Dress Styles explained

Carolina Herrera - Spring 2013

Dress Styles

Before setting foot in a bridal shop it is often helpful for you to learn about the different dress styles and what styles suit your body type. This will help guide through typically what the Bridal consultant will discuss with you.

Ball Gowns

Often thought of as the fairy tail or Cinderella dress. This style has a fitted bodice with a full skirt, often made of tulle and gathered from the waist. These skirts are usually worn with tulle or hoops underneath. With the correct bodice style the ball gown style is said to suit most body shapes, as it disguises the body from the waist and hips down. If you are after a big fairytale gown then this style is for you.


A-Line/princess line

This style is the most popular style for brides as it suits all body types. This style is characterised by a fitted bodice shape with an A-line skirt that hugs the waist and continues out and down. The A-line skirt can can be quiet narrow or wide enough to require a hoop underskirt. This design is flattering to all body shapes as it emphasises the waist and skims the hips, but it must be remembered if you have large hips you will need to have a wide base to your skirt.


Mermaid dress

This style is tightly fitted to the body and flares out from the knee or mid thigh. It is quite figure hugging and suits girls with an hourglass figure. Be careful with this style as it will emphasise larger hips and bigger bottoms. When purchasing a mermaid style dress always ensure that you can sit down in it before you purchase it.


Empire Line

The empire line gown usually has an under bust seam or detailing and a skirt that falls in a straight line past the waits and hips to the ground. It is often seen in chiffon but can be made from a range of fabrics. This style is perfect for girls who have a broad waist and a small bust but can emphasise a large bust.


Column Dress

This style of gown often doesn't have a lot of formal structure and is usually characterised by a straight skirt. The bodice is normally fitted and the skirt naturally falls from the waist or hips downwards. This skirt can either be quiet fitted or very soft and flowing. This style can be flattering to your curves but can often emphasis fuller hips.


Long or Three quarter Sleeves

Sleeves can be offered as a part of your dress or as a separate jacket or bolero. Sleeves are perfect for ladies with larger arms, square shoulders and are perfect for that colder weather.


Short or wide Sleeves

Short sleeves come in varying lengths and can help to hide shoulders and allow thick supportive bra straps to be hidden.


Shoe String or Spaghetti Straps

These very thin straps can add emphasis to nice shoulders and neck and minimise big shoulders. If you are large busted choose thicker straps as shoe-string straps may leave red marks and will not hide bra straps.



This style is very popular at the moment. Strapless necklines are perfect for those who have medium busts and look great when dressed up with amazing jewellery. This style is often not suited large busted girls who need support as bra straps cannot be worn with this style.


Halter Neckline

This style has straps leading from the neckline and around the back of the neck. Halter necks look great on girls with nice shoulders but can often over emphasise broad shoulders. Halter necks can sometimes accentuate larger busts but does offer some support. This style comes in a range of variations and strap thicknesses.


V Neckline

A V-neckline is great for flaunting that cleavage and great jewellery. This style looks great on larger busts and nice cleavage. The depth of the V may vary, allowing you to show as little or as much as you like.


Sweet Heart Neckline

This neckline almost creates the top of a heart on the neckline. This style can work with a range of bust sizes, by creating a hint of cleavage on larger busted women or creating the illusion of fuller breasts on smaller busted women.


- Courtesy: Halie Elliott

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