The Wedding Gown For Your Body Type

You are getting married. You are excited. You dream about looking beautiful as you walk down the aisle. It’s all about The Dress. But as you inspect your dream to see what you are wearing, it kind of fades away. What will you wear and how will you choose your wedding gown?

There are thousands of websites with many wedding dress designs. There are hundreds of bridal magazines full of thousands of wedding dresses. How do you choose?

The first thing to consider is your body shape. Are you an hourglass? A spoon? A ruler? A cone? Your body shape will not change if you are planning to ‘lose weight’ before your wedding day. You will only be a size or two smaller in the same body shape. Consider: What style dresses do you look best in now? What necklines suit you best? What skirts do you look best in? What style clothing works best with your upper torso (neck to waist)? or your lower torso (waist to feet)?

When wearing a gown, you want to have balance between your upper and lower torso. If the upper torso is larger than the lower torso, you want to elongate the upper torso. You do this through the neckline (V as opposed to box-neck), the bodice style (a vertical design), and possibly through a drop waist in the skirt. Your lower torso would best be served through a fuller skirt, bringing more width to the lower half of your body.

If your lower torso is larger than the upper torso, you want to broaden the upper torso through a wider neckline, or off the shoulder style bodice. The bodice itself can have a style and embellishments that “fill up” the space of your upper body. Your skirt should skim the hips comfortably, and drape straight down to give your lower half a more slender look.

How do you dress an hourglass figure? 

An hourglass figured woman has a bust, defined waist, curvy hips and shapely legs. Her bone structure is small, and sometimes she has a big buttock. This type has curves, so it is best to show them off. Because of the defined waist of this body type, choose a wedding dress style that draws attention to the waist. Your dress should be semi-fitted (as opposed to too tight or too baggy). An A-line dress with (or without) a dropped waist would suit and hourglass figure beautifully. A more dramatic style would be a mermaid or trumpet style dress. A sweetheart neckline would show off the bust very nicely. DON’T: a ball gown or empire-waist.  

How do you dress a spoon shaped (pear) figure?

A spoon shape figured woman is small and slender through the neck, shoulders and bust, has a shapely waist, and is fuller in the lower hips and thighs. When choosing a wedding gown, you want a full skirt that de-emphasizes your hips, and a semi-fitted or tailored bodice that shows off your small top-half. The neckline can be wider to help broaden your shoulders and bring balance to the full skirt. A basque waist, strapless ball gown, or an empire waist dress style are the best bet for a spoon shaped figure. DON’T: mermaid or trumpet style dress.  

How do you dress a ruler shaped (straight) figure?

A ruler shaped woman has an upper and lower torso that is equal in width. She has an average bust, an undefined waist, a flat buttock, and slender legs. When choosing a wedding gown, you want to aim for lengthening your upper torso. This can be done through a neckline that falls below your collarbone to help elongate the neck, or by having a drop waist skirt. Your skirt is best in a straight style, as it will slenderize your look. Avoid gathered or pleated fabric at the waist. An empire waist gown will give you a long, lean look. DON’T: Princess line, or basque waist will draw too much attention to the waist.  

How do you dress a cone shaped (inverted triangle) figure?

A cone shaped woman has a broader top and a narrower bottom. Broad shoulders, a medium bust, an average waist, narrow hips, and shapely long legs are all attributes of the cone shaped figure. When choosing a wedding gown, you want to aim for balancing out your top and bottom halves. Choose a full skirt to balance the width of your shoulder. Your neckline should elongate you, like a deep V-neck. You don’t want a neckline that makes your shoulders look broader, and you must stay away from off the shoulder style bodices. The bodice style and neckline should both work to elongate your upper torso, with a vertical style. A ball gown style, or an A-line silhouette would both look great on this figure. DON’T: Sheath style dress, spaghetti straps.

When you look at bridal magazines, analyze the wedding gown styles. Using the above guideline, look at how the designers use these techniques to achieve the results they do. Look at the bridal jewellery the models are wearing. Are they wearing necklaces, tiaras, bracelets, or earrings? Do certain styles of dress tend to have certain kinds of bridal jewellery? Once you have educated yourself on dress styles and jewellery, you are ready to go out and start shopping for your own wedding dress and bridal jewellery.


  1. I’m getting married this month. Can you help me to choose a suitable wedding gown and evening gown for wedding dinner. Here is my detail:
    Height: 156 cm
    Weight: 45 kg
    Skin type: Fair
    Hair: Black

  2. Actually, your height and weight is not important when choosing a wedding gown—I need to know your body shape. Based on the above article, what shape are you? It is your proportions and how you carry the weight on your body that is important in deciding the style of gown or dress.

    Do you want to have a wedding gown, and then an evening gown for the reception?

  3. Hi.Thank you for your reply. My body shape more to straight figure. And i want an evening gown for the reception.

  4. Hi,

    Your body shape is proportional, so you really can wear any style wedding dress. The only way you will know for sure is to try it on. If you want to avoid looking taller, I would suggest you stay away from an empire waist and stick to a regular or dropped waist to cut the visual line of your height. Enjoy!

  5. Hi,
    You want an A-line dress. It smooths out the bumps and gives a long lean look. Depending upon your stomach area, you might consider an empire waist—try on a few dresses to see how you like it. Although many brides go for the bare arm look there are many dresses that have sleeves as well as little lace bolero jackets. Look around, and find something you are comfortable with. Enjoy!

  6. Hi,

    You buy the size that fits the largest part of you, and then have the clothing altered everywhere else. Show off your bust! Many women would kill for a great bust. I suggest you try on a mermaid style—although the top might be strapless, the flare at the bottom will balance you. Good luck.

  7. hello, i will be getting married next year, and i’m looking for wedding gown now. i am short and my body type is hourglass. i really want to wear the ball gown dress, what would you recommend?

  8. Hi Lilly,

    The ball gown or mermaid dress both work very well with an hourglass figure—in fact, almost every style looks great on an hour glass figure. Some ball gowns are REALLY big on the bottom, and others are “normal”. When you try it on you will know. Choose one that makes you look and feel great. If you aren’t sure, invite a friend or relative with great taste in clothing to come along with you to help you shop.

    Good luck and congratulations on you upcoming wedding,

    Angela Fiebelkorn, Wedding Planner


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