Dress Silhouettes to Flatter Your Body Shape

When it comes to choosing your wedding gown, a great starting point is to consider the shape best suited to your body type. Just as tastes vary from one bride to another, so do our individual body types. Dress designers take these unique body variations into account, and work it to your advantage.

The aim is to accentuate and flatter what Mother Nature gave you.

Here is our guide to help you select the perfect dress silhouette for your shape and individual tastes.

Read also: Our Guide to Discovering Your Body Type


A-line dresses are fitted at your natural waist and gradually widen towards the hem to create a triangular shape that fans out slightly. This is the most versatile shape and is suited to virtually every body type. It draws the eye to the waist which de-emphasizes the hips and it also adds the appearance of curves.

A-Line Styles (L-R) Sottero & Midgley Bennett / EssenseD2391 / Maggie Sottero Designs Genoa


The classic ball gown style has a fitted bodice and a dramatically full skirt, and is the traditional choice for brides dreaming of a princess look. Many designers have really gone to town on this shape, with modern embellishments giving this classic style its lasting appeal. It can add a formal edge to your wedding, provided it suits your venue and overall theme. Suited to almost all body types, with the exception of round (apple) body types.

Ballgown Styles (L-R) Rebecca Ingram Cynthia / Sottero & Midgley Decadence / Maggie Sottero Design Cordelia


The mermaid style packs a sexy punch for brides craving a bit of drama on their wedding day. It closely hugs the body, accentuates the female form, and can even add the illusion of additional curves. Best suited to hourglass and pear shaped brides, as it lovingly accentuates the hips while balancing out your figure if your shoulders are narrower than your hips.

Mermaid Styles (L-R) Rebecca Ingram Isabelle / Maggie Sottero Design Alta and Payson


A trumpet wedding dress fits similar to a mermaid gown. It hugs the body in all the right places and gradually flares outward. The main difference between mermaid and trumpet wedding gowns is where the flare begins, which in the case of the trumpet style is mid-thigh. Like it’s mermaid sister, the trumpet will emphasise your waist and shoulders, balance out a pear shape, and add va-va-voom to an hourglass figure.

Trumpet Styles (L-R) Sottero & Midgley Eldridge / Maggie Sottero Design Dante and Roan


The sheath style is modern and effortless, neither demanding nor complicated. It provides a lengthening, slim-fitting silhouette, and is best suited to leaner figures as it drapes to the body’s natural shape.

Fit & Flare

Closely resembling the mermaid and trumpet, fit-and-flare styles are elegant while ever so slightly less dramatic. The skirt flares higher up (mid-thigh), resulting in a sensual and feminine look. Most compatible with an hourglass shape, lending perfect emphasis to shoulders and waistlines.

Fit & Flare Styles (L-R) Rebecca Ingram Lauren and Persephone


An Empire style dress has a fitted bodice ending just below the bust-line, thereby emphasising the bust and giving a high-waisted appearance, with a gathered skirt which is long and loosely fitting but skims the body rather than being supported by voluminous petticoats. The look is whimsical and classic, while the emphasis is off the waistline. Great for bohemian inspired brides, or to accommodate your changing shape during pregnancy.

Thank you to Olivelli for supplying images of their gorgeous styles just waiting for you to be fitted. Contact Olivelli to discover your best silhouette for your shape. Click here to book an expert fitting.


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