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Gown shapes

Gown shapes are as diverse as brides themselves. A multitude of options balances unique contours for the short, tall, lean or curvy. With a goal of having guests exclaim over how marvelous you look, begin in the gown shop. Try on gowns with someone positively objective. A bride-to-be should bring favorite ideas plus an open mind, so a professional bridal consultant can help match an attractive, becoming style. Snap pictures and take notes for comparisons. Using these five body shapes, a bride can build a base to enhance her look and structure her comfort. Each design complements her silhouette, but other shapes also line up to suggest a gown style that will gather never-ending compliments for the bride.


Hips, and perhaps thighs, are wider than the shoulders. An A-line gown highlights the indented natural waist so any added detail, such as a studded waistband or softly flowing sash, accents the top and lets the skirt flow with graceful ease. A V-neck frames the face and simple vertical, rather than horizontal, lines shape curves into an hourglass for the eye to absorb.


A defined waist sits between hips and shoulders similar in size. This figure delights in easy enhancement. Glamorize an indented waist and let natural curves contour the figure-hugging silhouette. A mermaid gown delights in this positive figure; a ball gown or sheath style may navigate the day with ease. All necklines work. Fluffy tulle or even a double layer of feminine favorites poufs as it flares into a ball gown from a cinched natural waistline or into a fit-and-flare style from an elongated central line.


Fuller chest, broader shoulders and less-defined waist are countered by more slender thighs. An empire waist eases lower flow, but a cinched waist slenderizes the silhouette and balances proportion. For an attention grabber, a deep, plunging neckline draws attention away from a wide horizontal shoulder line and flatters the bustline. A wide ribbon at the waist, a slightly dropped waist, asymmetrical pleating or ruching creates new focus in defining the waist.


Shoulders are wider than hips. An off-shoulder drape minimizes a generous bustline. A scoop neckline also outlines a lovely neck. Popular modesty and illusion pieces create balance with a slimmer bodice so the eye moves down neck-to-knee embellishment. A ball gown with full skirt encourages flow, but a confident bride’s short gown or high-low skirt exudes fun with alluring attention to shapely legs and spectacular shoes.


A straight line extends from shoulders to waist to hips. Exult in a long, lean line or create new roundness geometrically with an A-line, a flirtatious and frothy skirt or an elevated empire waist for more skirt flow. Explore looks. A nipped waist provides high and low canvases for artistic uniqueness. Off-the-shoulder styles widen the top. Illusion pieces with embroidered lace play peekaboo with what may or may not be hiding under sheer fabric. Softly flowing fabric designs new curves. A slit elongates a tall bride’s legs and a contrasting sash trims a wide middle.