The Best Wedding Dress for Your Body Type
Whether you want to balance a pear-shaped bottom or add curves to a lean physique, we know exactly which wedding dress style will make you feel stunning on your special day.
Sweetheart necklines show off an elegant neck
Don’t only consider your curves the main asset to flaunt when choosing a wedding dress. If you have elegant collar bones or a long, swanlike neck, these are two delicate areas you should highlight with your wedding dress. “Sweetheart necklines add a soft, feminine touch to gowns and are perfect for the bride who would like to subtly showcase her décolletage,” says Ericka Hanson, Associate Bridal Buyer at David’s Bridal. Here’s how to keep your neck looking great as you age.
Lace Wedding Dress with Sweetheart Neckline, $808; davidsbridal.com
Thick straps are must for busty women
If you have a larger chest, don’t stress about finding a dress that can accommodate your breasts—just choose one with thick straps. “Thick straps are a great option for brides who need support for a fuller bust, especially if they plan to dance the night away,” Hanson says. And what if you happen to fall in love with a sleeveless dress or one with spaghetti straps? No problem: It’s extremely easy for a tailor to add thick straps later. Don’t know if it’s OK to ask for alterations? Here are your wedding etiquette questions answered.
Minerva Wedding Dress; morilee.com
Sleeveless gowns showcase toned arms
If you’ve been hitting the weights as part of your pre-wedding workout routine, you deserve to show off your toned arms on the big day! Especially if you’re planning to get a great tan, opting for a sleeveless dress is the perfect way for women to showcase their sinewy biceps. “A sleeveless dress allows the bride to show off her arms while providing a supportive neckline,” says Hanson. Prepare to flex those muscles as you toss your bouquet.
Oleg Cassini Tulle and Lace Trumpet Wedding Dress, $799; davidsbridal.com
Long sleeves can slim heavier arms
Don’t stress about getting your upper body into perfect shape before tying the knot. You’ve got enough to worry about! Long sleeved wedding dresses exist for any woman who feels insecure about the size of her arms or any bra bulge. Even if the sleeves are made of sheer lace, they can drastically help smooth over this problem area and even hide any stretch marks. What’s more, they’re actually in demand. “Long sleeves are trending this season!” Hanson raves. “This style is perfect for fashion-forward brides, as well as those looking for a more traditional style that provides coverage.” (Use these exercises to tone your arms without lifting weights!)
Plus Size Long Sleeve Wedding Dress with Low Back, $599; davidsbridal.com
Corseted gowns create curves
What woman doesn’t want to create the illusion of an hourglass figure on her wedding day? Particularly if your body type is straight up and down, steal a page from the Victorian Era handbook and consider a corseted gown. They’re now designed to feel far more comfortable than they look (yes, you’ll be able to breathe), and they instantly trim inches from your waistline. If you need a bit of help shrinking or shaping your midsection, “a corseted gown offers adjustable support for all body types,” Hanson says. These dresses show off your favorite body parts.
Lina Gown, $1,199; simplybridal.com
Mermaid dresses flatter petites
According to Hanson, mermaid dresses “can add curves to a straight figure.” So if you aren’t blessed with voluptuous, womanly assets, use the figure-shaping silhouette of a mermaid dress to create the illusion of curves. The beauty of a mermaid dress is that if you need to add length to your body, Hanson says, “they are also very flattering for petite brides,” thanks to the dropped waist and low flare, both of which elongate your torso.
Illusion Tulle Trumpet Gown with Crystal T Back, $299.99; davidsbridal.com
Ballgowns can balance out a pear shape
If your bottom half is slighter bigger than your upper half, look no further than a classic ballgown when you go wedding dress shopping. Not only will you feel like an absolute princess as you walk down the aisle and have your first dance, you also won’t have to worry about your bottom half looking disproportionately large. “A ballgown will highlight a bride’s upper body, while being very forgiving for her lower body,” Hanson says. This means a problematic stomach, wide hips, or a large bottom are three less things to worry about on your big day. These one-second tricks make you look instantly slimmer in photos.
Oleg Cassini Veiled Lace Plus Size Wedding Dress, $1,708; davidsbridal.com
Fully fitted gowns flaunt curves
Some brides want to be covered up on their wedding day, while others hope to feel as sexy as possible. If you’re looking to be a bombshell bride, we recommend considering a fully fitted gown. This style of dress will hug every inch of your body like a tight glove, leaving nothing about your shape to the imagination. They’re “perfect for the confident bride who would like to showcase all of her curves,” Hanson says. Hey, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
Soft Lace Dress with Low Back, $449; davidsbridal.com
Sheath dresses feminize
If you consider yourself stout, stocky, or very muscular, make sure to try on a sheath dress. Pippa Middleton, for example, is an avid marathoner and triathlete. To soften her muscular frame, Middleton famously wore a sheath dress as Maid of Honor to the Duchess of Cambridge, which softly hung from her body and provided a feminine touch. “The sheath silhouette will elongate a bride’s body, and is best for athletic or straight body types,” Hanson says. (Obsessed with Will and Kate? Check out this royal wedding lingo cheat sheet.)
Sweetheart Satin Sheath Dress with Ruching and Brush Train, $144; junebridals.com
Chiffon gowns elongate short legs
We all want to feel like supermodels on our wedding day, but this can be an issue for short women. To look the part, focus on finding a flowing, chiffon gown. This angelic material often starts at your upper waist, making it perfect for creating the look of elongated legs. “Chiffon lends itself well to draping and is most commonly used in gowns with flowy skirts,” Hanson says. A chiffon gown that grazes the floor when you’re in heels can instantly add inches.
Crinkle Chiffon Draped Plus Size Wedding Dress, $349; davidsbridal.com
Lace is universally flattering
Finally, we’ve found the holy grail option all women can consider when wedding dress shopping. “The many types of lace allow each bride to showcase her individual style,” Hanson says. “Delicate chantilly lace is perfect for the romantic, ethereal bride, while guipure lace has a more vintage feel, and corded lace is more classic.” When it comes to lace, you can worry less about your figure and more about expressing your unique personality. For dress inspiration, make sure to re-watch these 12 epic wedding films.
Long Sleeve Wedding Dress with Beaded Lace, $999; davidsbridal.com