No matter which way the wind of style blows, certain classic shapes remain constant in the world of wedding gowns.
1. A-line Slim on top, fitted through the waist, and softly flaring away from the body.
2. Ballerina Traditionally thought of as a length rather than a silhouette.
3. Ballgown A boned bodice and full skirt supported by crinolines.
4. Mermaid Hugs the torso, than flares out from the knee or just below; great for the short-waisted.
5. Sheath A sophisticated, close-to-the-body shape that outlines every curve.
6. Empire A high waist hitting just under the bustline.
If this is all new to you, educated yourself by looking at photos of wedding dresses in bridal magazines or on websites. Figure out where your eye goes first, than see how the lines of the dress direct you there. Once you’ve got these basics down, you can generalise the rules to find a dress that will flatter your shape. By the way, while you’re looking at photos, rip out images that say something to you, either positive or negative. Write down what you do and don’t like about each gown (“love the bateau neckline / hate the appliqué on the hip”), and bring your clippings with you when you go shopping. They will help the sales associate direct you to the gown with your name on it.