Skip to content

Silhouette for style and body shapes

April 4, 2011

Should I look tall and elegant? Or sweet and princessy? Or elude some old Hollywood glamour in the tight smoking hot gown? This is where silhouette comes in.

Silhouette determines the style of your gown and finding the right style flatters your body shape. Of course what is essential here is to know what body shape you belong to in order to find the best silhouette to accentuate and flatter your body shape. Next it will be what kind of image you want to portray. This will be up to your individual liking and character. For example,  I like to skip around when I am happy. I am sure I will be over the moon on my actual day so I have decided my gown will be something light and floaty to enable me to skip around without a heavy train or a can-can to drag me down in my mad escapade.

Below are links that I find useful to help you understand your body shape. Take some time to read this if you are unsure of your body type.

Here are some silhouettes for your reference:

Ball gown design


  • These accentuate the feminine hourglass shape, with a narrow fitted waist and full flowing skirt. Think Cinderella.
  • The waistlines may also be v-shaped, natural, and slightly higher than the natural waist line of lower on the hip.
  • Definitely the design that fulfill your desire to be a princess. Good for you evening first march in for a “oomphh” effect.


  • This gown silhouette is best suited to a tall woman. especially good at hiding large hips. But it is also very flattering to brides with narrow hips, as it can give you more of a curvy look.
  • big boobs, the ball gown style will help create the hourglass look since the waistline is emphasized due to the fitted bustline and natural, dropped or basque waistline

To avoid

  • On a short woman, the skirt often doesn’t have enough length to look elegant and tends to make her look rounded.
  • Avoid the Full Skirt if you are not full busted, as it will make your bust look smaller

A line Gown (Princess): The most versatile among all silhouettes


  • fitted around the bodice as it flares out into an “A” shape as it falls to the ground
  • It hugs the waist, so it creates a slimmer waistline and flatters the bust
  • Modified A-lines provide a tighter fit for a sexier look
  • Can be clean cut, elegant or extravaggant


  • All body types, especially good for disguising heavy bottom figure
  • Heavy bottoms the larger your hips, the wider the base of the skirt will be.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • A heavy bust will need some structure – often this support is already built-in to the bodice, but if not then boned corset is a must.

Mermaid dress/ Fishtail: Current most trendy design favoured by designers


  • Also known as hourglass or figure-hugging, the mermaid shape is tightly fitted to the body and flares out from mid thigh or knee.
  • This emphasizes the figure and accentuates the curves of the back and hips.
  • Sexy to the maximum as it shows off all your curves. Sleek and fashionable


  • ideal for curvy girls with balanced hip and bust measurements – this dress will bring out the Marilyn Monroe in you.
  • slim to medium build and bust


  • straight up and down – athletic body shape
  • Apple shaped – round
  • Pear-shaped – Bottom heavy
  • If you have some bumps that you will like to hide, this is not the dress for you

Sheath/Column Dress: Also highly favoured design for now


  • 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.
  • follows the natural body curves from the shoulder to the hem.
  • Emphasize a long, clean look. Very elegant thought it tends to be more causal looking. Perfect for a garden or beach wedding.


  • The Column dress hugs the figure and looks great on tall, willowy women.
  • It will also work well on a short and lean figure as the design will have a body elongating effect on them
  • Soft sheaths for slender figures
  • Constructed sheaths for curvy brides.


  • Apple shaped – round
  • Pear-shaped – Bottom heavy
  • If you have some bumps that you will like to hide, this is not the dress for you

Empire Waist


  • The waistline starts just below the bust similar in look to a maternity 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.
  • The skirt is usually slender and graceful. Empire-waist gowns are some of the elegant, flattering styles.


  • It is suited to someone who has a small bust, because it brings the viewer’s eye toward the neckline
  • 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.


  • Because of the long lines, it will make Tall brides look taller
  • Avoid it also if you have a heavy bustline because it will make it appear bigger with the underbust detailing.

So, now after reading the different necklines and silhouette, I hope these help you to identify those styles that might be suitable for you. I already had what I want as my wedding gown in mind. Hope you too!

Credits (clockwise from left):

1st: Ian Stuart, Jillian Sposa, Enzoani, Christian Lacroix
2nd: Pronovias, Cymbelline for Hanae Mori, Enzoani, Megan, Lazaro
3rd: Bellantuono, Vera Wang, Ellis Bridal, Elihav Sasson
4th: Marchesa, Jillian Sposa, Amanda Wakeley, Vera Wang
5th: Pattis, Alena Goretska, Pronuptial Boheme, Matthew Williams, Vera Wang, The vintage wedding dress company

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2012 1:49 am

    Hi, for the Cinderella dresses, where did the dress at the top right come from? The one with the red and white chiffon? I really really really want to track it down for my wedding… any advice?

    • cleochang permalink*
      April 5, 2012 2:49 pm

      Hi There,

      The sources are all at the end of my blog entry. That gown in red and white will be from Jillian Sposa. Good luck hunting your dream gown 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: