A Guide to Wedding Dress Silhouettes

Having a custom wedding dress made is a dream for many brides—but if you aren't entirely sure what you're looking for, it can also be stressful and confusing.  In order to get the most out of your design experience, you should approach every appointment with some good, strong ideas of things that you like, and things you don't like.  That way, the professional you speak to will be able to produce some ideas that you're almost guaranteed to love.  To help you with this, here are some common styles and silhouettes found in wedding dresses.  Get familiar with the terms, and you'll soon be well on your way to the beautiful finished piece. 


Named after the shape of the letter A, A-line dresses start narrow at the top and widen out towards the hemline.  This is a very versatile silhouette which is flattering on most body types, owing to the way it balances out a woman's curves.  You may also hear of a 'modified' A-line dress.  These are similar, but with more fitted skirts and a more subtle effect.


This is the kind of silhouette that everyone can picture—just like a fairy-tale princess.  Its extravagance, luxury and formality appeal to many women.  If you're conscious of the lower half of your body, this style is excellent, as it fans out and will balance the wearer's hips, thighs and stomach.  However, if you are of petite stature, you may wish to steer clear; it's a lot of fabric to carry on your lower half, and it may make you appear shorter.


Imitating a mermaid's tail, this style is form-fitting all the way down to the knee, and then expands out at the hem.  Similarly, a trumpet dress is form-fitting up to the mid-thigh, and then fans out from that point.  Both silhouettes are very flattering on hourglass figures.  However, if you are conscious of your stomach and hips, steer clear; both styles also highlight and emphasise those areas.


A sheath dress will hang straight down, is not necessarily figure-hugging and won't fan out or add volume.  For these reasons, it's especially flattering on tall women and women with less curvy figures.  It can also produce a more subtle effect than a dress with a big skirt.

Be sure to look up the various styles and see how they look on body shapes similar to your own.  This way, you can judge which styles are best for you and which you like most.