Wedding Gowns 101 - Styles & Silhouettes

 Wedding Dress Silhouettes

We all have different body types, which is why it's so important to begin the wedding dress shopping process by understanding the different gown silhouettes/styles and for which body types they work best. Here’s a quick breakdown the various wedding gown silhouettes!


Ballgown: The “fairy tale, princess” dress, with a fitted bodice that comes in at the waist and then flares out to a full skirt with lots of volume. A ball gown’s skirt can come in various levels of fullness—a slimmer-shaped dress with less fullness is great for subtlety emphasizing curves, while a cupcake shaped skirt is playful and attention-grabbing. 

David Tutera Ballgown
David Tutera #214200
Mori Lee Ballgown
Mori Lee #2805
Sophia Tolli Ballgown
Sophia Tolli #Y11550


Dropped Waist: Features a waistline below the natural waist and can extend a few inches to the mid-hip. Elongates the torso.  

David Tutera Dropped Waist
David Tutera #115228
Mori Lee Dropped Waist
Mori Lee #2811
David Tutera Dropped Waist
David Tutera #115243


Basque Waist: Natural at the hip and dips into a “v” or “u” shape. Elongates the torso and minimizes waistline. 

Sincerity Basque Waist
Sincerity #3765
Mori Lee Blu Basque Waist
Mori Lee #5216
Mori Lee Voyage Basque Waist
Mori Lee Voyage #6838


A-Line: Classic silhouette is the A-line, which is fitted through the bodice and waist, then flares from the waist and flows to the hemline; resembling the outline of an uppercase "A." Like a ball gown, the skirt of the A-line silhouette comes in various degrees of fullness. 

Mori Lee A-line
Mori Lee #2783
Sincerity A-line
Sincerity #3879
Sophia Tolli A-line
Sophia Tolli #Y11626


Modified/Slim A-Line: Is a modernized version of the A-line gown. The skirt of a modified A-line dress fits closer to the body than a traditional A-line. Fitted on the bodice and hips and gradually flares to the hem, forming a soft “A” shape. 

Sincerity Slim A-line
Sincerity #3933
Mori Lee Blu Slim A-line
Mori Lee Blu #5361
Sophia Tolli Slim A-line
Sophia Tolli #Y21656


Trumpet: Fitted through the body until mid-thigh before flaring out.

David Tutera Trumpet
David Tutera #116224
Mori Lee Trumpet
Mori Lee #2814
Mori Lee Trumpet
Mori Lee #2879


Mermaid: Fitted on the body from the chest to the knee or below, then flares out. 

David Tutera Mermaid
David Tutera #216253
Mori Lee Mermaid
Mori Lee #2623
Mori Lee Mermaid
Mori Lee #2893


Sheath/Column: Sleek, body-skimming shape that flows straight down from the neckline to the hem. It’s a surprisingly versatile silhouette, and can give a wide range of effects, from sexy and modern, to soft and vintage. 

Mori Lee Sheath
Mori Lee #2809
Sincerity Sheath
Sincerity #3885
Sophia Tolli Sheath
Sophia Tolli #Y11652


Fit & Flare: Often similar to the Trumpet. The term "fit and flare" is often used (or mis-used, as the case may be) to describe any silhouette with a fitted bodice and a flared skirt. silhouette.  However, the most accurate use of the term "fit and flare," is to describe a dress that closely hugs the body through the bodice until just below the hip and then flares out.  

David Tutera Fit and Flare
David Tutera #116210
Mori Lee Fit and Flare
Mori Lee #2822
Sophia Tolli Fit and Flare
Sophia Tolli #Y11638


Empire: Empire style is defined by the raised waistline which sits just below the bust from which the skirt flows down to the hem. The tight bodice flatters any bustline and the fluidity of the skirt lengthens the body, making any bride look taller and leaner. 

Enchanting Empire
Enchanting #116139
Enchanting Empire
Enchanting #215108
Mori Lee Voyage Empire
Mori Lee Voyage #6792


Tea-Length: The skirt of a tea length dress has a hemline between the ankle and the knee. A tea length is great for a bride looking to defy tradition, with a quirky flair, and works with about any body type.  

David Tutera Tea-Length
David Tutera #116136
Sincerity Tea-Length
Sincerity 3875
Mori Lee Voyage Tea-Length
Mori Lee Voyage #6840


Short: The short dress with a hemline above the knee is the ultimate statement for a stylish, modern bride. Though short dresses can often come off as more casual and are great for elopements, they can also be very elegant and formal depending on the level of detailing. Short dresses work best for a bride looking to show off a great pair of legs. 

Enchanting Short
Enchanting #116122
Enchanting Short
Enchanting #215104
Enchanting Short
Enchanting #215112