The Most Flattering Fit-A Brief Guide to Find the Right Type of Dress


You’ve waited and planned for your wedding, and the day is finally coming near. When it comes time to pick your dress, you may find yourself overwhelmed with options, from fit style to fabric, so avoid trying on hundreds of dresses by finding the right types of wedding dresses for your body shape, ensuring that you look and feel your best on the big day.

The Most Flattering Fit-A Brief Guide to Find the Right Type of Dress


A-line Wedding Dresses

A-line gowns are perhaps one of the most common types of wedding dresses, and for good reason. Their simple silhouette is fitted at the top and extends out into a fuller shape, similar to the letter “A.” A-line dresses can come strapless, with sleeves, or with straps, and their necklines can range from sweetheart to plunging.

Best for: A-line dresses can be worn by all shapes and sizes. They give the presence of fuller bottoms to those who may be heavier on top, and vice versa. Both short and tall women will find A-lines suit them.

Not for: While just about everyone looks good in an A-line style, it’s not great for those brides who really want something extra seductive on their big day.



Ball Gown Wedding Dresses

The classic silhouette of a ball gown is fitted at the torso with a voluminous skirt, and is an elegant choice for formal or traditional weddings. The cut of the bodice often works best with a sweetheart neckline.

Best for: This type of wedding dresses are ideal for brides who would like to have a little more definition added, since they can enhance curves by tightening the waist. 

  • Boyish figures – or those that tend to have straighter torsos and smaller chest and hip size – will find that ball gowns give them a feminine look. 

  • Women with both long and short torsos will find that ball gowns can help define their waist in a more ideal position. 

  • Pear shaped figures – with rounder bottoms and smaller chests – will find that the full skirts help to hide lower bodies.

Not for: Shorter women and those with petite frames may want to avoid ball gowns, as the full skirt can tend to overwhelm small frames.



Mermaid Wedding Dresses

Another classic style, the mermaid dress offers body-hugging contours with the elegance of a full, flowing skirt. Rather than starting at the waist, the skirt flares out just below the knee, allowing for the body’s curves to be defined and highlighted.

Best for: Brides with curves to show off will love mermaid dresses. The classic hourglass figures – full bust, small waist, full hips – will look perfect in this style of dress. Slender frames will also find that mermaid figures look good and help to give the appearance of more curves.

Not for: For brides with larger mid-sections, the mermaid dress may not be the most flattering since it emphasizes a slender waist. Also, because it is a tight fit, these dresses aren’t great for those who don’t want to spend their wedding night wrapped up tight.



Sheath Wedding Dress

Think of your profile in a sheath dress as that of a column; it is statuesque, simple, but works hard when you need it. The skirts of sheath dresses stay straight along the body instead of flaring out like other types of wedding dresses.

Best for: Shorter women will love sheath dresses because they help give the illusion of length, making them seem taller. These styles are also great for slim women with “model-type” figures – smaller chests and hips – as it will create a sleek silhouette.

Not for: Any body types that have more heft on top or on the bottom (but not both) can look off-balance in sheath dresses. Pear-shaped figures that have rounder bottoms and small chests should avoid sheath dresses.



High-low Wedding Dresses

The high-low wedding dress is a great combination of lengths for those looking for something different. With a full-length gown in the back, and a range of shorter heights for the front, this type of wedding dresses can be made to look both formal and casual.

Best for: This combination length dress style can suit most body types, although the shorter the length in the front is, the leaner your legs should be. Also, since the skirt of these styles is typically fuller, those with pear shapes and great legs will find that this emphasizes everything they want.

Not for: Petite frames and short women may find that this style of dress makes them appear to be even shorter.



Tea-length Wedding Dress

For a modern take on a vintage silhouette, the tea-length wedding dress is an alternative to a full-length dress. The skirt length ends at the shin, below the knee and above the ankle. It can be paired with any sleeve length, from long-sleeves to halter, and can be designed to emphasize or de-emphasize the bust or waist.

Best for: The tea-length dress is a great option for just about all body types, which is why it is the most popular alternative length.

Note: While you can find a style of tea-length dress that suits your body type, keep in mind that your ankles will be on full display. This cut isn’t great for those who are self-conscious of their lower legs. Shorter women may also find that this length makes their legs seem even shorter.



Short Wedding Dress

For those who really want something different, a short or mini wedding dress is a great take on the traditional gown. This length skirt can be combined with just about any fabric, neckline, and sleeve, so can be made to be more casual or formal as needed.

Best for: Short gowns are great for those who have legs to show off, since that will be the first thing to catch attention. However, since short dresses can have different neck and torso cuts, most body types can find the right fit.

Not for: Larger women are typically better off finding a longer length to help mask areas of extra padding. Any body type has to remember that legs will be a major focus in this type of dress, so if they are an area of concern, go for something longer.



Two-piece Bridal Outfit

This one is different from all other types of wedding dresses. Brides are willing to take new risks these days, and so two-piece outfits have become popular dress alternatives. Crop tops paired with skirts of all lengths are current favorites, as are pantsuits.

Best for: For those who want to wear a crop top outfit, keep in mind that these are best left to the tall and think brides. Since your midsection is literally on view for everyone, you don’t want to look back on pictures only to see your muffin top. Hourglass figures can often get away with two-pieces that show a bit of skin at the waist since this is their most defined area.

Note: Most body types will be able to find a two-piece style that is suitable for their size. Keep in mind that the same principles of dress-fitting hold true, so for example, a pear figure would want to avoid pieces that are tight-fitting throughout.