Get an overall feel for the shapes and soon a look will start to speak to you.  Just keep an open mind in case the shape you fall in love with doesn’t suit your body.

A-Line
This is a gown that has a fitted bodice down to the waist and then flares out from the high hip.  The overall look forms an “A” which is where it gets its name.  The wider the bottom of the gown the smaller it will make your waist look.  The bodices are well constructed so will give a lovely shape over the bust and waist.  A line gowns are made in panels so you have two main lines that run down the front of the gown.  These vertical lines are great for elongating the body.  These gowns suit nearly every body shape.

Ball gown  
The ballgown has a corset top, that stops at the waist or hip. Then the full volume of skirt flares out from the seam.  The ballgown will make your waist look tiny, and if you are pear shape it can hide those hips.  It is often described as the fairytale gown as it encapsulates the full traditional romantic look.  The advice if you are petite is often to stay away from this shape as it can swamp you, but today’s ball gowns have clean lines and are well constructed so this is not so much of an issue.

 

Empire Line
With this gown the bodice finishes just below the bust. The skirt flows from there, either gathered or tailored to your body.  The skirt can either be narrow or fuller, whatever suits the style of fabric.  Commonly made of chiffon which creates an ethereal look perfect for a beach or garden wedding.  Because the waist is raised it can elongate a petite bride and the styling will often enhance a lacking bust area.  If the construction has a full skirt then this style can cover hips that you think of as too full or legs that are too short.

Fit and Flare
Also known as mermaid, trumpet or fishtail, this gown is tight down to the knee or mid thigh.  It then flares out to create its dramatic look.  The latest fashion is for mermaids to be softer at the bottom creating more of a softer look.  The mermaid is definitely a wow style often lending a sexy edge to the bride.  It can really show off your curves, but with clever garment construction can also create some lovely curves as well.  This gown is great if, no matter what your size, you are fairly evenly proportioned.

Modified Mermaid
Can also be called a small aline, this gown is much like the mermaid, fit and flare gown, but it starts to widen much higher up, so on the thigh.  This is a really modern style that can be quite a relaxed look and really easy to wear.  Often a bride likes the a-line construction but without so much skirt.  this can be the perfect shape for you.  Or if you can’t quite carry off a fit and flare gown but want to have more interest at the bottom of the gown.

Sheath
The sheath is a gown that falls down the body, using softly draping fabric.  It is the right gown for a slim figure and is often styled for a tall bride in mind.  Because of the draping in many of these gowns it might not be for the faint hearted as it shows off every curve of the body.  But the addition of accessories (such as belts) can help to define a waist line giving some great shape.

Whatever shape you are drawn towards there are two key things to remember.
You have to try it on and see if it will work with your body type.  So many times brides are surprised by how they look in the different silhouettes.  


The second is that bridal garments are really well constructed and use layers of fabric to shape and contour your body.  The overall result can mean a bride feels more beautiful in her gown than in any other garment she has ever worn.