How to choose the perfect wedding dress for your body type

Every woman is built differently. Use our guide to find the perfect wedding gown for your body

13:00 February 7, 2017

Most of us are wrong about our body shape and the women we see in movies and music videos are not great models to go by.

These are the most commonly known body types - apple, pear, hourglass and straight-lined. The differences between these are based on bust and hip measurements. We can also categorise women as petite and large based on their body structure and build.

The hourglass shape is more often what every other body-shape tries to achieve with the perfect dress. 

Apple body shape

This is when your waist area, which is also the narrowest part of your body is non-existent or cannot be easily shown-off. The perfect dress will take attention away from the wide bust and hip areas.

The perfect choice Choose a dress that clinches at the narrowest part of your body on your rib cage - usually a few inches below your bust - with a satin belt or any other embellished belt. The dress should then flare out softly from the waist, to effectively camouflage your hips and give you a good shape.


Go for lace or ruche detailing on top and a deep scoop or V-neckline. Choose illusion necklines with a scoop, a sweetheart neck or V-shaped halter. 


Avoid A straight neckline will make you look out of proportion with wide shoulders and draw attention to horizontal lines which make you look larger. Avoid going for many layers in your skirt and opt for soft curves rather than figure hugging styles. 

Pear body shape

You are said to have a pear body shape when your bust width is considerably lesser than the width of your hips. In this case, the perfect dress should play up your narrow waist and slim upper body while effectively dressing down your hips.


The perfect choice Wear a corset-like top decorated with lots of detailing and embroidery to show off your slender upper body. From waist down, allow your skirts to flare out in a soft A-line, which will give you a good balanced figure. Choose stiffer fabrics like duchesse satin or taffeta which you can dress up with lace or tulle. You can opt for off-shoulder or sweetheart necklines which will draw attention to your slimmer areas.


The most suitable gown is one with a corset-style top and flared skirts

Avoid Steer clear of clingy materials like satin or chiffon for your skirts, as this will defeat the purpose of dressing down your hips. Avoid ball-shaped extremely flared skirts unless you are tall.


The most preferred shape is also the most common shape for women. Any woman who has a balanced hip-bust ratio and a noticeably narrow waist has an hourglass shape.


The perfect choice The pivotal point is to play up your curves while minimizing unflattering lines and layers. The best dresses for this body-shape are fit and flare, mermaid or trumpet style dresses which follow the curve of the body. This will look amazing on anyone with an hourglass shape and good shapewear regardless of size.


 In case you want to dress down your hips, dresses that flare at the hip give you a long and slender upper body with soft flares covering your lower body. Draped bodices, flute skirts and empire-style sashes emphasize your curves.

Every dress looks great with shapewear and avoiding it is not an option, even on your shopping trips - wear the shapewear when you try out gowns.

Avoid  Loose fitting top portions with flowy materials will make you look larger and hide your amazing curves.


Often, straight-lined women are lean and tall with very few curves. The aim for women of this body-shape is to enhance their existing curves as best possible.

The perfect choice Go for dresses that have clean non-distracting silhouettes and diagonal lines. Deep V-necks and illusion backs together with fitted bodices will create curves. Also opt for supportive padding in case of a smaller bust. Dresses that flare at the thighs or flute down will be great for this body-shape. A great dress is one that will drape across, fitting in and flaring out on its own with no added embellishments.


Diagonal draping and illusion backs help create curves at the waist 

Avoid Too much fanfare with drapes, waist-sashes or bows will distract the eye and not create any curves. Strictly avoid horizontal necklines or belts that will draw attention to any particular part of your body.

All these body shapes are found in petite as well as well-built women. So, consider your body build and structure while choosing your gown.

Petite women

Petite women can go for shorter bridal styles which are slowly getting popular. If you would like a princess style wedding gown, choose a fitted bodice that extends your upper body and the ball skirts should start above your waist in a soft flare lengthening your lower body. Show off your petite shoulders and arms.


Flowy gowns with illusion necks and backs are another favourite to lengthen the body. Opt for short veils and avoid trailing gowns. 

Well-built women

Avoid off-the-shoulder dresses which will draw attention to your broad shoulders. Choose fitted bodice that will show off your curves and have big flared skirts to draw attention away from your legs.


Go for long sleeves, illusion necks and long veils. Use stiff material that will give you structure. Sheath dresses are made for beautiful slender straight-lined women.

Take our quiz to find your perfect wedding gown style.