Wedding Dress Shape Guide

One of the biggest dilemmas for any Bride can be choosing a wedding dress shape that is flattering to their body type. So often we hear of Brides who were convinced about the shape of dress they wanted for their big day, only to try said dress on and find the fit disappointing. We believe that you choose the dress to fit your true self, not in adjusting your true self to fit the ideal dress!

Dress shapes tend to fall into one of seven different categories. Here is a brief guide to these categories and the features of each:


Named, quite simply, after the letter the dress shape emulates, the A-line dress is the elegant go-to for most females. Whilst the top hugs the bosom and waist, the skirt flares out, skimming the hips and silhouetting anything from the waist down. Although a simple shape, designs can vary in texture and flamboyancy.

Column & Sheath

Popular with the modern-day bride, the Column or Sheath dress is perhaps for the more bodily reassured. Depending on the fabric, this shape hides nothing, but rather trails the exact shape of your body. The sheath dress specifically tends to contain more layers. See BHLDN collection of sheath dresses. Closer to home is The Green Wedding Company in Macclesfield, who have a wonderful selection of bohemian sheath dresses.


Reminiscent of a Jane Austen novel, empire line describes where the seam sits before the skirt of the dress descends, in this case right beneath the breast. But Empire line needn’t mean ‘Victorian’. See these examples of Grecian inspired dresses within Martin McCrea‘s collection.


It does what it says on the tin! Short dresses certainly have an element of informality about them, but if you have the pins for it, why not! We love the selection in Monique Huillier‘s 2016 collection.


Or more fondly known as the ‘Meringue’ dress! The ballgown wedding dress is epitomised by the BIG skirt, normally extenuated with a tulle underskirt, sometimes taffeta. Skirts can vary from a fixed shape, to variations in texture and fabric.


Named as such due to the flare at the end of the skirt, the trumpet dress is lesser seen on the current catwalks and is perhaps a more daring shape to consider. The dress needs to hug from shoulder to shin before it’s flare, meaning the final result is a curvaceous silhouette.


Last but not least is the Mermaid or ‘Fishtail’ dress, whose puddle like train and more subtle fanning of the skirt is reminiscent of a mermaid’s tail. This is the more elegant interpretation of the trumpet dress and needn’t be figure hugging throughout. This shape is surprisingly versatile and fluid, suiting a plethora of shapes and sizes of women.