Which bridal gown would suit my body shape?

6807 Pascal by Hayley Paige

Which bridal gown would suit my body shape?

Considering we spend most of our working days in the changing room with several bride’s to be, we can vouch for the fact that every one of you is a different body shape and size. As well as this, you all have different areas you would want to show off and disguise on your wedding day. Therefore, this is such a difficult blog post to write as I can’t write about each of you individually (that’s what an appointment with a bridal stylist is for). However, when you begin trying on gowns, you will quickly see that there is a correct bridal gown for your body shape.

Below, I have made a few suggestions to assist you when you are doing your online research or buying your bridal gown in the hope it can focus your search much more for your body shape.

Body Shapes

Our first step is identifying what body shape you are…see if you fit in to one of the following categories…

Hourglass- Balanced hips and shoulders that are roughly the same width when looking face on in the mirror and a tiny waist will give you an hourglass figure.

Apple- An apple shape carries their weight around the middle. You guys often have a great pair of legs or shoulders you want to show off!

Pear- Typically you have an average to small bust with wider hips and check out your booty, you have a great one of those!

Athletic- You are lean and slender without the curves of an hourglass. Athletic is sometimes described at ‘straight down’ or the ‘rectangle’.

Inverted triangle- Try to imagine a triangle pointing downwards. You have wider shoulders than your hips.

Fuller hourglass- A larger version of the hourglass but still with the definition of a waist. For the purposes of the blog, we have generalised this to a ‘plus size’.

Petite- Ladies who are around 5’1” in height. When discussing a petite figure, you will need to consider this as well as your body shape.

Now time to discuss silhouettes! If you haven’t read our blog on ‘Bridal Jargon- Bridal Silhouettes’ then do so now so I don’t flummox you with a mermaid and it and flare! If you have already read it, then thank you very much (fancy leaving me a comment to say how much you enjoyed it?)


What suits an athletic body shape

Let’s start with an ATHLETIC body shape. As this body shape doesn’t have large curves, the very best bridal gowns will give the impression you have some hiding under your gown! For this reason, the following silhouettes will suit you really well. A gentle FIT AND FLARE, SHEATH, and BALLGOWN. A fit and flare will sit to just beneath your hips and flare out which will instantly give you a curve around this area. Whereas a sheath and ball gown will sit on the top of your hip and then flare out giving the impression of a smaller waist.

We would advise you avoid MERMAID gowns, as these tend to work best when you have natural curves for it to work with.

In terms of a neckline, athletic figured females often prefer a bateau, jewel or illusion neck as they give some coverage on your upper chest.

bridal gown atheltic body shape
Amal by Ellis Bridals

18111 wedding dress by Ellis Bridals

bridal gowns for athletic body shape

A perfect match for the athletic body shape would be Amal bridal gown by Ellis Bridals (see above). With her high jewel neckline and fit and flare silhouette, she will be sure to create some sassy curves without flaunting too much. And have you seen that back?! Simply stunning!

The perfect bridal gown for a pear shape is…

Next up, PEAR shape! Ladies, you have two options. Either you draw attention to your lower half or you disguise it!

Drawing attention to your bottom and flaunting your curves if you are pear shaped is best done in a FISHTAIL silhouette. This is providing you find one with a neckline suitable for the size bust you have (see below). By having a fishtail, you are flaunting all of your curves by balancing it out with the flare of the skirt.

If you would prefer to disguise your pear shape, then an A-line or ball gown silhouette would be best. These will be fitted until the waist and then flare out covering your hips. The illusion these silhouettes would give is that your shoulders and hips are more in proportion than they actually are! Another tip for disguising a pear shape is to choose a gown with a detailed bodice and plainer skirt. This is because it will draw peoples attention away from the area you want to disguise.

bridal gown for pear shape
Eliza by Eddy K Sky

SKY160 by Eddy K Italia, Sky Collection

bridal gown for pear body shape

We would advise one of our new Eddy K Sky gowns, Eliza, for a pear shape (see above). Her delicate bodice and V-neck will draw attention to your bust and waist, while her twinkling skirt would skim your lower half.

The silhouette that we would suggest is not for a pear shape would be SHEATH. This is a silhouette that goes straight down, and as pear shapes are technically out of proportion, there’s a chance this would highlight your hip area, without showing off the curve of your bottom- put simply, this wouldn’t do much for you ladies.

Apple body shaped ladies…which bridal gown is best for you?

Now for the APPLE shape.

The trick to this body shape to give the impression your waist is smaller than it is. No matter the silhouette, a corset back will work wonders for this you can pull in your waist nice and tight, more so than you can with a zip. In terms of silhouettes, the best choices would be an A-LINE or BALL GOWN.

Another feature to look out for if you are going for an A-line would be a DROPPED WAIST as this gives a further impression of a waist. It will be even better if the gown has some sort of belt, so the waist is synched in even more!

Ellis Dresses
Abigail 17051 by Ellis Bridals

bridal gown for apple body shape
We think a gown such as Abigail by Ellis Bridals would look wonderful on an apple shape. The pleating on the bodice draws your eye to the waist and the belt will make your waist look thinner as it cuts the gown in two. The skirt then flares out slightly from the waist and drapes down- being satin, the skirt keeps it’s structure and gives the impression that your figure is in proportion- Voila!

A silhouette that wouldn’t work as well for apple shapes is the fishtail. The fishtail brings attention to your curves, so if you are carrying your weight around the middle, this what the eye will be drawn to.

Lots of bridal gowns will suit the hour glass body shape!

Hourglass ladies, you have your pick of the rails as your figure will suit all silhouettes.

What you will need to consider when shopping for your bridal gown is 1. Are there any body parts you would rather be highlighted or hidden? And 2. Which gowns best keep your body in proportion. For this reason, we would advise you avoid an EMPIRE silhouette as this is fitted around your bust and then falls to the ground from there- it doesn’t flaunt your waist and sit as wide as your hips are- making you look larger than you are!

phil collins dress
Catharine by Phil Collins Bridal

excellent brdal gown for hourglass body shape

As you have so much choice, we have two suggestions for you! The first being Catharine by Phil Collins Bridal. This is a gown for those who want to flaunt their curves, Phil Collins says himself “You need a bum for this dress”. Luxurious crepe will show off your curves with a delicate lace, key hole and illusion back to give you the WOW factor.

Excellent bridal gown for an hourglass body shape
Anna 12318 by Ellis Bridals

Ellis Dresses

Should you not to flaunt your curves as much as Catharine would, then we suggest Anna. Anna is a strapless A-LINE gown with a dropped waist so will make the most of your waist. With her corset back, you can pull it in as much as is comfortable.

For the ladies with a little bit more to show off!

Plus size is such a difficult body shape to generalise, as you can all have curves in different places. Generally, we would advise a BALL GOWN or A-LINE GOWN as they are very good at disguising disproportionate curves. If you still have an hourglass figure or perhaps an apple shape then still read what has been said about those as it will be valid to you, however you may want additional areas covered or additional support (particularly around the bust).

With this in mind, I would suggest looking at Hayley Paige’s SIZE INCLUSIVE range. This is a selection of her existing styles which she has slightly adjusted with a larger figure in mind. Don’t want a plunge neckline on Haruki? She has raised it by a few inches! Need more boning in the bodice on Lyla, Hayley Paige has got your back!


6800 by Hayley Paige
Andi as part of Hayley Paige’s Size Inclusive range

6800 by Hayley Paige

We love how she had tweaked Andi who we have in the boutique. Her neckline has been raised and the panel that runs around the waist will leave you feeling really supported!

6807 Pascal by Hayley Paige
Pascal 6807 as part of Hayley Paige’s Size Inclusive range

If Andi is too big a skirt for your, or you would rather sleeves, then Hayley’s redesigning of Pascal is sublime! The magic here is all in the chiffon skirt and how it will drape over areas you may desire to be covered, in a similar way that a maxi-dress would. The nude coloured tulle top will leave you feeling like you are showing off your top half without exposing your skin and the micro-beading detailing is to die for!

For the Petite Chica’s

Now, what to do if you are PETITE- 5’2” or under. Unless you are planning on wearing skyscraper heels all day for your wedding, petite ladies need to find a style that elongates the body and that doesn’t overwhelm your small frame.

We would suggest a SHEATH or an A-LINE SILHOUETTE. Where a sheath gown goes straight down, it will automatically make you look taller. A subtle A-line will have the same effect, however a BALL GOWN with a huge skirt could be too much for your small frame.

If you have your heart set on something fitted, then a FIT AND FLARE would be far more suitable than a FISHTAIL, but discuss if it is possible to order this silhouette in a shorter length so the gown is made to fit your proportions more….if you do not have this option, then be prepared to have much of the ‘flare’ or ‘tail’ removed during your alterations.

Wedding dress Mara
Mara by Hayley Paige

wedding dress Mara 2

Our suggestion for a petite frame would be Mara by Hayley Paige. Mara would be flattering on your top half and has a beautiful back, but the real reason Mara would be perfect for a petite girl is the size of skirt. It flares out just enough to make you feel bridal without swamping your frame. The images here show the gown in Alabaster but it is also available in Ivory.

Necklines to flatter your bust, no matter your body shape

Finally, just a quick note on how which neckline would suit a particularly large or small bust. An average bust will work with most necklines that were mentioned in our previous blog ‘Bridal necklines’, however if you have a smaller than normal bust a sweetheart neckline will give the illusion to a bigger curve than what is actually there. A plunge neckline can also look very demure, whilst keeping your breasts under control (examples of both shown below). One neckline that wouldn’t a small bust would be a straight neck as it would be too angular.

sweetheart neckline
Sweet heart neckline as seen on Carmen by Phil Collins Bridal
Haruki by Hayley Paige
Haruki by Hayley Paige

If you have a large bust, then support is key. For this reason, we would suggest a curve neckline for a strapless gown. This with a corset back will offer you a good level of support without cutting so low that your bust is too on show. Should you wish to have a shoulder strap, then again a curve or V-neck is best providing the V neck offers you enough coverage. See image of Size inclusive Andi for a perfect example of this.

Hopefully you have a better idea of what you are looking for in a bridal gown based on your body shape. The best way to find out is to try on gowns of every shape in your very first appointment. This way,  you can visually see how each silhouette sits on your figure.

To book an appointment, click on the link below or call us on 01622 688413. For a better idea of what’s involved in an appointment, read our blog about appointments before your visit!


Stay tuned to our blog page- our next blog will be on Trunk Shows and why they are so brilliant!


For more information on the gowns featured in this blog, click on the links below;





Victoria Elaine Bridal Maidstone

Book Your Appointment

Victoria Elaine Bridal is the boutique to visit for wonderful customer service, luxury gowns and a friendly team on hand to help you find your dream wedding dress. Our ethos is a bride should not be outshone on her wedding day, and our style of gowns reflect this! If you are looking for anything from a sparkly ballgown to a modern, minimalist dress, we are the shop for you! 

And did we mention, we are Kent’s authorised stockist of the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings and Disney Fairy Tale Weddings PLATINUM collections!

For your dream bridal experience to begin at Victoria Elaine Bridal, simply book an appointment with us.

We very much look forward to seeing in the boutique soon!