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The first thing that you will want to do when you get engaged is probably shop for your wedding dress.  We get it! And we do agree, shopping for your wedding dress should be one of the first things you tackle, right after setting the date and booking your venue. But in the sea of endless wedding dresses, how do you find  wedding dress shapes that will flatter all “your” curves (or lack thereof)? Today we’re gonna help you figure out how to find the best wedding dress for your body type and shape.

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Types of Body Shapes

A woman’s body type will typically fall into one of the following categories. Check out the characteristics of each of the body shapes below to see which one you resemble the most. To help you, we have shared the names of popular celebrities who embody each body type, for those that are the visual type. Keep in mind that you could be the combination of 2 shapes (like petite and small chested for example.)

Petite 

Reminiscent of a rectangle, with the bust, waist and hips having relatively equal measurements.

Celebrity example:

Reese Witherspoon.

Reese Witherspoon petite body type

Apple or Round 

Oprah Winfrey round body type

An apple body shape is characterized by a curvier bust and waist, and slender legs.

Celebrity example: 

Oprah Winfrey.

 

Oprah Winfrey apple body type

Pear Shaped

kim kardashian body

When the shoulders and bust are narrower than the hips, a little reminiscent of a triangle.

Celebrity example: 

Kim Kardashian West

Kim kardashian west body shape

Hourglass

The hips and bust are nearly equal in size, with a tiny waist.

Celebrity example: 

Ashley Graham

Athletic

 A slim waist and defined shoulders, with an overall toned and strong body.

Celebrity example:

Angela Basset

Busty

 If your bust is large in comparison to the rest of your body, you may have a busty body shape. Reminiscent of a heart shape or an inverted triangle.

Celebrity example:

Sofia Vergara

Sofia vergara body shape green dress

Small-Chested

Sandra oh body type pink dress

A chest on the smaller side, typically around an A-cup.

Celebrity example: 

Sandra Oh 

Tall and Slender

Women who have an elongated frame, with the bust, waist and hips having relatively equal measurements.

Celebrity example: 

Tyra Banks 

Plus size

In fashion sizes it is considered size 18 and over, even though plus size body shapes vary largely. So please note- we do not believe Plus Size to be a Body Type. More on that later.

Celebrity example: 

Queen Latifah

queen latifah body type red carpet black gown
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How to Find The Best Wedding Dress For Your body type?

best wedding dress for each body type

Wedding Dresses for Petite Body Shapes

A petite body shape is often reminiscent of a rectangle, with the bust, waist and hips having relatively equal measurements. With this straight shape, you will want a gown that shows off your slim figure. An easy choice is the popular sheath or column dresses, or an a-line. It will accent the curves you have, for a feminine and gorgeous look. To add additional shape to your waist, add a simple ribbon or embellished sash just above the hips.

Avoid gown styles that may make you look shorter or smaller, such as ballgowns. The materials for these types of gowns can also be heavy, which may overwhelm your petite frame. A dramatic mermaid may also make you look a little smaller, so if you go that route, make sure to pick one with a moderate flare.

Try on:

  • Column or sheath
  • A-line 
  • Empire
  • Fit and Flare

Avoid:

  • Dramatic Mermaid
  • Ballgown

Expert Tip:

When your body is straight without many curves, you can create some if you want. Go for a gown made from a soft crepe fabric, and just add illusion cutouts on the side. Don’t worry! Cutouts are not scandalous, they can actually be very romantic and demure. Typically, they will have some lace appliques attached, so that not too much skin will show.

Why does this make you look curvy? The way that the crepe fabric is cut out to show the illusion is in a curve, that alone gives the illusion that your waist is narrower than it is. Add on a few pretty lace appliques and voilà!

Best Wedding Dress Shapes For Apple or Round Body Shapes

There are many wedding dress styles that will look amazing on women with what “fashionista’s” refer to as an apple-shaped body. But the best is to choose a gown that elongates your torso and cinches you in at the waist to create a great  curve. 

To do this, you can opt for a wedding dress with a deep plunge or v-neckline, that will create an illusion of a longer midsection. Another great trick is asymmetrical pleating or ruching. We know:  “fancy” terms, but this is the design where fabric is created with little folds or pleats. Those can are arranged in an asymmetrical way, and they give a slimming illusion in the midsection.

Try on: 

  • Gowns with ruching (great for Apple Body Types)
  • A-Line
  • Empire Waist
  • V-Neckline

Avoid:

  • Column or sheath
  • Mermaid or Trumpet

Expert Tip:

A little known secret that bridal stylists use to help women showcase curves they forgot they had is wedding gowns with a corset back. Indeed, an instantly slimmed waist  can be as simple as having a lace-up, corset back really cinch you in to show off your gorgeous curves.

Wedding Dresses for Pear Shapes

A triangle or pear body shape is when the shoulders and bust are narrower than the hips. If this is your body type, you will want a gown that emphasizes your small waist. You can go both ways: if you do not want your hips to be the star of the show, consider a classic a-line or a billowing ballgown. If you DO want to highlight your gorgeous hips, go for a shape that will make them pop, like a fit and flare. This will showcase your natural shape without hiding it, like a ballgown would. If you have a small bust, you can accent this area with details or embellishments, ruching or wrapping, or a unique neckline or sleeves. 

Try on:

  • A-line
  • Ballgown
  • Fit & Flare

Avoid:

  • Column or sheath
  • Empire

Keep in mind that your body be the combination of two or three body shapes!

Wedding Dresses for Hourglass Body Shapes

If your hips and bust are nearly equal in size then you are lucky to have an hourglass figure. When choosing a dress you will want a style that showcases your curves and thin waistline. Consider a fit & flare, mermaid or trumpet. For additional support and definition, look for a gown that features a corset or a structured bodice, which will cinch you in and define your shape even more. Similarly, you will want a neckline that doesn’t visually alter the size or weight of your bust. Aim for simple and feminine necklines, like a sweetheart or a shallow v-neck. Your proportions are already perfect, and your dress’ main job is to showcase them.

Try on:

  • Mermaid
  • Fit & Flare
  • Trumpet

Avoid

  • Empire
  • Column or sheath
  • Ballgown

Wedding Dresses for Athletic Body Shapes

Women with an athletic body shape often have a toned body, in addition to a slim waist and defined shoulders. For this reason, they too can pull off the sheaths and mermaids, which will perfectly accent their curves and hug their body. If you have an athletic figure you will also want to showcase your great shoulders and arms. To do this, consider a gown with a strapless or  off-the-shoulder neckline. A gown that features a neckline with beading and embellishments also works . If you want a more voluminous skirt, go for an a-line, and you may even add a slit to show off your toned legs.

Try on:

  • Mermaid
  • Fit & Flare
  • Trumpet
  • A-line

Avoid:

  • Ballgown

Wedding Dresses for Busty Body Types

For brides with a bigger bust, you will want support but also want to avoid appearing top-heavy. To achieve this, choose a style that complements your curves, like a mermaid or fit & flare gown. These styles will also pull the attention from your chest down to your thin waist and the bottom of your dress. 

Also, don’t think that you have to wear straps or a halter because you have a large bust. A strapless gown can work if the alterations are done properly. The key is to order a gown that has lots of boning in the bodice and have it fit “your bust” perfectly.

Other options are to wear an illusion neckline, which can give you coverage and support while allowing you to still enjoy the trendy open or low backs.

Another option is to try on some off-the-shoulder necklines. These wedding gown styles are super romantic and will give you the support of a boned bodice. They will also cover the armpit area that is sometimes a concern for women.

If you LOVE sparkle, do you! But don’t just do it on the bodice. If you do, all eyes will be on the sparkle or your bust. Instead, opt for a gown that sparkles from head to toe, or from the waist down. After all, aren’t you the belle of the ball?

Try on:

  • A-line 
  • Mermaid
  • Fit & Flare
  • Trumpet

Avoid:

  • Ball Gowns

Expert Tip:

If you want to take the attention away from your bust, but love your curves, find a wedding dress that is fitted through the waist and hips and has ruffles on the bottom. People will be less drawn to your chest and more drawn to the unique and dramatic ruffled skirt.

Wedding Dresses for Small-Chested Brides

There is nothing wrong with having a small bust area and there are many wedding dress styles that are completely appropriate for you to wear on your special day. Also, many fashion models are smaller on top, and show off gorgeous styles on the runway; you are in great company!

Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to completely cover up or hide the fact that you have a smaller chest. Instead, embrace your beauty by choosing one of these feminine necklines that will enhance your gorgeous self. 

Sweetheart Neckline – Yes Girl, you can wear a sweetheart neckline! The dip in the heart shape will actually help emphasize what you already have. And if you want a little more cleavage, no problem, alterations can add some bra cups for lift and volume. Also, look at undergarments that help create cleavage, like the Misses Kisses bra.

Dramatic Deep Plunge – we bet you never guessed this would be a good neckline for you! But in all honesty, a deep plunge looks amazing on women with smaller busts, while still remaining very classy. 

Try on:

  • Mermaid
  • Fit & Flare
  • Trumpet
  • Column or sheath

Avoid:

  • Ballgown

Wedding Dresses for Tall and Slender Brides

If you are tall and slender, you will want a dress that is pretty and plays up your height. The right gown will lend to your statuesque beauty and feminine form. The wrong dress will make you look shorter than you truly are – although this may not be a bad choice if you want to downplay your height.

To create the illusion of curves, even if you don’t have any, consider a column or sheath gown with contouring. The slim silhouette of these styles will also accent your tall frame. To shape and cinch the waistline, add a beaded belt or ribbon that ties in with your bridesmaids’ colors. In addition, find a gown with an illusion neckline that showcases your décolleté and complements your slender neckline. 

Try on:

  • Column or sheath
  • A-line 
  • Empire

Avoid:

  • Ballgown

Expert Tip:

When you are tall and slender you can pull off some unexpected, dramatic elements such as stunning low backs with decorative designs. Your wedding guests (and spouse) will be wowed!

Wedding Dresses for Plus Size Brides

So, we pretty much made this whole section to highlight that bodies should not be defined by their size.

First of all- plus size is NOT a body type, and it is important for us to mention it. The fashion industry categorizes as “Plus Size” anyone above a Size 18… which really, only tells us about their size, and not the way their body looks.

Our wish is to live in a world where women of all sizes can wear whatever they want, and are not limited in their choices by their measurements. That is not our current reality, and even A listers suffer from this sizeist approach. Many fashion designers used to think that a curvy woman “shouldn’t wear something that is tight and fitted”. Huh? In all actuality, curves showcase the beauty of the design on any gown. 

Another antiquated belief: years ago, many designers just didn’t think  that a low back wedding gown for a plus size bride was possible. (Not that they couldn’t make them, but that plus size brides wouldn’t wear them). We are so thankful that times have changed. 

Therefore, when it comes to curves, we say:  do what you want and wear what you want, but make sure to get your dress from a trusted source. We celebrate your curves and think that no stye should be off limits due to your measurements.  We urge you to not let your street size determine your style, but to instead look above, identify your body type, and go from there to identify the style of your dreams. You got this.

Try on:

  • Any style you feel comfortable in. Slay!
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Why the Best Wedding Dress For Your Body Type may be Custom 

The number one reason that you should opt for a custom wedding dress is that you will truly obtain the perfect, best wedding dress for your body type. You will be able to control absolutely every aspect of the style and design of your gown, from the neckline to the bust, waistline and skirt as well as embellishments. Every single one of these elements will lend to the overall look of your wedding gown and effect the overall appearance of your silhouette. Considering that everyone has a unique body, this is the only way to achieve a gown that is perfectly suited to you and only you – a one-of-a-kind wedding dress. 

In reality, going this route can be much easier and less stressful than sifting through dozens of dresses at multiple stores.  A custom gown is made to your exact specifications from the beginning, meaning there will be few to no alterations to make. Not to mention, your dress will be a product of your own creativity, making it that much more special!

Ready to begin designing the custom wedding dress of your dreams? At JoSaBi Mariées, we are proud to get to walk by your side during this journey. Whether you need a sounding board, advice or some inspiration, we will be there to deliver. In addition, our team takes pride in our ability to make any silhouette work for a bride. This guide is simply meant to inspire you and give you some ideas.

Any additional questions about our custom wedding gown design process? Visit our FAQ page, leave us a comment or contact us. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Thanks for hanging out with us today, and see you soon for another JoSaBi post!

 

Best,

JoSaBi