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What it is: The a-line dress definition that will sound most familiar to shoppers today is a dress or skirt silhouette that is narrower at the natural waist and flaring gently wider from the hip, thereby resembling the letter "A." A true A-line skirt or dress has no pleats or slits for ease of wear, but may have darts or seams at the hip to improve the fit and shape. A-line dresses and skirts were especially popular in the 1950s and 1960s (think Betty Draper on Mad Men) but waned in popularity until the early 2000s when the retro look make a bit of a comeback.
Who Can Wear It: This style works well with all body types. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular skirt silhouettes—it’s super-flattering on almost everyone!
What it is: The drop-waist dress is a classic style, often associated with the 1920s. These dresses are relaxed and comfortable but work best on specific body types. Drop-waist dresses are fitted from shoulder to hip, transitioning into the skirt at the hip, rather than the natural waistline.
Who Can Wear It: If you're slender, with a smaller bustline and hips, the drop-waist dress may work for you. Choose a relatively short drop-waist dress to keep your dress from overwhelming your frame, especially if you're slender and petite. Both long and short torsos can pull off the dropped waist style as it gives an elongated look, creating a long, lean line giving the illusion of height.
There are so many different gown silhouettes and neckline options available. Trying a variety of both will help you determine which best flatters both your figure and your neckline.
Necklines are an important feature of your wedding gown! They emphasize your neck, shoulders and bust, and draw the eye up to your face. Whether you are petite on top or have ample cleavage, there is a perfect neckline that will beautifully accentuate the top portion of your body. Schedule your appointment with us to discover what looks best on you, bringing your very best features to the forefront.
What it is: This formfitting style follows the body’s natural line yet does not flare out at the hemline. It’s also referred to as a column silhouette.
Who Can Wear It: Best for Petite women, since this slim shape adds length. This silhouette also looks great on brides with sleek figures. It may be best to avoid the sheath if you’re pear-shaped (when you’re small on top but more rounded on the bottom). This silhouette could make you look unbalanced.
Trumpet - Skirt Flares Mid-Thigh
What it is: This cut is between a modified a-line and a mermaid cut. It is a lesser known style than the mermaid design, and people will often see the general “fitted until it flares out somewhere below the hips” silhouette and automatically label it a “mermaid-style” gown. This gown fits snugly on your body until approximately mid-thigh, where it begins to gradually come away from the body in an open skirt, much like the shape of a trumpet. The key elements of this design are the flare’s point of origin – mid-thigh – and the ease in which it flares.
Who Can Wear It: The trumpet silhouette is ideal for brides with an hourglass or petite figure. Ideal for frames with small waists, such as the hourglass, banana, and petites. This style is not quite as good for pears and apples, as it accentuates stomach and hip area.
Mermaid - Skirt Flares at or Below the Knee
What it is: This style has grown in popularity over the last few decades due to its emphasis on a woman’s curves and it’s “flair” for the dramatic, though it is often not designed for ease of mobility, so keep that in mind for dancing! A mermaid dress is tightly fitted to the entire body until it suddenly jets out at or below the knee, keeping the legs pulled together and giving the illusion of a fashionable “mermaid tail.” The key elements of this design are the abrupt nature of the skirt’s flare as well as its beginning point – at the knee or below it.
Who Can Wear It: The mermaid gown looks amazing on an hourglass figure or for those who wish to show off their curves.
What it is: While a traditional A-line has a skirt that extends from the natural waist, a modified A-line is fitted on the bodice and hips, and the skirt gradually flares to the hem, forming an “A” shape. The skirt of a modified A-line dress fits closer to the body than a traditional A-line, and is typically not quite as full.
Who Can Wear It: This style works well with most body types. With a tighter fit through the waist and hips, however, it may not be as flattering on an apple-type figure.
What it is: The ball gown shape has changed little since the mid-19th century. It is the most formal female attire for black and white tie social occasions. The number one distinguishing trait of a ball gown is its very full skirt. It is traditionally floor length with a fitted bodice and is cinched at the natural waist. Made of luxurious fabric, ball gowns are typically delicately and exotically trimmed.
Who Can Wear It: This style is flattering for brides with a boyish or rectangle-type figure. The fullness of the dress will make you look curvier. This gown also works well for the pear shape bride to camouflage beneath the skirt a fuller hip, thigh or seat. This silhouette draws your eye to the waist, emphasizing the smallest part of your torso.
Which Gown Silhouette is Right for You?
What it is: The term empire waist refers to a style of dress or top that cinches at the narrow point under the bust line (right where your bra band lays). Because this waistline emphasizes one of narrowest points on any women's body, it creates a slimming, elongating effect.
Who Can Wear It: This style is great for shorter women because the raised waistline can create the appearance of added height. It’s also a highly recommended style for women with wider lower bodies since it draws the eye to the narrow upper body and can make the bust appear more curvy. The empire style can also create camouflage for a larger midsection or a pregnant tummy.
Fit and Flare - Skirt Flares Below the Hip
What it is: The term "fit and flare" is often used (or mis-used, as the case may be) to describe any silhouette with a fitted bodice and a flared skirt. However, the most accurate use of the term "fit and flare," is to describe a dress that closely hugs the body through the bodice and right past the hip, where the skirt then flares away from the body.
Who Can Wear It: A fit and flare gown may emphasize a wide waistline or wide hips but they can also offer the perfect accentuation to show off womanly curves.