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How to Choose Wedding Dresses for Different Body Types

Picking out your dream dress is one of the most exciting parts of planning your wedding, but it also can be one of the most overwhelming. After all, there are just so many different styles and silhouettes of wedding dresses available. Even if you start with a pretty good idea of what your perfect wedding dress will look like, it might appear completely different than you imagined when you’re actually twirling around in it in front of a dressing room mirror.

One good way to narrow your search is to follow conventional wisdom around shopping for wedding dresses for different body types. Different wedding dress silhouettes flatter different builds, which is why some women look amazing in Cinderella-style ball gowns and others stun in mermaid gowns. Ultimately, the dress that will live up to your wedding-day fantasies is also the one that looks and feels most natural on you, so before you commit to any one style, get familiar with how to choose wedding dresses for different body types using this easy  guide.

How Do I Know What Body Type I Am?

The first step to shopping for wedding dresses for different body types is figuring out which of the five basic body types mostly closely resembles your own. Body shape is determined by the proportions of your shoulders/bust, waist, and hips — not by your height, weight, or age. None of these shapes is necessarily better than any other, but embracing your personal body type is a great tool for helping you find the most flattering wedding dress.

Here is a simple breakdown:

  • If your bust and hips are roughly the same width, and your waist is smaller, you are an hourglass
  • If your bust and hips are roughly the same width, and your waist is larger, you are an apple
  • If your bust, waist, and hips are all roughly equal in width, you are a rectangle
  • If your bust is wider than both your waist and hips, you’re an inverted triangle
  • If your hip are wider than both your waist and bust, you’re a pear

Why Body Type Matters

Different wedding dress silhouettes accentuate different parts of the body, and shopping with your body type in mind can help ensure that the dress you choose will help you look your best. It’s often about creating balance with the proportions you have, and avoiding drawing attention where you don’t want it. For instance, a voluminous skirt can help balance an inverted triangle shape, but might overwhelm a pear body type.

Now that you have an idea of how body type works, it’s time to discover the best wedding dresses for different body types.

Best Wedding Dresses by Body Types

Wedding Dresses for Hourglass Body Type

Styles Cwg963, cwg878 and wg3832

Many wedding dress silhouettes will work with a natural hourglass shape, where your shoulders and bust and hips are roughly the same width and your waist is smaller. Brides with hourglass body types often want to flaunt their curves with dress styles that show off their proportions, and mermaid dresses or trumpet dresses are a popular way to do so. This style is fitted to accentuate a tiny waist and flairs out at the bottom for a bit of drama.

While most styles will work with an hourglass body type, ball gowns or princess gowns with a large, full skirt tend to be the least flattering, because they hide a lot of the curves you may want to draw attention to.

Wedding Dresses for Rectangle Body Types

Styles Sdwg1117, RWG4082 and wg4033

Rectangle body types are in good company: Kate Middleton is said to be one. The extremely even proportions of a rectangle body type lend themselves well to a simple sheath, which follows the lines of the body.

Without a well-defined waist, rectangle body types may want to stay away from body-conscious silhouettes like mermaid or trumpet dresses, which could end up looking too undefined.

Wedding Dresses For Apple and Inverted Triangle Body Types

Styles CWG955, cwg958 and wg3979

The best styles for apple and inverted triangle body types tend to be similar because both have broad shoulders and bust compared to their hips, which means a little more volume down below can help balance things out. For this reason, princess dresses and ball gowns can be a go-to for both apple and inverted triangle body types. The fitted bodice helps create a more defined waist and plays up the decolletage and shoulders.

Sheath dresses can look a little shapeless on apple and inverted triangle body types and don’t provide the tailoring to define a waist. Mermaid and trumpet styles can also be tough to pull off for these body types, as they rely a lot on the curves of a natural waist and hips.

Best Wedding Dresses For Pear Body Types

Styles Wg4096 Cwg924, and wg4092

For brides with a pear body type and narrower shoulders and bust, a little structure up top can be a good thing. That’s why A-line dresses as well as princess dresses or ball gowns can flatter this body type, while a fuller or more flowing skirt can help disguise any bottom-heaviness.

Long, straight sheath dresses don’t do the best job of drawing the eye to a pear body type’s defined waist and tend to focus all the attention on the lower half.

Using this guide to the best wedding dresses for different body types is a great starting point for finding your dream wedding dress, but it’s not iron-clad. Matching a silhouette to your natural body type is often helpful to finding the dress that is the best fit for you, but if you have your heart set on a gown that isn’t typically a match with your body type, go ahead and try it on anyway. Every bride (and every body!) is unique, and half the fun of shopping for your dream wedding dress is experimenting with different styles and looks, so enjoy it!

Planning a wedding? Sign up for our Diamond Loyalty program—it’s free!—and find local wedding vendors with Pearl by David’s. Follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and Facebook for more wedding inspiration and book an appointment to find your dream dress!

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