The Most Basic Guide to Wedding Dress Styles You’ll Ever See:

[caption id="attachment_696" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Source: The Sentimentalist Source: The Sentimentalist[/caption]

Let's face it; some of us just aren't girly-girls. Not everyone grows up with visions of wedding dresses dancing in their head, so when matrimony finally comes a'knocking, choosing a wedding dress can seem somewhat overwhelming- especially because any given wedding dress shop will have about 8000 dresses that all look alike on first glance. So here's a rosetta stone for women who don't speak wedding dress lingo; read this and walk into that dress botique as a pro!

Skirts:

  • Ballgown skirts are the big poofy ones that tend to be supported by petticoats, creating a wide silhouette below the hips. They tend to work best on women that have a strong or large enough torso to balance all the volume below. They are generally considered ideal for formal affairs.
  • Column skirts drop straight down from the waist or hip, remaining close to the body all the way down. Let's be clear, these can work on anyone, but they are most often seen on women with a slender silhouette or those who want to emphasize their curves. Depending on the styling, they can be semi-formal or formal.
  • Flared skirts come in several varieties and are typical gorgeous on hourglass figures. A-line skirts flare very gently all the way down from the hip to the floor. Mermaid skirts are fitted through the hips and thighs, but flare dramatically near the knees, creating a mermaid “tail.” Trumpet skirts are fitted through the hips and start to flare through the mid-thigh- they're a great middle ground between A-lines and mermaids.

Waistlines:

  • A fitted waistline at the natural waist will create an hourglass look, both for women who have one already or for those trying to achieve a curvier look.
  • Empire waists, which fall just below the bust, create a long, straight look from the bust downward, and can be a good way to create a straighter-looking figure if so desired.
  • Drop waists, which stay straight through the waist and start at the hip, often look best on slimmer-bodied women who want to emphasize their hips. They do not show any waist definition, and thus can make an hourglass figure look out of balance, but this depends on the make and material.

Necklines:

  • Deep necklines, such as V's, Queen Anne's, and Sweethearts, are designed to emphasize the chest and lengthen the line of your neck. They can be casual or formal depending on the style and material, and often look best on women who don't mind showing a little cleavage or small-breasted women who want additional emphasis in that area.
  • Straight necklines, like bateau or strapless, tend to lengthen the line of your shoulders. This type of neckline can be a great way to balance out wider hips to make the body look proportional.
  • Illusion necklines, which have become increasingly popular in the last few years, are a balance between these two styles; they often feature a deep neckline with a sheer or lace overlay that makes the top of the dress more modest. Illusion necklines are a great way to still sport a sexy and modern look while also remaining modest enough for a traditional church or conservative wedding.

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