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Shape up! (A guide to bridal dress silhouettes)

Searching for your 'say yes' gown but have no idea where to begin?

This basic breakdown of the top bridal dress silhouettes could be a perfect place to start!

Ball Gown: This type of gown has a dramatic flare at the waist with plenty of volume, as it typically has layers of crinoline underneath to give it that princess shape. (Think Cinderella)

--> Pro Tip: For less volume, ask for your seamstress to remove the crinoline. This will give you more of an A-Line shape!

A-Line: You can think of this one as a 'sister dress' to the ball gown. This type of gown still gives you the slimmed waist look, but without the layers of crinoline. Typically this dress will flow with you and have slightly less structure than your ball gown will. (Think billowing skirt)

--> Pro Tip: Keep in mind that A-Line dresses typically have no crinoline, but if you're a ball gown girl and fall in love with this type, you can certainly add some layers underneath to give it slightly more volume!

Sheath: This is going to be your most simple silhouette, as it fits somewhere between a Fit & Flare & an A-Line. This is going to be a straighter cut, that flows gracefully to the ground without too much extra fabric. (Think maxi-dress)

--> Pro Tip: If you want to add some more body-hugging shape, ask your seamstress if they can pull the dress in at the seams on the hips/thighs. (Fabric permitting)

Fit & Flare/Trumpet: This is one of the most popular fitted silhouettes, as it still hugs the body through the hips and thighs, but gives ample wiggle room for moving and dancing! (Think body-con dress)

--> Pro Tip: Make sure to ask your stylist to show you how this dress will bustle up in the back, as most Fit & Flares have beautiful long, dramatic trains!

Mermaid: This dress is for the bride who loves a dramatic fitted look. These will be the most fitted of all the silhouettes, and hug the body through the hips & thighs, down to the knee. Additionally, a majority of mermaid shaped gowns have a few layers of crinoline at the base to give it that extra volume & dimension. (Think mermaid tail...hence the name!) --> Pro-Tip: There are plenty of fabrics that a mermaid dress is available in, and some are stretchier than others. If you are a bride who is concerned about being able to dance the night away, make sure you ask to try a few different linings to explore your options!

Tea-Length: This type is for the non-traditional bride, and not typically found at every bridal salon, but is available out there! This can include a number of styles, but refers to a dress being cut to mid-calf length instead of typical floor length. (Think midi-dress)

--> Pro-Tip: A-Line & Sheath dresses are the easiest for a seamstress to shorten to tea-length, so keep that alteration in mind during your shopping trips!

Empire: This is technically referring to a waist-line specifically, but can sometimes be used to describe the dress as a whole. This particular waist-line is just under the bust, and gives the illusion of elongated legs, for a taller appearance. (Think just under your bra-line)

--> Pro-Tip: Keep in mind that this is a waist-line description, so if you ask for 'empire' to your consultant, she/he may bring you a number of different styles. Make sure you also specify what shape you want, for example, "I want a ball-gown with an empire waist."

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