Best Wedding Gown Shapes for Your Figure (Buying Guide w/ Photos)

Appropriate for What Type of Weddings? The sheath or column style wedding gowns are suitable for any type of wedding – big society wedding, outdoor weddings, church or any religious wedding, formal wedding, and expensive weddings.  Sheath style gowns are easy to pack and the most comfortable to travel with, because they are lighter in weight due to their design not having any flares that would have added extra volume to the dress.  That makes sheath style wedding gowns very suitable for destination wedding brides and brides traveling out-of-town to get married.

Previously, sheath-style wedding gowns looked super-simple without any bells and whistles. They were too simple for the taste of a typical Nigerian bride who likes her wedding dress to look flamboyant. This has since changed, as these days,s we’re seeing different styles of sheath gowns, even flamboyant ones that suit the taste of Nigerian and African brides.

Modern sheath-style wedding gowns are available in diverse versions, depending on the fabrics, add-ons, and embellishments involved. Some sheath wedding dresses are designed to look simple and some are designed to look elaborate. There are some sheath wedding gowns that have a beachy flair. Some are even designed to look classic, and others are made to look expensive.  Therefore, whatever your taste or class, you can be sure to find a sheath style wedding gown for your liking and for any type of wedding theme or setting.

RELATED: Crucial Things to Know Before Buying a Wedding Gown

4. Fit-and-Flare or Trumpet Style Wedding Gowns: Who It’s For & Who It’s Not For 

As the name implies, a fit-and-flare wedding gown is fitted on the body and later flares out around the hips, or just below the hips.  The skirt part of the trumpet wedding dress is cut like the Nigerian six-pieces skirt, like an inverted trumpet.  Many people confuse this wedding dress shape with the mermaid or fishtail wedding gown, which differs from where its flare starts (detailed differences between both wedding gown styles can be found towards the end of this post).

WHO IS IT FOR? Fit and flare wedding gowns shape, also known as Trumpet silhouette, look good on women with slim waists and curvy hips (hourglass figure-8 shapes), who do not mind to show it.

AVOID IF:  Fit and flare or trumpet shape wedding gown is tight-fitting on the body, and so not suitable for women who are not comfortable with wearing tight-fitting dresses, or have a not-flat belly that they want to hide, or have rolls of fats on their waist and back.

Avoid buying a trumpet wedding gown if you have a big tummy and waist, or if you have a straight or boxy/ I-shape, with no visible hips/ curves. This style of wedding gown does not hide belly-rolls or big tummy.

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5. Fishtail or Mermaid Wedding Gowns: Best Shapes for & Who Should Avoid

Fishtail wedding gowns, also known as the mermaid wedding gowns, give a curvy, fitted figure, and so are suitable for brides looking for a sexy wedding dress.  This style of wedding gown flared out at the skirt area to the shape of ‘a fishtail’ (hence the names) – it will hug tightly to your body and show off all your curves.  Because the mermaid or fishtail wedding dress style is tight-fitting around or just before the knee area, from where it flares out, it is not easy to move around or dance in it.

FUN FACT: The flares of mermaid wedding dresses make it look like a fish-tail, and some Nigerian tailors refer to that skirt style as ‘fishtail style’.

SUITABLE FOR: The fishtail or mermaid shape wedding gown looks best on women with some curves, slim waistline, and flat tummy.

AVOID IF:  The fishtail or mermaid wedding gown is fitted tightly on the body, and so reveals everybody curve, bulges, and fat rolls. Therefore, avoid the mermaid wedding dress if you’re not comfortable with wearing tight clothes or do not have a flat tummy.

Also, avoid the fishtail wedding gown if you plan to dance a lot in your reception, the mermaid style wedding dress will make that difficult – because the dress is tight around the knees.  But then, if you decide to buy this style of a wedding gown, you may also want to buy a more suitable second dress for your reception, so that you can freely dance.

6. Empire Waist Gowns: Who Is it For & Who Should Avoid It

This style, also called the Empire waist wedding gown shape, looks good on almost everybody shape – it elongates the body and conceals unwanted bulges, just how every woman desires, and so looks gorgeous overall look.

The empire waist gown looks very good on brides with a small bust because it is tight-fitting at under-the-bustline, which makes it give the appearance of a bigger bust.  Empire waist wedding dresses also suit brides with small (petite) body frames, as it will make them look taller than they actually are.  Plus-size brides can also pull off some styles of empire waist wedding gowns.

Pregnant brides look beautiful in the empire waist wedding gown style, because it conceals their baby bump, or most of it, while also looking elegant on them. It’s no surprise why this wedding gown shape/ silhouette is the first choice among pregnant brides.

AVOID IF: If you’re a full-figured woman, avoid any empire wedding gown that has ruffles or any sort of volume on the bodice, as it will highlight your already-big bustline, and make it look bigger.

RELATED: 50 Latest Wedding Gowns in Nigeria (worn by real Nigerian brides)

Which Wedding Gowns Are Appropriate for Which Types of Wedding Event?

Generally, Nigerian brides do not follow rules with their choice of wedding gowns – for brides here, that’s a Western thing.  Traditionally, we love flamboyant and elaborate weddings and parties, with the freedom to wear any style that looks good on the body – almost every Nigerian bride wants an elaborate wedding. Would that classify every Nigerian wedding as formal? Maybe and maybe not.

Just to give you some heads-up, in the West, occasion-appropriate dressing also applies in bridal fashion.  From the above sections, I explained the type of event each wedding dress style is most appropriate for.  While some wedding gown silhouettes are most appropriate for specific types of weddings – formal, traditional style wedding gowns (ball and A-line) for formal weddings, casual style wedding gowns for informal weddings.

Modern wedding gown silhouette comes in different versions that make it possible to wear to any type of wedding. Some traditionally formal wedding gown styles come in luxury versions and also come in simple, dressed-down version – designers add various design elements that change the overall look of the dress to make it look more grand or simpler and appropriate to diverse event formality.

The formality of a wedding can sometimes derive from the size or the venue or the types of guests or how elaborate (hey, every Nigerian wedding is).  A beach or simple backyard wedding with close friends and family is not a formal wedding, and you may just want to wear a simple, sheath style wedding gown, as they are not strangers to dress-up or dress-big for.

These days, rules about matching wedding gown styles to event formality are no die-hard rules, just a guide.  We’ve seen many brides wear simple wedding gown styles to grand, society weddings and looked amazing. And, we’ve also seen many brides wear princess-style wedding gowns at simple backyard or garden weddings and they looked amazing. Who said you can’t break the rules for your wedding?  So, just do you, girl and the World will not fall down.

Conclusion: Which Wedding Gown Style is Suitable for Your Figure or Body Shape?

Every woman’s body shape or figure is beautiful, and there are styles that bring out the best of you to make you look better – use the tips in this article as a guide to find and buy the best wedding gown style that makes you look like a better version of yourself. Having read this far, can you tell which wedding gown silhouette/ shape name is made for your type of body shape?

RELATED:  Names of Different Parts of a Wedding Gown (Buying Guide)

In conclusion, when searching for the perfect wedding gown, there are a few things to consider – one is the shape of your body, and the other is how the wedding gown is shaped (silhouette).  While some styles look best on particular types of body shapes,  the A-line cut and Ballgown wedding gown silhouette/ styles suit almost every woman’s figure.  Aside from that, how ball gowns are cut make them very free in the lower area (below the waist). That’s why the ball gown wedding dresses are very comfortable to dance in. No wonder they are the most popular in the bridal market and favourite among brides.

Another plus for the A-line and ballgown styles is that the skirt part of the gowns are so full that they hide your shoes (people will not see them) – which means that you can get away with wearing any shoe you like (even not so fancy/ not so expensive shoes or your old shoes).

If you read this far, you should be a more knowledgeable bride and more confident to shop for your wedding gown. You know your own body shape, and now you also know the different available wedding dress shapes (silhouettes) that are made for different women’s figures.  I hope this wedding gown buying guide has helped you figure out the ones that will look good on your figure.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you liked this post because I put in a lot of time and love to write it just for you. Please help a sister out there to find this article – tell someone to tell someone, and help share it on social media (use our easy one-click social sharing buttons below).

Now, I’d like to hear from you. From what you learned above, which wedding gown shapes/ styles will look best on your body?  Comment below to tell me and let’s get the discussion going.


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About Stella Anokam

Stella is the founder and Editor of this blog (NaijaGlamWedding). Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Submit your photos to be featured - it's FREE, because we love everything weddings, bridal showers, engagement shoots.

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