How to Choose a Wedding Dress by Your Body Type

Image of woman wearing a wedding dress.

Short or tall, brides come in so many different body shapes and sizes, so choosing a wedding dress by your body type is a great way to find an ultra-flattering look for your big day! With thousands of wedding dress style combinations just waiting to be explored, narrowing down those options to styles that typically suit your body type can make your shopping experience that much easier and more enjoyable. That’s where Avery Austin comes in! Experts in all things bridal, we’re ready to share all we know about matching up brides with wedding dresses by their body shapes and height. Whether you’re wondering what kind of wedding dress is slimming, which wedding dresses are best for tall and short brides, or what wedding dress style is best for a rectangle (or other) body shape, here you can find the answers to these questions and more! Let’s start by figuring out which body types best describe you.

What Are the Common Body Types?

The most common body types are described as hourglass, apple (or oval), rectangle, inverted triangle, and pear (or triangle) shaped. Read on to see how each of these wedding dress body shapes are defined.

  • Hourglass: This body type has about the same bust and hip width but a smaller waist.
  • Apple/Oval: This body shape has about the same bust and hip width but a larger waist.
  • Rectangle: This body type features about the same measurement for the bust, waist and hips.
  • Inverted Triangle: For this body shape, the bust is the widest measurement, followed by the waist, then hips.
  • Pear/Triangle: For this body type, the hips are the widest measurement, followed by the waist, then the bust.

While many brides fall into one of the common body types listed above, it’s not uncommon to feel a little in between certain body shapes since it’s not a “one size fits all” sort of thing. Not to worry! Simply check out the wedding dress style suggestions below for each of the body types you think might describe you and try some options from each category. Then you can decide which ones are the most flattering for you!

Best Wedding Dress Styles by Body Type

Once you have a pretty good idea of which body types are your best match, it’s time to check out some style suggestions that could suit you!

  • Hourglass: If you want to flaunt your curves, go for fitted styles, like mermaid wedding dresses. Prefer to soften the curvy look? Believe it or not, ball gowns are the way to go! Your hip area won’t be so strongly defined as it would be in a fitted style, but your smallest waistline will be beautifully accentuated. When it comes to necklines, consider a sweetheart or plunging neckline to maintain the balanced hourglass shape, but avoid cowl or high-neck styles that could create a very top-heavy look.
  • Apple/Oval: Go for an A-line wedding dress with an empire waistline. This style provides a flared skirt that is forgiving around the natural waistline but still provides a flattering, curvy, and balanced shape. In general, you’ll want to avoid styles that draw attention to the waistline, especially pleated or ruched designs. A bridal dress with embellishments along the bustline can help draw eyes up, keeping focus away from the waist.
  • Rectangle: If you’re looking to visually create some curves, an A-line or ball gown wedding dress can do the trick! You can also create a balanced curvy look by adding volume near the bust through off-the-shoulder sleeves, which will balance out the poofy ball gown skirt. If you’re not a fan of ball gowns, ruching in the bust and hip area can add dimension too. When it comes to the neckline, think round and asymmetrical, not boxy or square, to keep the curvy look. Prefer to emphasize your natural shape? Go for sheath styles that loosely flow over your figure without adding any extra bulk.
  • Inverted Triangle: Princess-style wedding dresses or ball gowns are great for this body type! The defined waist and voluminous skirt provides balance with the curvy bustline. Skip strapless, halter, or off-the-shoulder necklines that can make your silhouette look even more top-heavy. On the other hand, a v-neckline does a great job of drawing the eyes down for visual balance, and full straps or sleeves can do wonders to minimize the look of broad shoulders.
  • Pear/Triangle: If you’re hoping to disguise a bottom-heavy silhouette, A-line wedding dress styles with flowy skirts can help. To show off your natural body shape, wear a mermaid wedding dress that emphasizes the curvy hips. You can add visual balance to your figure by choosing a style with sleeves, off-the-shoulder straps, or a cowl neckline. Embellishments, ruching, and ruffles near the bustline can also do the trick.

If you’re looking for more information on shopping plus-size dresses by body type, be sure to check out Avery Austin’s blog on tips for buying a flattering plus-size wedding gown. There you’ll find some additional great suggestions for wedding dress styles that are naturally flattering for plus-size brides. Pair that up with the body type suggestions above and you’re sure to find your dream gown in no time!

Best Wedding Dress Styles by Height

While shopping for wedding dresses by body type can help a lot, you’ll also want to take into account your height when choosing your style. For example, you may like some of the suggestions for the inverted triangle body shape, but if you’re in need of petite wedding dresses, body type suggestions might lead you to some styles that could overwhelm a short frame! Let’s look at some suggestions for wedding dresses for short and tall brides, then you can start blending the body type and height ideas together for a flattering fit.

  • Wedding Dresses for Short Brides: Generally, you want to go for styles that make you appear longer (or at least don’t make you seem shorter). A high neckline is one way to add visual length because of the way it draws the eyes up. Mermaid or drop-waist wedding dresses have longer waistlines that give the illusion of height. For petite brides, sheath or column wedding gowns provide sleek silhouettes and minimal fabric, so you get the visual height but won’t be overwhelmed by excessive fabric layers. You also need to take dress length into account as a short bride. While hemming is almost always a guarantee, it is possible to minimize the amount of hemming you might need! It’s always worth asking if petite lengths are available. At Avery Austin, every wedding dress style offers customizable length options (petite, standard, or tall), so you can choose a hollow-to-hem measurement that best suits you! Shop all of the wedding dresses here to find a look you love at a length you can love too.
  • Wedding Dresses for Tall Brides: Celebrate your height with a gorgeous ball gown or A-line wedding dress! The beautiful balance between the fitted bodice and voluminous skirt is emphasized by a tall silhouette. If you really want to highlight your height and long legs, consider a style with a side slit. If bust support is not a concern, consider a strapless or off-the-shoulder wedding dress that will gorgeously display the décolletage without adding any visual length. One of the biggest challenges when it comes to finding wedding dresses for tall brides is the dress length. If the style is too short, chances are it can’t be altered to let out enough length, and adding length might be impossible depending on the style and fabric involved. It’s always worth asking if longer lengths are available for any styles you love. At Avery Austin, all wedding dresses have customizable hollow-to-hem measurements (petite, standard, or tall), so you can choose a dress length that works best for you! Shop the Avery Austin wedding dress collection and fall for styles you can love without fear of length disappointment.

Now you know some of the best wedding dresses by body type, as well as how to shop for wedding dresses for tall and short women. Make yourself a list of a few wedding dress styles by body shape and height that you think would suit you (bonus if there’s overlap between the categories!). Use this list as a starting point when you attend your first wedding dress fitting or set up your Try at Home box through Avery Austin’s Try at Home Program. Keep in mind that it’s only a guide for flattering styles. If you find other dress features and silhouettes more appealing, don’t hesitate to try! Afterall, every bride has her own personal style preferences no matter which wedding dresses are recommended for her body type. Trust your gut and your chosen dress squad!