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Bridal Club Magazine

Finding The Wedding Dress Style That Is Right For Your Body Type

You may or may not be aware of the pro's and con's of your own figure, but you can be rest assured that there is a wedding dress style designed to flatter 'real women's' figures and make the most of what you've got.

Look at yourself in the mirror: Do you have a strong collarbone, a slender neck, a smooth upper chest, and shoulders that are more or less horizontal? If so, you're a great candidate for necklines that display your uppermost body, such as the scoop, Sabrina, square, strapless, halter, and portrait.

On the other hand, if your shoulders descend from your neckline in a notable slope; your chest is disproportionately narrow or concave in shape; the ribs below your collarbone are visible; or you have a plump or thin neck, you should probably downplay these areas with the help of bateau, jewel, and illusion necklines.

Now, check out your back. If your posture is good, your skin is relatively clear, and you like what you see, then it's okay for you to wear a back-exposing dress.

If you want to add more height to your look - go for long, uninterrupted lines.  If you don't feel comfortable in 'form-fitting' options, opt for an A-line, princess or Empire-cut dress.

High necklines and hair also add length, but if you are slightly wider in the hips than you would like - they could also add width.

Fitted waists with full skirts can hinder vertically challenged women and making them even more so.  There is a way to combat this if you have your heart set on it - choose a basque-waisted bodice that ends in a 'v' below your tummy line and wear the highest heels you can stand.

Don't wear the dress down with too much detail - frills and bits and bobs of this and that should be limited to the chest and shoulder areas.

Have you thought about a dress that is tea length, street length or even mini?  Some delicate boned brides overwhelm themselves with the full traditional gown.  How about a sweet little slip dress that skims the top of your knees or stylish suit with a waist-length jacket?

If you are blessed with tall genes and want to come down to earth a bit, try a low-cut or strapless gown with a full skirt.

Have a look at horizontal details, such as neckbands, necklaces, panels around the bust or waist, belted or sashed waistlines and skirts with layers of varying lengths.

If you have gorgeous defined shoulders along with your tall genes, you can pull-off all halter-top styles, especially if they are attached at the waist.

Avoid the elongating designs, such as Empire and dropped waists.  Also the sheath-type gowns with uninterrupted lines from top to bottom.

Experiment with different skirt lengths, including ankle and tea-length.

Buxom beauties needn't despair. Off-the-shoulder, Sweetheart, Queen Anne, scoop, strapless, square-cut or v-shaped necklines flatter medium to large busts without making you top heavy, just keep any decoration on here to an absolute minimum.  Feel free to display cleavage - or not.

Definitely steer away from high, closed necklines such as the jewel, bateau or wedding collar.  These can make your breasts too low in proportion to your body.

Dress styles that make breast support a nightmare include a portrait neckline, unstructured tank bodices, halters and back-less styles. No, no, NO!

You can diminish a large bustline by adding more width to your lower body with wide or dramatic skirts - don't forget the big hair.

Keep your neck free of conspicuous jewellery, such as chokers.

If you need some 'enhancement' in the bustline ….. look at Sabrina, bateau or jewel necklines and bodices that are enhanced by overlays, beadwork and other fancy delights.

Slim styles such as the sheath or mermaid, are kind to narrow rib cages.

'Crumb-catchers' - a decorative band of fabric (not unlike a cummerbund) that attaches to the upper bodice of your dress, these can add 'more'.
Necklines that are designed to show cleavage but can't be worn with a push-up bra or padded inserts should be crossed off your list.

Most medium-busted women can feel confident wearing Scoop, off-shoulder, Empire, V-neck, back less, strapless, halter, Bertha collar, portrait, and square-cut necklines.

Pear shaped? Try this flattering remedy - Combine a decorative neckline and shoulder area with a form-fitting bodice and a full or flared skirt.
Put some meat on those narrow shoulders - with puffy-sleeve styles such as the Juliet, leg-o'-mutton, bishop, or pouf.

Larger bustline and smaller hips? (inverted pear shape) Try a princess, A-line, or Empire style that is narrow at the shoulders and bust and gradually flares out to a wider hemline. Also balance proportions by choosing a structured bodice and a voluminous skirt, with little or no decorations above the waist.

If your bust, waist, and hips are virtually the same width? Look for full or flared skirts paired with jewel or bateau necklines; fluffy shoulders and/or sleeves; A-line or Empire styles with trains; crumb catcher bustlines; or two-piece ensembles with jackets that end at the lower hip.
Stay away from dress styles that emphasise or define the waistline area.

For hourglass figures (full hips and bust with a small waist) or semi-hour-glass figures (medium bust and hips with a smallish waist):
Try ball gown styles with Basque or natural-waist bodice, or virtually any shape of gown with scoop, sweetheart, off-shoulder, V-neck, square, or strapless necklines. Look for sheaths or mermaid gowns or halter-top and/or back-less styles.

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