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Quick links – Types of Dresses | Necklines

Try to have an idea in your mind of the bridal dress you are looking for to narrow down some possibilities. Even if you don’t feel like you have a complete vision yet, start with a little self analysis to know what kind of dress best suits your body shape. To help narrow down the type of silhouette, try on a few bridal dresses at a local store with one honest friend to comment on types which look the best.

Make sure your dress is comfortable and also consider the wedding venue. For example, for a beachside wedding, consider a simpler dress in lighter weight fabric. For a beautiful garden wedding, a consideration might be a flowing ankle-length organza dress or short dress with flowers.

Most importantly remember to choose a dress which reflects your preferences as well as sense of style for your special day.

Here are a few other simple Seamless Transitions guidelines:

Formal weddings – the dress tends to be a full floor length gown with a long or short train.

Semi-formal evening weddings – the dress tends to be a floor length gown or cocktail length gown.

Semi-formal daytime wedding – the chosen dress is usually a floor-length gown or cocktail-length dress.

Informal weddings – choose a simple floor length gown, cocktail-length, or sheath dress.

Trends in Dresses

There are no rules. It has become a matter of taste and personal choice. There is a standard allowance made for formality of your event, your personal style, and the location of the wedding ceremony and reception.

White and cream are not the exclusive colors for today’s brides. Brides today are wearing pastels, bold colors, or even short dresses or tea length dresses.

Half of today’s brides change into a party dress for the reception while others change into a going away dress before leaving the reception. Decide what works for you and your style preference.

Types of dresses

Ball Gown

Ball DressThis is the most traditional style of dress. The bodice is fitted with a voluminous skirt, petticoat, train and veil sometimes in multiple layers. Bodices come in many variants, from strapless, or corseted types, with sleeves or straps, or even just a one shoulder bodice.

Who should wear it – This style can help define the waistline especially for a fuller figure or hiding hips if you tend towards a pear shape. The corseted style can also work for a fuller bust placing the emphasis at the waist. This style works if you are tall or medium height.

Not ideal for brides with short waists and those who carry their weight up top. A very full ball gown may overwhelm a petite figure.


A-Line DressThis silhouette has a fitted bodice with a smooth, flared skirt with or without a train. Also called princess shape. The A-line is a pared down version of a ball gown. A-line skirts can still be full and circular, or just gently flare from the waist. Unlike the ball gown, the waist is not as defined. Lengths can be anything from floor sweeping with long trains to daring mini.

Who should wear it – This is the best universal style which can look fantastic on any figure. The synched in waist can help to define a shapely figure, and could also help elongate a petite frame. This style can help camouflage a pear-shaped figure. An A-Line style dress (same as princess shape), can give the illusion of added height and a slimmer silhouette. This silhouette can give the illusion of curves. Not ideal for brides with a thick waist.

Empire Line

Empire DressThe empire line is defined by a raised waistline cut just beneath the bust, often gathering a full dress, which drops to the floor to give an elongated silhouette. Usually the shape of the skirt falls into an A-line gown however, it can also be a sheath or mermaid style.

Who should wear it – The empire style is suitable from most physiques. The high waist elongates the body and hides lumps and bumps. It is ideal for those with a thick waist, a small bust, short legs with a long torso or a pear-shaped figure. It makes a natural for the mother to be.

Not ideal for brides with an hourglass shape.

Mermaid or Sheath

Sheath DressMermaid DressThis silhouette is typically figure- hugging making a sleek, sexy gown. The sheath gently adheres to the curves of the body and slightly flares at the knee. These dresses are most flattering to brides who are slimmer in the hip area. The mermaid style has a full circular panel attached around the knee level.

Who should wear it – You do not need to be tall to wear this bias cut dress but it flatters a slim or athletic figure best. If your figure is full, try this silhouette as an off-shoulder or sweetheart neckline.

Not ideal for brides which are small-busted, short-waisted, or pear-shaped because this silhouette tends to over-emphasize fuller tummies, hips, thighs or derrieres.

Basic Necklines


Boatneck Wedding Dress NecklineThis neckline extends straight across the shoulder with a slight curve at the front. It is a very sexy and femine neckline because it emphasizes the shoulders and collar bone. Most figures can wear this type of neckline. It is especially enhancing to the medium and full-busted woman. Not ideal for brides with broad shoulders or fuller arms.


Decolletage Wedding Dress NecklineThis is a deep, plunging neckline. Also known as the sweetheart neckline — which is actually shaped like the top half of the heart — is a wonderful choice for full-busted brides. This neckline is not ideal for a smaller bust line.


Halter Wedding Dress NecklineThis neckline is a scoop or v-neck in front with a fabric band wrapping around the back of the neck. It’s a great look with sleeveless designs. This neckline is very flattering to the bust line and taller woman over 5ft..7in. This neckline helps ‘bring in’ shoulders if the bride is broad-shouldered.


Jewel Wedding Dress NecklineA high, rounded neckline that sits at the base of the throat. It is also known as the “T-shirt neckline since it mirrors where a crew tee collar falls. This style is good for small busted brides since it gives the illusion of more weight at the chest.

This neckline is not ideal for full busted brides.

One Shoulder

One Shoulder Wedding Dress NecklineThe one shoulder can be on either side of the bride. It is often an ideal neckline for a bride that wants the look of a strapless but wants the support of straps. This style is good for small busted brides since it gives the illusion of more weight at the chest especially when this area has adornment.

This neckline is not ideal for full busted brides.


Scoop Wedding Dress NecklineA curved neckline that may be low in front and quite often, the scoop will continue on the back of the dress. The scoop neckline, is a classic style; good for just about any body shape. This neckline is not ideal for brides with narrow shoulders.


Square Wedding Dress NecklineThis neckline forms a half-square across the chest. This neckline is good for broad shoulders. This neckline is not ideal for brides with narrow shoulders.


Strapless Wedding Dress NecklineThis gown speaks for itself in essence, no straps. It is probably the most popular type of neckline for a wedding dress. There are different variations of this neckline which can be customized to your desires. This neckline is good to show off great shoulders and strong collarbones.
This neckline is not ideal for a smaller busted bride.