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A Guide to Dress Silhouette

When choosing your dream Formal Dress, it's easy to get stuck on the details. You love the beads, the embroidery flowers, the lace panels, etc, but stop, take a step back and look at the overall shape. Is it really the best silhouette for you? Does the skirt part of the dress work with the top part of the dress? Does it flatter your silhouette or make certain areas of your body look bigger/smaller? You see, the overall shape of the dress can make a big difference to how you'll look on your big day. Here's a quick guide on the most common dress silhouette so you can get an idea of what's available and what is best for your body shape.

A-Line A-Line

As the name suggests, the A-line dress shape flares out from the waist or hip into the shape of an A. It's usually quite a structured, stiff style - so it's great in stiffer fabrics rather than floaty silk and chiffon. It's also a great style for pear shape as it hides and minimizes big buns and wide hips.

Style tip: If you're going for an A-line style, choose your top half carefully, as a plain style on top with an A-line skirt can make you look flat-chested. Also, if you’re short, be careful of a floor length A-line skirt as it could make you look shorter.

Ball Gown Ball Gown

This is your typical Formal Dress shape - the stuff of fairytales! It has a fitted bodice, a natural waistline ( i.e. sits on your waist or a bit lower ) and a full, floor-length skirt.

Style tip: The ball gown shape is great if you want to add curves and create a fuller bust.

Column / Sheath Column / Sheath

A really stylish cut. As the name suggests, the basic shape is like a column, so it goes straight up and down and gently nips in to fit the body. It's a very versatile dress shape that with the right styling can suit any body shape.

Style tip: If you're going for a column Formal Dress shape, go for all out glamour with your accessories.

Empire Empire

A soft, romantic dress shape. The empire line dress is either fitted or gathered under the bust and then unstructured and falls from the bust line. This is a great shape for every woman and really good for showing off a cleavage - even if you don't think you have one! If you have a really big bust, go for a minimizing bra underneath.

Style tip: Consider your accessories and hairstyle carefully, these can set the style of the dress and make it vintage, modern or traditional.

Mermaid / Trumpet Mermaid / Trumpet

Many people will say that a mermaid style Formal Dress is just for really slim girl, well, we're here to tell you that that's not right! The mermaid style is one of the most elegant cuts and can be really flattering. Usually off the shoulder the dress is fitted from the bust down to around the knee where flares out like a fishtail. The key is to get the neckline right and make sure that the curve on the waist and hip is just right.

Style tip: As always great underwear is an absolute must, so a really good bra which lifts your boobs will do wonders for the mermaid shape dress.