Choosing a Wedding Dress to Suit Your Body Shape

Published: 01st February 2012
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For any bride, their wedding dress is perhaps the most important part of their wedding day. The dress has to be elegant, sophisticated and utterly unforgettable. So itís no surprise that choosing the right outfit can be an incredibly stressful experience.

As a colour, white can be tricky to pull off. Thatís why choosing a dress that suits your body shape is essential. You need to know how to show off your best bits on your special day. But how does a bride identify what shape their body is? And once armed with this knowledge, how should they dress for the occasion?

Apple Shaped

If you carry your weight around the waist, but are blessed with great legs and/or boobs, you are the owner of an apple shaped body. Fortunately, there are lots of options to get you looking and feeling great on your wedding day.

Look for a dress that draws attention your best features. For bigger bust sizes, a plunging neckline will accentuate the cleavage, whilst lengthening the neck. Choosing a plunging neckline is an even more effective tactic if you decide to go strapless.

An a-line skirt can look great if youíve got the legs for it, but you should avoid high neck lines, and any boxy jackets.

Pear Shaped

If youíre skinny on top and heavier on the bottom, with a J-Lo bum and larger thighs, you are the proud owner of a pear shaped body. Most women consider this shape undesirable, and the most difficult to dress. However, many men would beg to differ.

As with Apple shaped bodies, v-necks and strapless styles tend to flatter. A empire-style dress that pinches in at the hips before flowing outwards in an A-line shape is a good choice, as long as the skirt isnít overly long. Examples of things to avoid are; halternecks, straight cut dresses and also gathered or pleated skirts, as you should avoid adding any unneeded excess around the hips.

Triangle Shaped

This shape is typical amongst taller women, with their shoulders wider than the hips and a fairly flat chest. Although some triangle shaped women fear their broader shoulders somehow lack femininity, this is actually an incredibly desirable shape. The majority of supermodels are this shape, meaning almost any catwalk or high street fashion is suited to this body type.

Straight cut dresses can give a very sophisticated look, and extravagant ball gown styles can look spectacular. A higher cut neckline balances shoulders and hips, flattering a smaller chest. Details around the hips can add shapeliness, but do avoid overly intricate sleeves, and wide or low cut necklines can broaden the shoulders too much

Hourglass Figure

If your shoulders and hips are roughly the same width, but you benefit from a defined waist, you have the fabled hourglass figure. According to convention, this is often considered the most desirable body shape, and one of the most easy to dress. But it can be very easy to get wrong when choosing a dress.

Choose any type of low, wide or plunging neckline, as this will show off a defined waist well. If youíve got any wobbly bits your not comfortable having on show, look for a dress that will disguise any insecurities you may have. Donít waste your curves with a straight cut dress, and an empire style in particular will waste your best features, choose something that nips in at the waist to show off your smallest part.


A rectangular shape is defined by shoulders and hips being roughly the same width, but without much waist definition. There is a surprising amount of scope for different styles with this body shape, as the only real issue is with adding hip definition.

A v-shape leading down to the waist is useful in that it creates the illusion of a smaller waist. A fairly full skirt with a structured bodice can also add extra definition. Empire line styles can work particularly well. Keep necklines wide and use detailing either above or below the waist, not both.

There are some rules that are pretty much set in stone when choosing a flattering dress. But on the whole, these are guidelines, not gospel. It is possible to find a dress that breaks convention and still looks fantastic. But using the above rules of thumb should speed up the process of finding the perfect dress for your big day.

Submitted by Gemma Halliwell, Events & General Manager at Maunsel House and Woodlands Castle. Maunsel House is a magnificent 13th Century Manor wedding venue Somerset . Set in 100 acres of stunning parkland, this venue is perfect for weddings in Somerset and is available for exclusive hire it serves as a luxurious location for weddings of any size.

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