Friday, January 7, 2011

Fashion Fridays: The Perfect Dress for Your Body Type

Do you know what shape flatters you?  This is one of the FIRST questions a wedding consultant will ask you when you walk through the door.  Since there are so many to choose from, determining the best silhouette for you will narrow the search quite a bit.  It took me a while to figure what style suited my body best, and after many trial runs, I found the mermaid and ball gown were the best fit for me.  

I will be dedicating next week to different gown silhouettes, but in the mean time, here are a few tips for helping you choose:

PEAR SHAPED is the most common body type of most woman - meaning that the width of the shoulders is smaller than the hips. There is usually some definition at the waist.
  • What to Try: An A-line dress is usually the best shape, as it floats away from the lower half of the body. For the neckline, strapless, V-neck and scooped necklines work best. Diagonal draping across the bodice can look quite flattering.
Women with a RECTANGLE SHAPED have hips and shoulders that are generally the same width across. There may not be much definition at the waist.
  • What to try: Look for dresses with structured corsets and full skirts which will help to add shape to the body. Keep necklines wide and add detailing above or below the waist. A V-shape around the waistline will also help to define the waist and hips.
A TRIANGLE SHAPED is really an inverted triangle shape, where the shoulders are wider than the hips.
  • What to try: Straight cut or bias cut can look quite lovely in this body type and will look great with full ball gown styles. Bustles and bows around the hip area can also add shape to the lower body. Halter and higher-cut necklines can flatter the shoulders and make them appear smaller.
With the HOURGLASS SHAPE, the hips and shoulders are about the same width and there is a well-defined waist.
  • What to try: A strapless, V-neck or scooped neckline will flatter this body type. Off the shoulder styles can also work, but keep the neckline low. An A-line skirt is always a good choice for this body type. The mermaid style dress can also work on thinner, hourglass shaped women.
Learning the lingo:
- A-line: A gown that is narrower at the top and gently flares out from the waist. This particular style is the most forgiving for all body types.
- Ball gown: A full skirt with a fitted bodice and waist. A ball gown silhouette is ideal for a pear-shaped figure.
- Basque: A low U- or V-shaped fitted bodice that ends two or three inches below the natural waist. Flattering for women who want to hide their stomach and elongate their waist.
- Corset: A tight-fitting bodice that will give the body a great shape. A corset wedding dress can have boning detail or lacing up the back. It will also hold the stomach in and accentuate the upper body.
- Dropped: The bodice of the dress ends below the natural waist. A dropped, or dropped-waist, gown works best for an hourglass figure, and gives the appearance of a longer torso.
- Empire: A high waistline that is right under the bust. An empire is good for petite women who want to create an overall taller appearance.
- Fishtail or Trumpet: A fitted gown that flares out at the knee. This style is similar to a mermaid or trumpet. It creates a dramatic statement by accentuating a bride's curves.
- Mermaid: A fitted gown that flairs out below the knee. This style resembles a fishtail or trumpet. Ideal for women with an hourglass figure who wants to accentuate their curves.
- Natural Waist: A gown with a fitted top and a skirt that falls at the natural waist..
- Sheath: A form-fitting gown with a straight skirt and no waist. A sheath wedding dress will look best on tall, slender brides.
- Tea-length: The hem of the gown ends at the shin.

Images via The Ringbearer 
Top Left: Monique Lhuillier Bridal Spring 2011 Collection - Addision (Silhouette : Ball gown / Neckline : Strapless, Sweetheart / Hemline : Floor-Length)
Top Right: Monique Lhuillier Bridal Spring 2011 Collection - Addie (Silhouette : Fit/Flare / Neckline : Off-the-shoulder / Hemline : Floor-Length)
Bottom Left: Lazaro Bridal Fall 2010 Collection (Silhouette: Trumpet, Mermaid / Neckline : Scoop / Hemline: Floor-Length)
Bottom Right: Lazaro Bridal Fall 2010 Collection (Silhouette: Fit/Flare, Trumpet / Neckline : Strapless, Sweetheart / Hemline: Floor-Length)