Ribbons and Pearls Wedding Dresses Wedding Dress Style Guide
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Click for wedding dresses: A-line or Princess Line Shape

A-Line or Princess Line Dress

The ideal dress, most popular because its suits everyone.

See our A-Line Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
This is a fitted bodice shape with an A-line skirt. It hugs the waist, so it creates a slimmer waistline and flatters the bust. If you have wider hips, the A-Line will cover them up effectively and if you have narrower hips the cut of the skirt will give you some shape.

What to avoid
The tighter bodice will tend to draw attention to a smaller bust so it will be more flattering if you add a little padding to balance the look. This can be with secretive padding added to the dress or a good bra. A heavy bust will need some structure - often this support is already built in to the bodice, but if not then boned corsetry is a must.


Click for wedding dresses: Full Skirt or Ballerina Shape

Full Skirt or Ballerina Dress

Sometimes known as Ballgown or Fairytale, if you want a “Big” dress then this is the one for you, lots of volume and thoughts of Cinderella!

See our Full Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
If you have a slim-hipped figure and a full bust, the Full Skirt shape will balance top and bottom perfectly, giving you that "fairytale bride" look. This style and the Princess are generally thought of as the most romantic shapes.

What to avoid
Avoid the Full Skirt if you are not full busted, as it will make your bust look smaller. If you are petite, avoid this option because you will disappear into the dress! If you have wide hips, avoid the Full Skirt because it will over emphasize them.

Click for wedding dresses: Column Shape

Column Dress

Fitted but with a straight skirt, this can be soft and floaty as in a Grecian style or fitted and structured with a straight skirt.

See our Column Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
The Column dress hugs the figure and looks great on tall, willowy women. This is the one to give you that catwalk look! It will also work well on a more petite figure.

What to avoid
The Column shape sits quite close to the body, so if you have fuller hips, this will tend to emphasize them, and is quite clinging so avoid it if you do not have a smooth outline.

Click for wedding dresses: Empire Line Shape

Empire Line Dress

Underbust detailing and seaming with an unstructured waist so that it falls in a virtually straight line past the hips and into the skirt.

See our Empire Line Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
The body of the dress falls from beneath the bust, which is great if you have a broad waist and a small  bust. The long line makes petite brides look taller. Thinking of Jane Austen, then  this is the one to create  the perfect romantic look.

What to avoid
The long line makes tall brides look taller. Avoid it also if you have a heavy bustline because it will make it appear bigger.

Click for wedding dresses: Mermaid Shape

Mermaid Dress

Also known as hourglass or figure-hugging, the mermaid shape is tightly fitted to the body and flares out from mid thigh or knee.

See our Mermaid Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
The mermaid shape is ideal for curvy girls with balanced hip and bust measurements - this dress will bring out the Marilyn Monroe in you.  If you want Hollywood glamour, this is undoubtedly it.

What to avoid
Just make sure you can sit down in it before you buy it or you may spill out, and if it is not boned then make sure that you have good supportive underwear. Careful if your curves are all in your bottom as it will emphasis it, and avoid if you are straight up and down, apple- or pear-shaped.

Shape Styles    Sleeve Styles   Neckline Styles   Stylomatic   Veils Guide
Wedding Dress with Long Sleeves

Long or Three-Quarter Sleeves

Long sleeves may be provided as part of the dress, or as a separate jacket as shown here.

See our Long-Sleeved Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
Use long sleeves to draw attention to your upper body, for example if you have fuller hips.  Long sleeves will also conceal larger arms, and cover square shoulders, provided that they are loose rather than close fitting.  A pretty design will distract the eye from any imperfections.  Long sleeves will also save you from getting goose bumps if you have a winter wedding.

What to avoid
If you have well-toned arms, flaunt them!  It would be a shame to cover them up with long sleeves, however pretty the material might be.  Don't use long sleeves if you have a petite figure, because they will make your arms look longer and out of scale with the rest of you.

Wedding Dress with Short Sleeves

Short  Sleeves

Short sleeves are ideal if you need to cover your shoulders. A tailored short sleeve can balance your look if you are pear shaped, and can square up rounded shoulders if you use a shoulder pad.

See our Short-Sleeved Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
Use short sleeves to show off well-toned arms.  They will help balance small shoulders, too.  Short sleeves help break up the line, so if you are tall, short sleeves together with a suitable dress shape will make you look shorter.

What to avoid
Keep larger arms covered up by choosing long sleeves, preferably with a looser fit.  If you have broad shoulders, this style will emphasize them.

Wedding Dress with spaghetti straps

Spaghetti Straps

Spaghetti straps create a frame for a pretty neck and minimise big shoulders. if you are heavy busted then opt for a thicker strap as thin ones can create an unsightly red mark.

See our Spaghetti Straps Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
Show off well-toned arms and beautiful shoulders and neck by choosing spaghetti straps.  These have a young and modern look and are very attractive. Use a strapless bra with spaghetti straps so that there are no distractions.

What to avoid
Keep angular shoulders or large arms covered up.  Spaghetti straps also emphasize the neck, so be sure it looks good if you choose them.  You can also use a necklace effectively to compliment the straps.

Shape Styles    Sleeve Styles   Neckline Styles   Stylomatic   Veils Guide
Strapless Wedding Dress

Strapless Neckline

Very in vogue for current collections, this is the perfect look for the right girl.

See our Strapless Neckline Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
This is a particularly elegant look if you have a long neck, good shoulders and well-toned arms.  A strapless dress is a fine opportunity for beautiful jewellery.  Strapless looks good with a medium bust.

What to avoid
Don't leave everything uncovered unless it looks great - there are plenty of other styles to hide shorter necks, square shoulders or full arms.  If you have a very full bust, strapless is unlikely to be able to give you the support you will need throughout the day.

Halter Neck Wedding Dress

Halter Neckline

Halter necks are a little unusual but can look fantastic.

See our Halterneck Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
Halterneck tops expose beautiful shoulders and well-toned arms, while the continuity of line makes you look taller if you are petite.  The halterneck top echoes the lower half of the dress, so if you have slim hips the halterneck will be an excellent counterpoint.  There are many different variations on the halterneck style; collar with straps, single strap wrapping round the back of the neck, covered or exposed V to the bust.  A halterneck style can also hide that little underarm "pouch" that we are sometimes prone to!

What to avoid
A halterneck top may over-emphasize your upper body if you have a larger bust, though it will provide good support.  It will also emphasize your hips in counterpoint - so if you have larger hips, avoid this style.

Wedding Dress with Boat Neckline

Boat or Bateau Neckline

With a pretty neck and collarbones this can be truly gorgeous.

See our Boat Neckline Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
The wide-necked or off-the-shoulder shape of the Boat or "Bateau" style follows the line of the collarbone, so if you have well-defined collarbones and a beautiful neck, the Boat design will show them off to best effect.  Boat is also good for narrow shoulders. This style was made popular by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

What to avoid
If your neck is not your best feature, the Boat may not show you in your best light.  If your shoulders are broad, keep away from the Boat as it will draw attention to them.  If your bust is large, the Boat neckline will make it look bigger.

V-Neck Wedding Dress

V Neckline

Stunning if you have a little cleavage to flaunt, and provides an opportunity to emphasize pretty jewellery.

See our V-Neck Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
The V-Line style plunges to the bust and is particularly complimentary if you have a larger bust and would like a little cleavage.  Small busts can be uplifted and padded, so make sure you have a good bra to emphasise what you have got. The angle of the V-Line varies and may be on or off the shoulder, so expose beautiful shoulders but cover them up if they are angular.

What to avoid
Avoid the V-line if you are small busted, as it may draw attention to this.

Wedding Dress with Sweetheart Neckline

Sweetheart Neckline

This is probably second-most popular after a straight strapeless.

See our Sweetheart Neckline Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
This is a pretty and romantic neckline, forming a natural heart shape and giving you a sweet and innocent look.  It also works with larger busts as a sexier style, showing a hint of cleavage.

What to avoid
The Sweetheart style exposes a central panel of neck, so if this is not your best feature, you may want to look at alternatives such as a halterneck.  Alternatively, a Sweetheart can lend you the romantic look you seek, with a pretty item of jewellery as an accessory to improve the look of your neck.

Wedding Dress with dipped neckline

Dipped Neckline

With a shaped curve but not so low cut as the sweetheart. Can be shallow or deep and is good to hide fleshy underarms if high cut.

See our Dipped Neckline Wedding Dresses

Perfect fit
Flattering to any bust size; bigger girls can enjoy a low cut without showing too much cleavage  providing that it is not too tight, and smaller busts are flattered by the curved shape.

What to avoid
Boobs spilling out of the top as you can end up with a "double bust" effect, but otherwise a good all rounder.

Shape Styles    Sleeve Styles   Neckline Styles   Stylomatic   Veils Guide