Know: Wedding Dress Terminology–Silhouette

So CLD readers know that we obviously love the planning process… and that we love cake… but we also love fashion! But honestly, it is the rare occasion that we actually get to assist in the selection of the wedding dress 😦

Which is why it was so awesome that one of our upcoming brides sent us a ton of photos when she was torn between dresses! Of course, we were happy to assist and we are pleased to report she went with our suggestions. But we had so much fun talking about wedding dress styles, it got us thinking that it would be great topic to blog about! Dress selection is one of those things we suggest you start thinking about and working on fairly early in the process. Between ordering the correct size, alterations, and finding those perfect accessories, it takes a lot of time!

And to talk about the styles… there are hundreds of thousands of styles of wedding dresses! We got so caught up in the trying to explain our style preferences, we thought we’d help out our readers and pass along some basic wedding terminology that help you navigate the racks upon racks of wedding dresses. Check back often, we might make this a series because there is a lot to wade through!

We’ll start with the first word you need to know: Silhouette. This describes the basic shape of the dress and there are a few categories that dresses can fit into. We’ve included pictures of some runway looks and celebrity inspirations to get you started!

– A-Line: This has no clearly defined waist area, but flows downward to a flared skirt, creating that basic “A” shape.

Monique Lhullier A Line.

Monique Lhullier A Line.

Kate's other dress! Beautiful Alexander McQueen A-Line

Kate’s other dress! Beautiful Alexander McQueen A-Line

 

– Ballgown: Cinderella alert! Usually the upper body is very fitted with a big skirt that is usually a bit on the poofy side.

Vera Wang Ball Gown

Vera Wang Ball Gown

Kim's first dress, a dramatic ball gown also by Vera Wang!

Kim’s first dress, a dramatic ball gown also by Vera Wang!

– Empire: These dresses have a raised waist that sits right under the bust and flow to a straight or slim skirt.

Empire waist dress by Allure Romance

Empire waist dress by Allure Romance

Might be difficult to see, but Nicole's waist is defined here in this gorgeous Balenciaga dress.

Might be difficult to see, but Nicole’s waist is defined here in this gorgeous Balenciaga dress.

– Mermaid: Usually are very fitted along the body, with the sudden flare of the skirt occurring anywhere from mid-thigh to the knee.

Classic Jim Hjelm mermaid dress.

Classic Jim Hjelm mermaid dress.

Hilary Duff stuns in a mermaid design by Vera Wang.

Hilary Duff stuns in a mermaid design by Vera Wang.

– Sheath: Also known as a column dress, this is usually a very straight design fitted close to the body.

Dennis Basso classic sheath.

Dennis Basso classic sheath.

Sheath dress by Marchesa for Molly Sims.

Sheath dress by Marchesa for Molly Sims.

We hope these few simple terms help you start your wedding dress search. Stay tuned for more throughout the summer!

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