The search for your wedding gown can be an overwhelming experience if you’re not sure what to look for. Your choice will be much easier when you know the four silhouettes of wedding gowns and which one will look most flattering on your figure. Wearing the right cut of gown for your body type can draw attention to your best features and minimize those you’re concerned about.

The four silhouettes (ball gown, sheath, princess cut and empire) all create varying visual effects on different body types. If you haven’t tried on wedding dresses before, it is recommended that you try on at least one dress in each silhouette. This will allow you to see which cut best complements the look and feel you are trying to evoke at your wedding.

You can find all four silhouettes at Lily’s Bridal. Your personal stylist will help you determine the best silhouette for your shape.

The Ball Gown

The ball gown has a form-fitting bodice with a full skirt. It is the most traditional of all wedding gowns. Ball gowns can have several types of waistlines. These include:

• Basque features a fitted bodice with an elongated triangle beneath and at the front and center of the waistline. This style diminishes the width of the dress at the waist.

• Natural waistline for this dress is between the hip and the ribcage.

• Asymmetrical features a change in waist height from one side of the dress to the other.

• Dropped falls several inches below the natural waistline. This style of dress elongates the torso.

The Sheath

The sheath is a form fitting dress that closely follows the line of the body. The skirt has either a slit in the front, side or back of the dress or can flare out into a trumpet or mermaid style to make walking easier.

Aline Gown/Princess Cut

Princess cut or A-line gowns have an A-shape, created by vertical seams running from the shoulders to a flared skirt, and are characterized by their narrow-at-the-top, wider at the bottom shape. This style of gown is designed to elongate the lines of the body, adding a classic elegance and an illusion of length. This dress doesn’t have a defined waistline. It fits through the torso and then flares out from the waist.


The empire has a high waisted seam just below the bustline that falls into a sheath or A-line skirt. The skirt begins 2 or more inches above the natural waistline and has a slender fit. This waist-minimizing cut allows extra room for brides who have tummy issues or are pregnant.