Wedding dress shopping can be an overwhelming experience. It definitely isn’t as straightforward as one would think, and certainly isn’t always as magical as the movies make it out to be. There are a lot of details to decide on – color, neckline, train length, lace style. The list goes on and on! At Anomalie, we help bring your custom wedding dress vision to life by starting with one question – What silhouette do you like best?
Sometimes even this simple question can be difficult to answer – our team of stylists has put together this silhouette guide to help you get started. While we do make suggestions based on body-shape, we believe that YOU know your body the best. Take these suggestions with a grain of salt (or even throw them out the window completely!) and wear whatever makes YOU feel beautiful.
Sheath or Column
The Sheath silhouette holds a narrow shape that flows straight down from the hips and follows your body’s natural shape. Sheath gowns are typically long and slinky. They work well on the slender, feminine figure. Typically crafted with crepe fabric, a rich and luxurious fabric that comes in both a matte or shiny finish, that gives that liquid, slinky, effect and drape.
Should I Say Yes to the Dress? – Sheath silhouette is great for lean body types, hourglass, and petite figures.
Should I Say No to the Dress? – Keep in mind that sheath silhouettes accentuate extra inches around the hips and waist, especially when created with charmeuse, so if you don’t want to accentuate that area, say no to this dress!
Fit & Flares
Commonly referred to as mermaid & trumpet gowns, these silhouettes are all in the fit & flare family. These gowns are fitted throughout the bodice and hips and begin to flare out, accentuating the stomach and hip area.
The variation comes from which point on the body the flare starts. Choose a flare that starts at the hip for a subtle look. Most brides opt for a flare that starts mid-thigh to really accentuate their curves. And of course, the more volume in the flare itself, the higher the drama! While these styles are extremely flattering to the body, be confident this is the right fit for you.
Should I Say Yes to the Dress? – If you want to accentuate your curves and show off your figure, or if you want to create the illusion of curves – ideal for an hourglass or petite figure!
Should I Say No to the Dress? – If you’re concerned about mobility and breaking out those dance moves, maybe choose a different fit.
Think light and flowy, giving an ethereal feel perfect for a beach or destination wedding. These style skirts are usually flat against the stomach or gathered at the waist, flowing down gently into the more-gathered fabric at the bottom of the skirt. This silhouette is most commonly paired with a lace bodice and V-neckline.
Should I Say Yes to the Dress? This style dress is perfect for nearly every body type, cinching in at the waist and flowing over your curves.
Should I Say No to the Dress? If you are planning a more formal wedding we’d suggest and A-line or ball gown silhouette. If you want to show off your curves more, we’d suggest going with a fit-and-flare or sheath style gown.
The A-Line fit has a subtle and classic silhouette that flatters any bride. A fitted bodice that highlights your narrowest points, then gradually flares into a more structured skirt. The dress resembles the letter ‘A’, hence where it gets its name.
Should I Say Yes to the Dress? – Accentuates almost any body type while still giving a classic bridal feel.
Should I Say No to the Dress? – If you want to show off more of your body or go for something bigger, like the ball gown fit, this isn’t the dress for you.
If you ever played princess dress up as a little girl, this silhouette shape doesn’t need an explanation. But for those of you who haven’t, this dress has a very fitted bodice and full floor-length skirt typically made with tulle or structured silk fabric, like organza or taffeta. The fitted bodice is commonly created with lace or satin, making for an overall dramatic effect. The bell-shape silhouette is extremely flattering for any body type and very forgiving! A dress like this will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale, floating down the aisle.
Should I Say Yes to the Dress? – Ball Gown dresses are best for mid-height or taller brides who have a bit of a bust. Definitely for the traditional bride who is planning a fairytale wedding.
Should I Say No to the Dress? – Keep in mind the skirt of the Ball Gown dress is extremely voluminous to keep the shape, so it can be extra heavy. Petite ladies should avoid the Ball Gown silhouette, as the skirt can overwhelm you and make you look a bit shorter.
Short, mid-length, and tea length dresses can come in almost all silhouette styles. If you can’t decide between a short length or a longer length dress, you can even go for the high-low! The best part about the high-low silhouette is that you can create a dramatic or subtle hemline to give you the best of both worlds. the skirt can be paired with any neckline.
Should I Say Yes to the Dress? – If you love the option of showing off those cute bridal heels, then definitely say “yes to the dress”! These options are flattering on almost any body type and compliment your best features.
Should I Say No to the Dress? – A shorter dress gives a more modern, bridal feel, so if you want a more traditional look, then this is not the right dress for you.
Can’t decide? Watch the guide below on all the different types of wedding dress silhouettes.
What is the most popular wedding dress style?
The princess Ball Gown silhouette is one of the most popular wedding dress styles of all time. It evokes a sense of wonder and splendor, ensuring any bride wearing her Ball Gown wedding dress is the center of attention!
The A-line wedding dress silhouette has always been popular. Though the A-line silhouette has less volume on the skirt than the Ball Gown, it is still a beautiful wedding dress silhouette. The A-line wedding dress silhouette is flattering on all body types, which is another reason why this wedding dress silhouette is so popular.
What are the wedding dress trends of 2022?
The era of COVID-19 required smaller, more intimate ceremonies, which caused simpler and more relaxed wedding dresses like sheath silhouette wedding dresses to be more popular. With the end of social distancing, however, 2022 weddings will be back to being large and grand affairs. Maximalist wedding aesthetics are once again becoming more popular.
Celebrity brides and designers alike have been bringing colorful floral laces, feathers, and add-ons to the bridal scene.
However, as always, if you’re looking for a simpler design, fashion from the 90s has made a comeback. Fitted dresses such as the column and fit-and-flare silhouette are frequent picks by celebrity brides, such as Ariana Grande. Made of crepe or satin fabrics, column skirt wedding dresses are both simple and mature. If you’re interested in designing your custom wedding dress and are unsure about which fabric to choose, read this. Many brides also include lace on their wedding dresses; read this post regarding our lace library.
What wedding dress neckline should I choose based on my body type?
Though wedding dress silhouettes are an important detail to consider, brides should also consider what wedding dress neckline suits them best. For brides with wider hips than bust regions, choose round necklines, high necklines, off-the-shoulder, or boat neck necklines. This will give the appearance of more width on the upper part of a bride’s body.
On the other hand, brides with wider bust than hips should choose v-neck or plunging necklines. Strapless wedding dresses may make the upper part of your body even wider.
Brides with a more rectangular body shape should choose wedding dresses with round necklines, which help lengthen the neck.
Hourglass body types are able to choose a variety of wedding dress necklines. From halter necklines to off-the-shoulder sleeves, these brides have their pick! A mermaid wedding dress is especially flattering on brides with an hourglass body type.
If you are concerned about your shoulders, brides with narrow shoulders should choose a square neckline, which has become increasingly popular this year. On the other hand, brides with broader shoulders may benefit from wide necklines that draw attention to collarbones, such as halter necklines.
How do I choose the wedding dress silhouette best for me?
Many bridal experts will give you advice on what wedding dress silhouette works best for you. However, as always, take these suggestions with a grain of salt (or even throw them out the window completely!) and wear whatever makes YOU feel the most beautiful.
A pro tip from our stylists: If you are still deciding between two or more wedding dress silhouettes, we recommend trying on a number of different styles to ensure you feel the most-confident on your wedding day.
If you would like more help in creating or choosing a wedding dress, schedule a call to talk to a stylist about other wedding dress design elements you should consider for your custom creation. Click here!
Where do I buy a wedding dress with the perfect silhouette?
Pnina Tornai, Anna Campbell, Hayley Paige, Maggie Sottero, Vera Wang, and Lazaro are designers who offer a wide range of wedding dresses in all silhouettes. Some designers, such as Lazaro and Hayley Paige, are sold exclusively at specific boutiques like Kleinfeld. These dresses start at $2,000 and can reach much higher prices, not including alterations and customizations.
However, there are other options. For the bride who wants to spend below $1,000 on a wedding dress, David’s Bridal has a large selection of discounted wedding gowns of different silhouettes. BHLDN is also another choice – it’s one of the few chain stores with wedding dresses ranging between $800 and $2,000.
For more extensive information on which wedding retailer is best for your wedding, read this blog.
Where do I buy a wedding dress with my perfect fit?
Anomalie is a custom wedding dress company that has helped thousands of brides across the US and Canada create a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime wedding gown. The company believes that a bride should make no concessions when it comes to her dream wedding dress – a bride should embrace every part of her body that makes her special and should not feel inclined to choose a dress that doesn’t have all her perfect design elements.
If you’re worried about finding a dress because of your petite or tall figure, or can’t find the perfect wedding dress that fits, Anomalie can help! We’ve also helped hundreds of plus size brides with their fitting concerns. As the top-ranked wedding retailer on WeddingWire, Anomalie’s FitCommit is a guaranteed process that has won numerous awards. By sending brides fitting shells and taking exact measurements (more accurate than a tailor’s!), Anomalie is able to give brides their perfect fits.
Can I design a wedding dress with a detachable overskirt?
If you’re torn between two different silhouettes, you may be able to have both! If you want a larger, more dramatic skirt for your ceremony, and a fitted or short dress for your reception, you can have the best of both worlds by creating an overskirt. Overskirts can be open in the front, fully lined, or even unlined to show the dress underneath — so many options!
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Can I design a wedding dress with long sleeves?
Yes, and they can even be detachable! Long sleeves with lace, flutter sleeves, and others are an option for any wedding dress silhouette. Anomalie brides have created detachable long sleeves with all kinds of wedding dress silhouettes. Another option is to purchase a wedding dress at a boutique and then purchase detachable sleeves from Etsy.
Can I design a colorful wedding dress?
Most boutiques have a smaller selection of black wedding dresses and colored wedding dresses, and there are usually only a few choices in each silhouette. For the unique bride who wishes to have a pop of color, it may be best to design a custom wedding dress. Anomalie brides have designed wedding dresses with nude, pastel, pink, blue, lilac, and black colors in the wedding dress silhouette they desired.
What wedding dress details elongate my silhouette?
For the shorter bride who wishes to elongate her figure, she should choose smaller lace details and simpler beading. This helps so that her figure is not overwhelmed by large patterns, which will make her seem wider horizontally than vertically. On the other hand, smaller lace details such as geometric laces with movement will give her the appearance of more height. For inspiration on creating your perfect lace wedding dress, check out this blog.
What fabrics work with which silhouettes?
The sheath or column skirt wedding dress is usually created with crepe or silk material in order to capture a flowing and slightly fitted effect.
Ball Gown and A-line wedding dresses come in a variety of different fabrics. Tulle, lace, satin, chiffon, and organza are popular fabrics for A-line and Ball Gown skirts.
Fit-and-flare wedding dresses also come in a variety of different fabrics. For lightweight fit-and-flares, dress materials are made of crepe or satin. For more coverage, these wedding dresses are made of lace.
Which wedding dress silhouettes work with which wedding themes? Should I wear a sheath versus fit and flare or sheath versus an A-line wedding dress?
Column or sheath wedding dress silhouettes are best suited for smaller, more intimate ceremonies. Many brides with bohemian wedding themes choose this silhouette. For grander and larger affairs, brides usually choose wedding dress silhouettes such as Ball Gown or fit-and-flare silhouettes.