How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Gown for Your Body Shape: Expert Tips

Wedding gown shopping is one of the most exciting aspects of wedding planning, but it can also be incredibly daunting, especially when trying to navigate the vast array of styles, silhouettes, and fabrics available. One key factor to consider in the selection process is how a gown complements and flatters your specific body shape, accentuating your natural beauty and ensuring you feel both radiant and confident on your special day. At Wilkins Bridal, a top bridal company based in Christchurch, New Zealand, our skilled and passionate team of bridal stylists is dedicated to helping you effortlessly find a gown that highlights your unique figure and reflects your personal style.

In this blog, we will dive deep into the art of choosing the perfect wedding gown for different body shapes, exploring expert tips and guidance on selecting a dress that enhances your individual features and creates a harmonious, balanced appearance. We’ll discuss how various gown silhouettes, necklines, and details can work to complement a range of body shapes, such as hourglass, pear, apple, and athletic, empowering you in making informed and confident choices as you embark on your gown shopping journey.

Understanding Key Gown Silhouettes

The first step in selecting the right wedding gown for your body shape is understanding the various gown silhouettes available. Each silhouette can accentuate different body features and create a unique overall appearance. The most common gown silhouettes include:

  1. A-line: Characterised by a fitted bodice and a gradually flared skirt, the A-line silhouette is universally flattering and can suit almost all body shapes.
  2. Ball gown: Featuring a cinched waist and a voluminous skirt, the ball gown silhouette can create a dramatic and fairy tale-like appearance, making it ideal for those with an hourglass figure.
  3. Mermaid: The mermaid gown contours the body closely from the bodice to the knee, flaring out at the knee to create a fishtail effect. This silhouette is especially flattering for brides with a curvy figure.
  4. Sheath: The sheath silhouette follows the body’s natural contours closely and is perfect for showcasing a slender, athletic figure.

Selecting the Right Gown for Your Body Shape

Once you have familiarised yourself with key gown silhouettes, you can begin the process of choosing the perfect wedding gown for your specific body shape:

Hourglass Figure

An hourglass figure is typically defined by balanced bust and hip measurements combined with a narrower waist. To accentuate your curves, consider the following gown styles:

  1. Mermaid gowns emphasise the natural contours of your body and create a stunning, sensual silhouette.
  2. Ball gowns with a structured bodice will accentuate your waist and emphasise your balanced proportions.

Pear-Shaped Figure

For brides with a pear-shaped figure, characterised by wider hips and a narrower bust, consider gowns that balance your proportions and draw attention upward:

  1. A-line gowns with a fitted bodice that gently flares from the waist can create a harmonious and flattering silhouette.
  2. Elaborate necklines or intricate detailing on the bodice can help draw attention upward, creating a balanced overall appearance.

Apple-Shaped Figure

Apple-shaped figures typically have fuller busts, wider waists, and narrower hips. Gowns that create the illusion of a defined waist are your best bet:

  1. A-line gowns with an empire waist or a dropped waist can elongate the torso and create a more defined waistline.
  2. Ball gowns that cinch at the smallest part of your waist can create a flattering silhouette and divert attention from the midsection.

Athletic Figure

For athletic figures with relatively balanced bust, waist, and hip measurements, consider styles that create curves and highlight your toned frame:

  1. Sheath gowns streamline and showcase your body’s natural contours, making the most of your athletic figure.
  2. Mermaid or trumpet gowns can give the illusion of curves while also highlighting your toned figure.

Selecting Flattering Necklines and Details

In addition to gown silhouettes, necklines and details can significantly impact the overall appearance and harmony of your wedding gown, emphasising your body shape’s unique features:

  1. For an hourglass figure, a sweetheart or V-neckline can accentuate your curves, while a high or scoop neckline can provide a more modest look.
  2. Pear-shaped brides may benefit from off-the-shoulder necklines, halter necks, or intricate bodice details to draw attention upward.
  3. Apple-shaped figures can explore V-necklines, scoop necklines or strapless designs to create a flattering appearance.
  4. Athletic figures may find strapless, one-shoulder or halter necklines appealing, along with delicate beading or lace detailing to create visual interest.

Accessorising Your Gown

Complete your bridal look with carefully chosen accessories that enhance your gown and body shape. Consider adding a statement belt or sash to accentuate your waist, or select a sparkling necklace that complements your gown’s neckline and draws attention to your d├ęcolletage. Remember, less is often more when accessorising, and it’s essential to strike a harmonious balance between your chosen accessories and your gown’s design.


Finding the perfect wedding gown for your unique body shape can feel challenging, but with the expert guidance of our skilled bridal stylists and an understanding of various gown silhouettes, necklines, and details, you can confidently select a dress that truly accentuates your beauty and essence.

At Wilkins Bridal, we are dedicated to assisting brides with diverse body shapes to find their dream wedding gown, creating a breathtaking vision that will leave a lasting impression on your special day. Trust in our experience and expertise, and embark on this exciting journey with confidence, knowing that together, we will create a stunning, harmonious bridal ensemble that truly honours the unique beauty of your body shape. Shop wedding dresses and accessories at Wilkins Bridal today.

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