With so many styles available to brides, choosing a wedding dress can be overwhelming! Luckily, selecting a style that compliments your figure can help you to narrow down your choices and choose something that will look amazing on you. There are many flattering dress styles available for your body type whether you are full-figured, slim, busty, flat-chested, short, or tall. Try on dresses in styles that are more likely to work with your best features and look for extra details to get the most flattering look possible.

METHOD 1 - Complimenting Your Waist, Hips, and Thighs

1 Select a silhouette that hugs your curves if you want to show them off. 

A dress that is snug under your bust and that hugs your waist, hips, and thighs will emphasize them. If you have an hourglass figure and you’d like a dress that makes you look and feel sexy, this might be a great option for you. Some dress styles that may help you achieve a curvier look include:

  • Dropped waist

  • Fitted sheath

  • Mermaid

  • Trumpet


2 Opt for a high, fitted waist and long, loose skirt to disguise a full waist. 


If you are apple-shaped or if you just want to downplay your stomach, then look for dresses that taper in at the narrowest part of your waist and then flare out over the rest of your stomach, hips, and thighs. Avoid anything with pleats around the waist as this can make your stomach appear larger. Some good options include:

  • A-line

  • Sheath

  • Empire waist

  • Ball gown

Tip: Ensure that the skirt skims or lightly hugs your figure if you opt for a sheath, A-line, or empire waist. If the skirt is too loose it may make you appear bigger.


3 Go with an A-line skirt to disguise wider hips and thighs. 


If you’re not sure what might work best for your body, try on a few A-line dresses. An A-line skirt dress is a flattering option for any figure. This is also a great option if you are pear-shaped, meaning that you carry most of your weight in your hips and thighs.


4 Look for a dress with diagonal draping if you’re pear-shaped. 


This style is another great option to draw attention away from fuller hips and thighs. Look for dresses with built in details, such as a sash or draped fabric over one side of the skirt.

  • You might also like this style if you want a Grecian goddess-like dress. The draping provides that effect.


5 Avoid trumpet and mermaid-style dresses if you’re apple-shaped. 


These styles taper in at the natural waist, are fitted through the waist, hips, and thighs, and then flare out around the knees. They emphasize every curve, so your waist will seem larger in a dress of this style. Steer clear of these types of dresses if your stomach is your largest feature.

  • Mermaid-style dresses are also constricting, so this may not be the best option for dancing.


6 Try a dress that cinches in at the waist if you have a straight figure. 


Any dress that will be snug around your waist is a great option for straighter figures. These types of dresses will help to emphasize the curves that you have and create the illusion of more curves. Some styles to try if you have a straight, slim figure include:

  • Ball gown

  • Dropped waist

  • Mermaid

  • Trumpet


METHOD 2 - Enhancing Your Bust

1 Ensure that your gown is well-structured if you have a large bust. 


Choose a dress with sleeves or wide straps to provide extra support for a fuller bust. Opt for a bodice that is structured as well, such as with boning or thicker fabric, so that it will support your bust.

  • Going strapless is possible if you have a larger bust. Just pick a dress with a built-in corset or boning to help keep your dress from slipping down.


2 Go with a neckline that shows some cleavage if you’re busty. 


A curved neckline will frame your face and collarbone and make your bust area a supporting feature. Avoid strapless gowns with straight horizontal necklines as well as fabrics with sheen and ruching; they will make you appear heavier up top.

  • Scoopneck

  • Sweetheart

  • V-neck


3 Opt for shiny fabrics and ruching to make your bust appear bigger. 


If your chest is on the smaller side, try on dresses that have lots of details around the bust. Shiny fabrics, ruching, beading, sequins, and other elements can all help to create the appearance of a fuller bust. If you don’t want a dress with too many details, at least opt for a shiny fabric, such as:

  • Organza

  • Satin

  • Silk

Tip: A padded halter top style dress can also help to create the appearance of a larger bust.


4 Try a sweetheart, deep-V, or high neckline if your chest is small. 


These necklines are especially flattering for brides with smaller busts. The sweetheart neckline will create the illusion of a larger bust and cleavage, while a deep-V or high neckline pulls attention away from your bust, drawing the eye up or down.

  • Look for a sweetheart, deep-V, or high neck dress that also has embellishments around the neckline for extra enhancement.


5 Choose an off-the-shoulder neckline to flatter your chest. 


This is a great option if you want something romantic or sexy. In lieu of cleavage, you can show off your neck, shoulders and upper back. The cut of this type of neckline will also make your chest appear larger.

  • Try to find an off-the-shoulder dress that has ruffles around the neckline as well. This can also help to enhance your bust even more.


METHOD 3 - Choosing a Dress for Your Height

1 Opt for a form-fitting silhouette with a long skirt if you want to look taller. 


If you’re petite, choosing a dress that hugs your body can help to make you seem taller. If you don’t want something too form-fitting, at least opt for a dress that is fitted at the waist with a long flowing skirt. Some good options for petite body types include:

  • A-line

  • Sheath

  • Mermaid

  • Trumpet

  • Empire waist

EXPERT TIP - "If you're petite, try wearing an A-frame dress with a V-neck or sweetheart neckline. If you're tall, you'll look lovely in a ballgown."


2 Choose an A-symmetrical sleeve to add height. 


Playing with angles can also help to make you seem taller. Look for dresses that only have one sleeve or that have asymmetrical details on the bodice. These types of dresses will draw the eye up and make you seem taller.

  • For example, you could try on dresses with 1 sleeve or strap, or dresses that have a focal point on one side of the bodice, such as a flower, bow, or beading detail.


3 Stick with straight lines and fewer embellishments if you’re petite. 


This will help to add height and make you appear taller. Try to avoid dresses with lots of ruffles and excess fabric as this can overwhelm your body and make you appear smaller. However, if you find a dress in this style that you love, it’s your special day, so go for it!

  • For example, you might opt for a simple sheath dress with a lightweight organza overlay or a simple satin wedding dress.


4 Opt for a simple silhouette that fits you well if you’re tall. 


Simple silhouettes compliment taller figures, which can be overwhelmed by dresses with too many details. Gravitate towards dresses with long, clean lines and few details. Make sure that the dress fits properly as well. For example, if you want a floor-length gown, ensure that it actually goes to the floor. If you want long sleeves, ensure that they go past your wrists. Some silhouettes you might try include:

  • Sheath

  • A-line

  • Empire waist

  • Dropped waist

  • Ball gown


Frequently asked questions

I have small shoulders, am very busty, and five feet tall. Any ideas?

A mermaid dress would be perfect for you. A high slit would also look great.

I am petite with a short bust line. Is a mermaid dress ok?

Yes. That could look very nice on that body type.

I have a small bust and waist, but a big rear end. My hips are a bit wide. What type of dress should I get?

Try on a mermaid dress. It will complement your figure

How do I choose a wedding dress if I am very short and slim with a large bust?

A-line is the best option, but be careful with sweetheart necklines, as your "gals" can pop out if you bend over too far.

How do I pick a wedding dress when I have a big butt and I'm short?

A mermaid style dress would probably look good on you, but you will have to go to the store and try some things on to see for sure.

I am 4'11, 200 lbs and big hips - what style is best for me?

Just go dress shopping and try on different styles until you find something you like.

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