Shaping Up: Dressing For Your Body Type

Aside from personal taste and budget, the key to finding the wedding dress of your dreams may come down to your body shape, not your size. Unsure as to what shape you are? There are now several body shape calculators readily available online to help you. Otherwise, bridal store attendants have fitted 100s - if not 1000s - of brides before and should know what will suit you on sight. Put your faith in them, keep an open mind and try on everything you fancy; you’ll be amazed at how different a gown looks on the feminine form as opposed to a coat-hanger!

Credit: Cathleen Jia

Credit: Cathleen Jia


Hip and bust measurements almost balanced, defined waist

Dressing an hourglass shape is all about definition of the waist. Consider a belt or pretty embellishments here. Figure-skimming styles show off your silhouette to best effect but a ball gown can still work if it sits at your natural waist. Mermaid styles or fitted, drop-waist gowns may also help to keep your curves balanced.

Avoid: empire lines and unstructured styles.

Credit: Karen Willis Holmes

Credit: Karen Willis Holmes


Narrower shoulders and bust, long waist, broader hips and thighs

Ball gowns that sweep the floor, A-line dresses and flowing skirts that skim over the hips are your best friends. You can also look for dresses that add interest and substance to your upper half via dramatic bows, oversized flowers or high-fashion asymmetry. Intricate sleeve detailing and high necklines also help to draw the eye upwards.

Avoid: mermaid gowns and shift dresses.


Broader shoulders and bust, generous middle, narrower hips, undefined waist

Look for dresses that showcase your best features: your décolletage and legs. Open to going short? A swinging, mini-shift dress with lots of luxe embellishments could look simply fabulous when paired with high-as-you-dare stilettos. Wishing for a more traditional look? An empire waisted dress with a sweetheart or v-neckline is a beautiful and timeless option.

Avoid: high necklines or trying to hide your tummy with too much volume.


Hip and bust measurements almost balanced, undefined waist

You’re likely either going to want to highlight your best - possibly athletic features or create curves where there aren’t many. To create curves, look for dresses that can cinch you in at the waist or have corset bodices. Add ruffles, volume and eye-catching details to the bust line, hips and even your derriere. If you opt instead to highlight your excellent shoulders, arms or legs: go bare. Look for strapless, halter or racer-back necklines: if you’re a willowy rectangle, a strapless column dress with glittering, shoulder-sweeping earrings could look ultra chic. Alternatively, asymmetrical hemlines or seductively split skirts assist in flashing a little leg.

Avoid: ball gowns and clingy fabrics.

Credit: Georgia SP

Credit: Georgia SP