Bridal Dress Shapes & Types

Ball Gown

Ball gowns consist of a fitted bodice with a full skirt either in one piece or separately sewn. These gowns are

apt for large, traditional weddings as they give a perfect formal look. They can go with various necklines and sleeve lengths. A cathedral length or a brush length train, all look perfect with a ball gown. A number of fabrics like satin or chiffon can be used to make it. Beading or lace work on bodice and fluffy layers on the skirt gives the impression of a fairy tale wedding. A ball gown is ideal for slender or pear-shaped figures.


The A-line gown, also called Princess gown, fits around the bodice and flows out to the ground just like the letter “A”. It can support any type of neckline. Length can also be adjusted according to one's taste.  Fabrics like silk or satin or organza is preferred while making this type of gown.  Laces, bead work, ribbons or bows make this gown more stylish. It suits almost all the body types except for women who do not have a defined waistline.

Empire Waist

The Empire waist gowns are sewn with a raised waistline starting just below the bust from where the rest of the

dress flows down to the hem. A square neckline and wide set straps or sleeves goes well with this type of gown. Silk chiffon over some other base fabric gives an elegant look to empire waist gowns. Combination of fabrics such as brocade bodice with a satin skirt also suits this style. Although this style fits well on most of the body types, it is more suitable for short women having small and trim figure.


The column dress, also called a sheath, is characterized by a narrow shape and flows straight down fromtheneckline to the hem. It can have different looks with the changing necklines and sleeve lengths and can also be constructed as a strapless dress which looks very elegant. This style is appropriate for all types of weddings. Different skirt lengths can be chosen for different occasions. Light silks and satin is perfect for a slip column dress where as heavier fabrics such as damask or peau de soie silk can be used when the shape has to be maintained. This style looks best on lean figures, both short and tall. Care should be taken if very well fitted dress is made as they can restrict the wearer's movements. This problem can be solved by having pleats or gathering in the back of the dress.


The mermaid dress clings to the body from the chest to the knee and then expands outwards giving a flaring effect. It can support almost all necklines and sleeve lengths and can also be strapless. The skirt can be of any shape viz. round, trumpet or flamenco. If a slip style dress is desirable then light silks and satin can be used. If the construction and shape of the dress has to be highlighted then heavier silks and other stiff fabrics can be used. This style best suits the slim and trim body types.

Wedding dresses today consist of many different shapes and types.  Not sure which kind of bridal gown is best for you?  See a miLA staff for a fashion consultation in our bridal store (Stony Point Fashion Park-Richmond, VA)
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Sketches by miLA Bridal