Wedding Dress Silhouettes 101

Nov 5, 2023 | Body Shape & Beauty, Bridal Dresses

Woman altering wedding dress

We get it- sometimes shopping for a wedding dress can be totally overwhelming. With so many gorgeous options, picking the gown can even seem harder than choosing your groom! 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! It’s time to narrow down the search by learning which wedding dress silhouettes work best on your figure and emphasize your body’s best features. Take these suggestions with a grain of salt (or even throw them out the window completely!) and wear whatever makes YOU feel beautiful.

Nevertheless, we here at Corsetry and Couture have curated a list of all traditional dress silhouettes to give you a helping hand, and make your dress finding journey as easy as possible!


Ball Gown:

The true “princess” dress. 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 wedding dress has a very fitted bodice and full floor-length skirt typically made with tulle or structured silk fabric, like organza or taffeta.

Fitted at the bodice with a very dramatic, full skirt that begins at your natural waist, a ball gown shows off your figure. The bodice is commonly created with lace or satin, making for an overall dramatic effect. It accentuates your smaller upper body while camouflaging your lower half with a voluminous skirt — ideal for giving straight body shapes a curvier appearance. The bell-shape silhouette is extremely flattering for any body type and very forgiving!

Being that it’s the most glamorous silhouette, the ball gown is a perfect match for grand and regal wedding celebrations, or fitting for the classic bride who wants to show her ultrafeminine personal style. A wedding  dress like this will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale, floating down the aisle.

Should I Say No to the Dress? – Keep in mind the skirt of the Ball Gown wedding dress is extremely voluminous to keep the shape, so it can be extra heavy. The Ball Gown silhouette, as the skirt can overwhelm you and make you look a bit shorter.



Slightly more flowy than a ball gown, A-lines have fitted bodices through the waist and cascade out towards the ground, resembling the outline of an uppercase “A”, hence the name. Ideal for all body types, the A-Line fit has a subtle and classic silhouette. A fitted bodice that highlights your narrowest points, then gradually flares into a more structured skirt. Brides-to-be who aren’t into the dramatic look of a ball gown, but still have girlish tastes, can easily strike a balance with this go-to silhouette that’s just as elegant and feminine.

Cinched at the smallest part of your natural waist with a skirt that elegantly drapes down, an A-line dress is flattering for every form (especially if you prefer to cover your hips or balance wide shoulders).

Should I Say Yes to the Dress? – A-line accentuates almost any body type while still giving a classic bridal feel.



As the name implies, this silhouette resembles the shape of a trumpet: it falls in a straight line and flares out from mid-hip toward the hem. The lines of the dress highlight your natural figure while lengthening your stature, making it ideal for curvy body types. And, bonus: it’s form-fitted yet non-constricted, so you can strut down the aisle and dance the night away on your wedding day effortlessly!

This cut is between a modified a-line and a mermaid cut. Ideal for brides looking to accentuate the waist. 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! These styles can be extremely flattering to the body.

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 this is the ideal wedding dress style for you!



Got an hourglass figure that you’re just dying to show off on your big day? The sleek and sexy curve-hugging mermaid silhouette is form-fitted at the top all the way through the skirt and flares out just below the knee.

Hourglass shaped brides love the way this silhouette adds a dash of drama and totally flatters the figure. Straight and narrow brides, rest assured, the shape of this style will create enviable curves as well!

Mermaid or trumpet wedding gowns are undoubtedly the sexiest silhouette a bride can wear. This style amplifies all of your curves in all the right places. Typically accented with a sexy sweetheart neckline, mermaid wedding dresses feature an elongated bodice so that any bride will achieve that sultry, uber-romantic effect.

Should I Say Yes to the Dress? – while this bodycon silhouette is flattering, it’s tight structure can make walking a little tough.



Minimal, modern, and sophisticated, sheath, also referred to as a column, is the most form-fitted wedding dress silhouette. Without any flare in the skirt, a sheath dress falls down a straight line and honors your body’s natural shape. The sleek silhouette offers a lengthening effect, which is especially helpful for petite body types and slim frames.

Sheath gowns are typically long and slinky. 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. Ideal for lean frames, and athletic body types. Also great for hourglasses who are looking to flaunt their curves!

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, this may not be the wedding dress silhouette for you.


Tea length:

Who said brides had to wear floor-length frocks? Tea length wedding dresses are the perfect option for brides who want to dance the night away. Short gowns achieve an elegant look without the burden of feeling too formal.

Short, mid-length, and tea length dresses can come in almost all silhouette styles. Short hemlines are usually tea-length or mid-thigh, but 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.

These options are flattering on almost any body type and compliment your best features.

Short bridal gowns allow you to show off your legs and the most fun accessory: your shoes! Short gowns are so versatile and are great for the bride who wants to wear something fun and simple, and make a modern statement.

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 wedding dress for you.