. And to the other extreme is a silk organza strapless ball gown with a skirt overflowing with petals. The effect is almost like feathers, but lighter.
No matter what your shape, there are going to be some good choices for you. When you combine the right silhouette with what is in style, you can be confident you will look your best on your big day.
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