Wedding dress shopping is unlike any other shopping you’ve done before and knowing where to start is half the battle. MW brings you the ultimate bridal fashion guide to the shapes, styles and fabrics that’ll have you looking like a #QWEEN on your wedding day.
Pears, squares and hourglasses, we come in many beautiful shapes and sizes. This means wedding dress shopping can feel a little like trying to get a square peg to fit in a round hole. Focus on the aspects of your body that you adore and make a point of highlighting these.
The time of year, weather conditions and wedding location are other factors you’ll need to keep in mind when thinking of fabric and style. Use our guide to classic silhouettes, dreamy fabrics and added embellishments and you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect dress that gives you that extra-special sashay in your step.
In an A-line style the fitted bodice finishes at the natural waistline where the skirt flares out gradually to the floor. The shape looks a little like a triangle or an A, as the name suggests.
Accentuates: your upper body and highlights gorgeous curves by cinching in at the waist.
Pair with: thin straps or v-neckline to showcase the upper body. Sweetheart necklines and scoop neck bodices look gorgeous on fuller busts, especially when embellishments and ruching are kept to a minimum.
Works well: using fabrics such as duchess satin, taffeta, chiffon, eyelet lace or raw-silk shantung. Steer clear of organza, satin and silk, as they will cling to the body.
An incredibly figure flattering gown, the mermaid (also known as a fishtail) is tight fitting to the knee where it flares out to the floor. If you like this silhouette, but feel it’s a little too structured, opt for the softer trumpet style in duchess satin.
Accentuates: full hips and a defined waist. Long limbed beauties and women with curves will look Hollywood- ready in this knock out style.
Pair with: cap sleeves and beaded embellishment on the top. They also work well with low backs and long illusion sleeves.
Works well: using lace, silk or crêpe fabrics to cling to the body and layer underneath with tulle to flare out the skirt.
Embellishments on the bodice will draw the eye.
The dress we think of when we imagine a Disney princess off to meet her Prince Charming at the ball. The bodice is fitted and pulled in at the waist and flares out to a full skirt that falls straight to the ground.
Accentuates: a slim upper body, adds volume to a narrow waist and looks beautiful on tall women.
Pair with: a strapless bodice in either sweetheart, scoop or straight across. Highlight your upper body by adding intricate lace, ruching or a halter style in the bodice.
Works well: with a voluptuous tulle skirt, brocade for a structured bodice – especially in the cooler months – or medium weight fabric dupioni.
But, be home by 12!
An incredibly versatile style of gown, this silhouette is epitomised by the high waistline with the skirt beginning just under the bust. Can be structured and elegant or feminine and floaty, depending on the fabric used in the skirt.
Accentuates: a smaller bust and slimmer figure and works for women wanting to show off their arms and shoulders.
Pair with: thin straps, v-neckline or scalloped bust. A ribbon or belt around the waist will also complement this style beautifully.
Works well: using intricate lace details on the top and a soft tulle skirt.
Sheath & Slip Dress
These are signatures of simplicity in a wedding gown silhouette. The sheath is created using darts and seams for a figure-hugging gown that falls to the floor. Similar but not the same, a slip is cut on the bias and doesn’t have a defined waistline.
Accentuates: a slim and tall figure with an undefined waistline. Petite women will also look elegant in this style with a pair of cute heels.
Pair with: the elegance of this style calls for long or cap sleeves or a high necked front with a low back.
Works well: in soft silks, organza and satin. You’ll want to look for flowing fabrics that also hold their shape.
The perfect pick and mix option for creating couture from prêt-à-porter styles. Wedding separates are when the top and bottom of a gown are unconnected and you have the choice to mix and match different styles and fabrics.
Accentuates: an enviable waistline and can draw attention to arms, back and chest depending on the style.
Pair with: each other!
Works well: with most fabrics depending on whether you’re wanting something floaty or figure hugging.
Photography: Lost in Love Photography