Finding a gown to wear to a formal occasion is never easy. Now, imagine this formal occasion were the single most important day of your life. Imagine that the gown you choose would be the centerpiece of thousands of photographs. Imagine that everyone would be commenting how beautiful or whispering how frumpy you look, based in large part on this single gown. Imagine all that and you will still have barely a glimpse of what we are talking about.

In short, finding a wedding gown is probably the single most important and personal decision that a bride-to-be will make. Why do you think she tries on about a dozen of them before she finds one she likes? Why do you think she often brings her bridesmaids along to help her make the right choice? Yes, it is that important. But it doesn’t have to take weeks to find the perfect dress. In this article we will discuss silhouettes and how they can help you find the gown that is right for you.

What is a silhouette? The silhouette describes the shape of the gown and how it fits the body. The reason this is important is that different silhouettes are said to compliment different body types. Whether petite, pear shaped, tall, slim, or full figured, there is a dress that will show off your best assets and de-accentuate your flaws (or at least what you perceive as flaws). Let’s take a moment to discuss the most common body types and the silhouettes the experts say are the most flattering to these figures.


Out of all of the different body types, women with petite bodies typically have the hardest time finding the right wedding dress. The reason for this is simple. Every bride wants to be the center of attention on her wedding day by wearing a big, grand dress. But petite women seldom have the body for these gowns. In fact, they often complain that they feel lost in the bigger, more ostentatious dresses.

That is why the experts recommend simpler gowns like the A-line silhouette with a raised waistline. These raised waistlines, when coupled with a décolleté neckline, produce an optical illusion that can elongate the bride’s spare frame. Many dressmakers also like the sheath dress for petite women because it may flatter and accentuate her curves. For designers who really know their stuff, lace can be used to good effect and can make petite women look longer. Just make sure that the fabrics run vertically and the lace falls perpendicularly to complete the illusion.

Pear Shaped

Because Americans are generally a bit on the heavy side, the pear-shaped body type is one of the most common. As you may know, when guys gain weight it goes to their stomachs, and when girls gain weight, it goes to their hips, thighs and their bottoms. The result is the body type known as pear shaped. Millions of American women who are perfectly happy with their bodies have this body type.

Their only complaint is that it is difficult to find a formal gown, because designers don’t make enough dresses for women like them. We recommend the Basque and Empire silhouettes. Both have high waistlines that draw attention away from the hips. In fact, the Empire silhouette has an extremely high waistline that gathers just under the bust. If the bride to be wants to accentuate her bust line even more she can order a dress with a V-neckline. A full skirt that cinches at the waist can also hide the hips and accentuate a thin waistline.

Curvy or Full Figured

Most full-figured women absolutely adore their curves, but when it comes to formalwear, it can be a chore for them to find dresses that show off their curves in the right way. The experts tell us that voluptuous brides-to-be should start with A-line and Princess silhouettes because they hug the waist and the mid-section. However, when the woman is shorter and has an hourglass shape, she should look for a dropped waist because it will make her appear more proportional. There is also the dropped waistline in a trumpet silhouette for women how have a classic hourglass figure, meaning a tiny waist, ample thighs, and a large bust line.


The tall woman has the proverbial pick of the litter. Since most dresses are designed with tall girls in mind, she will be able to choose from a number of different silhouettes, including the empire, the column, the sheath, the trumpet, the Princess, or the A-line. If we were forced to choose just one silhouette to recommend to tall, stately women, it would have to be the aptly-named column. This cut is ideal for women with slim torsos and long legs, which tall women typically have. It’s arguably the most popular silhouette for tall, thin brides-to-be because it hugs their curves and makes them appear bigger than they really are in all the right places.

Before you go shopping for your wedding gown, be sure you’re up to snuff on silhouettes.

Source by Ryan Baker