It’s a heartbreaking scene that plays out in boutique dressing rooms all across the country: A beautiful future bride, surrounded by her mom, sisters, and best friends, sits on the floor of a dressing room, a poufy taffeta and satin wedding dress surrounding her and making her look like a melting marshmallow, sobbing hysterically. Every little girl fantasizes about walking down the aisle in a gorgeous wedding dress, so why does the dress search—part of the wedding planning process that should be the most thrilling—leave so many women in tears every year? The pressure to look Instagram-worthy, coupled with seemingly endless styles of wedding dress, amplified by the opinions of friends and family is enough to make any bride crumple.
Don’t let the wedding dressing room meltdown happen to you.
An essential first step to choosing the right dress and avoiding self-doubt and insecurity is understanding what dress style will best flatter your frame. What follows is our bride’s guide to selecting the best wedding dress style for your shape.
Best Wedding Dress Styles for Petites
You may be small in stature, but on your wedding day, you’ll want to make a big impression.
- A toga/Grecian goddess style with a one shoulder strap and billowing fabric in long sleek lines to elongate your frame and draw the eye up.
- An A-line sheath with a high satin band and an empire waist, to create the illusion of height.
- A mermaid gown that’s cinched at the waist and billows out at the knee in a trumpet skirt to add curves to a boyish bod.
- A plunging neckline to add length and draw the eye upward.
- Big poufy princess gowns. Tiny stylistas will look like they are drowning in all that fabric.
- Big, bulky, 3-D accents like large bows or floral embellishments or appliques.
Best Wedding Dress Styles for Busty Shapes
You will want to be comfortable and feel secure on your wedding day, without feeling like you need to sacrifice the sexy.
- A V-neckline with supportive straps that fall gracefully in lightweight fabrics.
- A fitted bodice that opens up into a draped-tulle gown.
- An A-line gown with a scoop neck or sweetheart neckline and structured straps.
- An Empire-waist or baby-doll dress to accentuate, but not overwhelm your figure if you are bigger on top than on the bottom.
- Dresses with full chest coverage. This style will make your chest look bigger than it is.
- Slinky fabrics with draping necklines.
Best Wedding Dress Styles for Pear Shapes
The key for pear shapes is to accentuate but not amplify curves. Choose silhouettes that elongate your frame and create more of an hourglass shape.
- Diagonal draping and ruffled tiers that float gracefully downward.
- An A-line or empire waistline gown that is snug on top, then amplified by taffeta or fluttery chiffon to create a slimming, lengthening effect.
- A Grecian goddess-inspired gown with a beaded bodice that draws the eye up, coupled with a floaty, chiffon skirt.
- A high neckline and straight train to create the illusion of a straight silhouette.
- Mermaid style dresses.
Best Wedding Dress Styles for Plus Sizes
Choose a dress that makes you feel glamorous and confident, and avoid feeling like you need to cover-up or drown in layers of fabric.
- A goddess gown with a fitted bodice and flowing chiffon train.
- Asymmetrical ruching with a cinched waist.
- An entirely asymmetrical gown to elongate the torso.
- An A-line gown with a beaded or satin band to draw up the eye with soft tiers that slim the silhouette.
- Bulky, princess ballgowns.
Expert Tip: Do you remember that moment when you knew, just knew that your man was the one? Trust us when we tell you that you’ll have the same moment of clear reckoning when you find the right wedding dress. Use our style guide as just that—a guide—but ultimately, let yourself fall in love with the dress that makes you feel like the gorgeous bride-to-be you are.