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Discover the Best Wedding Dress Styles for Your Body Type

Posted on May 21 2016

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by wedding dresses, there are so many designers, styles, fabrics, colors, details, etc. And pictures can only give you so much insight. The way dresses look on a hanger versus on a model versus on you are all completely different. The best way to begin narrowing down your search for your wedding dress is to start with your body type.

Even if you love the look of particular wedding dresses, you can get lost for days in the idea of particular types of gowns that may not even be right for your body type. By starting with the style of dress that will best enhance your features, you will save yourself days, if not weeks, of wedding dress shopping.

Wedding Dress Styles by Body Type | Wedding Dresses in Des Moines & Scottsdale


Whether you want to flaunt your curves or hide them, women with an hourglass figure find that form fitting dresses help enhance their curves best. Mermaid and fit-and-flare styles easily come to mind, but don’t forget about wedding dresses that have exaggerated features like a low drop waist or low backs.


Accent Your Waist

When it comes to buying a wedding dress for an hourglass figure, look for dresses with details that highlight and hide your best features. If you have a thinner waist but you aren’t thrilled with your legs, find dresses with oversized skirts and drop waists. The emphasis will then reside in your best features.

Try a Belt

For an hourglass shape, you will always find it most flattering to emphasize your waist. Even if you find a wedding dress that is amazing but it doesn’t showcase your waist as much, adding a belt will help define your waist and make that amazing dress even more amazing for you.

Hide Your Hips

If your hips are not your favorite feature, ballgowns and dresses with large volume at the bottom can help make the proportion of your upper body seem more slimming without making your hips and legs seem larger. The trick to a gown with a full skirt is to make sure the area around your chest and shoulders are fitted to accentuate your torso and make you seem longer and leaner. Try dresses that have high necks and bear shoulders. If you want to look thinner and leaner, avoid strapless wedding dress with fuller skirts. These types of dresses and cut off your length if you have an hourglass figure.

Tall & Thin

When it comes to tall and thin body types, keep in mind one word: simple. The more simplistic the dress, the less your body is lost in the dress. Searching for a wedding dress as a tall women can be a frightening thought, but it doesn’t have to be. With a great consultant, you will find more dresses than you originally imagine that will flaunt the best of your features

Choose a Wedding Dress Based on Your Natural Shape

When it comes to the silhouette of the dress, make sure emphasize your natural shape. Don’t try to change your shape into something it’s not. If you look for wedding dresses with halter tops and full skirts, you may not look or feel your best.

Accent Your Height and Thin Frame

When it come to a taller and thinner body type, you want to help make your body seem more proportionate. If you have long legs or a shorter torso, look for wedding dresses with a lower waistline. This will help you seem more evened out. You will also want to make sure that your hem is sweeping the floor. This will help reflect your longer proportions if you are tall and make a thinner body frame seem more intentional. If you are looking to make your height less apparent, look for wedding dresses with subtle influences like low backs, high neck lines, and flowing skirts.

Don’t Go Heavy on the Details

Too many details on a dress can be just that for a tall and thin body type: too many. If you're a girl who loves details you can use them, just use them sparingly or make sure the details are more subtle. Example: Sequins are better than ruffles for a taller frame. When it come to the dress itself, stick to clean and simple lines in your wedding dress and then add the sparkle in with accessories. Your height already demands attention when you walk in a room so make sure you make a statement. Extra details like ruffles and rosettes will make you seem cutesy rather than glitzy.


If you’re a woman with a petite body type you will want to look for types of wedding dresses that create the illusion of a long torso, and elongate your legs. Keep it simple, any detailing should be small and limited to the bodice.

Lengthen Your Legs

If you are petite, trumpet, sheath, and modified A-line are perfect options for if you have a smaller frame, with waistlines starting above your natural waist they help to make your legs appear longer. On the other hand avoid dresses with a dropped waist which make your legs look almost non-existent, or dresses with full skirts such as ballgowns, which will swallow you up in all of their fabric.


For apple shaped women you want to find a wedding dress that will draw attention upwards and skirts that flow out in an A-line fashion to evenly portray you proportions in the most flattering way.

Find Form Flattering Styles

Empire style dresses are great for most body types including apple. Look at dresses that even out your body type by adding texture to the bodice, and that flare out from your waistline such as an A-line dress. Avoid trumpet style dresses which tend to emphasize the widest part of apple body types and flare out at the slimmest.

Pay Attention to Bodice Details 

Utilize lower necklines such as sweetheart or V necklines to draw the attention upwards. A V neckline is slendering and draws the eyes to the vertical instead of the horizontal. Consider a bodice with a lot of texture, like ruching or lace detailing.

Pear Shape Figure

When it comes to a pear shaped body type, you want to look for dresses that highlight the narrowness of your mid-section with either while flowing down in an A formation or fit-and-flare silhouette.

Highlighting Your Waistline

A dress with a natural waist will highlight the smallest part of your body by cinching it, you can use a band detail or if you are looking for a more glamorous gown you can go for a jewel-encrusted waistline.

Detail Your Upper Body

Show off your slender upper body with a spaghetti strap or v-neck, wedding dresses that flatter the top portion of the torso are ideal.

Be Careful with Skirt Styles

Shop for a skirt that gradually flares out in an A formation from your waist to the floor. A-line silhouettes are a particularly flattering dress shape for pear-shaped figures, as they gently float over the widest part of the figure without emphasizing it in any way.

Full Figure

It’s up to you whether you want to show off your figure or seek more coverage. You can either create curves with a dropped waist or mermaid style, or you can find more coverage in an A-line or empire dress.

Use Fabrics in the Right Way

Ruching helps add support and structure to the dress, but use caution when it comes to mixing different shapes or fabrics. If you do mix them, make sure they transition smoothly or you may find that it could visually cut the body in unflattering ways.

Whether you’re hourglass, tall & thin, petite, apple, pear, or full figure, with Schaffer’s huge selection of wedding dress styles to choose from you can be sure to find your perfect wedding dress by body type. Discovering what wedding dress style works best on your body type to flatter all your features will improve your confidence and have you looking amazing for your big day!


  • Melissa: November 23, 2016

    Hi Caylene -

    We have dresses in size 12 for sample dresses, but we also carry curvier sizes as well in the store.


  • Caylene: October 27, 2016

    I am a MOH for my friend, who is going to be scheduling dress appts soon. What sizes are your samples sizes? She is a curvier woman.

    Thank you!

  • bluwie: October 25, 2016

    i need to see the photos of petite for bride .

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