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Wedding Dress Silhouettes

December 01, 2020
Wedding Dress Silhouettes

Silhouettes 101
One of the first things you should know about silhouettes is that finding the right silhouette for you will depend on a variety of factors, most importantly how you want to look and feel. At the end of the day you’ll want to go with the silhouette that makes you feel the most confident. We are here to give you the basic rundown and “need-to-knows” when determining which fit is right for you.

When trying on wedding dresses for the first time in-store, your stylist should pull various silhouettes so you can eliminate ones you know do not work for you. Focus on narrowing down the silhouette first, and then finding the dress that makes your heart flutter. Once you’ve tried one silhouette, you’ve tried them all. If you are stuck loving more than one silhouette, focus on the overall “vibe” instead of the details.

Something important to note is structure. You can have amazing fit and support without all the boning, cups, and structure, it just depends on the designers preferred style. Structure doesn’t always equal higher quality. A well-draped dress can have the same impeccable fit and feeling without all the built-in structure.

The Ballgown
For all our Selling Sunset fans - “the Christine Quinns of the world”


● Your dress doesn't get stuck between your legs. Thank you crinoline! (Crinoline is what gives the dress it’s volume & helps hold it’s shape.)
● It’s a classic bridal silhouette! It’ll never go out of style.
● Plenty of “leg room”.
● They are dramatic in all the right ways.
● They hide a lot, but also still accentuate your waist!
● They have recently made a come-back in stores! You’ll be seeing more & more of them.
● They can have beautifully long trains that make for amazing photos.


● They can be hot, heavy & take up room.
● It can really be a challenge to go to the bathroom.
● You may end up a few feet away from your partner during your first dance. (Depending, of course, on how much volume the dress has.)
● They can be itchy (if cheaply made & not properly lined) from the layers of crinoline.

Who is this best for?

● The classic, timeless bride, the princess bride, or the dramatic bride.
● The ballgown pairs well with most venues.
● Brides that are tall to medium height (or committed to wearing 6- inch heels). A petite frame & short stature can be swallowed up by a ballgown.
● If you are large, chested, ballgowns can help “balance you out” for a lack of a better term.

The A-line

“The softer sister to the Ballgown.”


● Similar to ballgowns, they hide a lot, but also still accentuate your waist!
● They are great for dancing - lots of legroom!
● They are usually fairly light, depending on fabric.
● They work well in a variety of venues and vibes.


There are none. It works for everyone and everyone loves them!

Who is this best for?
● Everyone. A-lines are best for everyone.
● Works well on every body type and every height.
● There are many different fabrics & styles that are found in A-line dresses, making them the allaround winner for any wedding vision.

The Sheath

“The love child of Fit and Flare and A-line.”


● They are easier to walk in than a fitted gown, but not as much legroom as an A-line or Ballgown.
● They are fairly rare making them perfect for the bride looking for something different.
● Usually not very structured, so if you love the freedom, this is your dress silhouette.


● Usually do not have long “bridal” trains, if any train at all.
● They don’t hide or accentuate any shape. They “just are.”
● While this can be a huge pro, they are pretty hard to find.

Who is this best for?

● This is perfect for the simple, minimalistic, and refined bride.
● This is for the bride looking to wear the dress, and not let the dress wear her.
● The sheath gown is great for casual & intimate venues.
● This silhouette fits any body shape, just know that it neither hides nor accentuates anything.

Drop Waist

“The Modified A-line”


● It is a unique silhouette.
● They accentuate your waist and your hip, while leaving a decent amount of legroom for you to dance the night away!
● Because of the silhouette, it tends to have great structure in the bodice.


● For brides worried about bloating, this silhouette is fitted through the waist and can give great definition, but also highlight the bloat.
● It is pretty hard to find, but not impossible.

Who is this best for?
● The Drop-Waist looks great in every size but does particularly well with plus-size brides and curvy brides.
● They can look good on apple & pear shapes.
● This silhouette often does better on taller brides than shorter brides. While proportions can be challenging in the drop-waist, on the right bride it can make such a statement!


“If you’ve got it, flaunt it.”


● Another classic bridal silhouette!
● They tend to have intricate, detailed GORGEOUS trains.
● Depending on the structure, it can create an hourglass shape.
● They make your butt look REALLY good.


● Depending on fabric & structure, they can be hard to dance in and sit in.
● There is very little leg room.

Who is this best for?

● Bride who wants to accentuate their curves!
● The fit & flare can be great for a lot of venues. As the silhouette is slim, it does not overpower any venue.

Mermaid / Trumpet

“The overly-dramatic best friend to the fit & flare.”


● Accentuates all the curves!
● Given the dramatic shape, most mermaids tend to have quite a lot of structure for support.
● A mermaid silhouette is for the bride that truly looks to make a statement.
● The main difference between Mermaids and Fit-and-Flare is that this silhouette stays fitted to the knees/ past the knees and then flares out. Fit-and-Flare is fitted until right above the knee.

● Even less legroom than fit-and-flare, so very little.
● They can be tough in outdoor venues or even venues with stairs. But well worth it, if you are up for the challenge.

Who is this best for?

● The brides that want the attention on them.
● Those who value style over comfort.
● The bride who is considering two or more wedding looks. Oftentimes, a bride will change into something easier to dance in for the party, or will pair a ballgown ceremony dress with a mermaid reception dress.
● The volume on the bottom of this silhouette can be a good balance for larger chested brides.

Regardless of what silhouette you choose, we encourage you to find a dress that you feel confident and comfortable in. Ask your stylist for undergarment recommendations, and always, always trust your gut.

Silhouette Drawings By: Bumble Co Handcrafted