The Right Dress

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Virtually every wedding dress is a variation on a few basic silhouettes. The key to finding the perfect gown is to select a silhouette that compliments your figure type, with details that enhance your best features. On average, a bride will try on close to twenty gowns to find THE dress--however it's an endeavor worth pursuing, because the right dress will not only make you look great, it will make you feel like a princess.

While you may have an idea of the "Perfect Dress", keep an open mind and try on a variety of styles. Many brides have been surprised to find the dress they fall in love with is not the one in which they pictured themselves.

Silhouettes: Understanding these options will help you choose a gown that flatters your figure.

Sheath--Simple and form fitting, shaped to create a curvaceous silhouette, this style is especially appropriate for tall, slender or hourglass figures.

Mermaid Dress--Tightly-fitted through the body, and flaring out from mid thigh or the knee, this style is ideal for hourglass figures and curvy brides with balanced hip and bust measurements.

A-Line--Straight lines, classic geometry combine in a narrow bodice, cut close to the hip that flares to the hem, forming a triangular or A-shape that lengthens the body without drawing attention to the waist. A good choice for a wide range of body types; the a-line skirt covers up wider hips and gives shape to narrow-hipped figures. A-line styles are also flattering to petite and short-waisted figures.

Empire--High-waisted neoclassical style first is an enduring favorite for weddings. This style presents a long, lean look that is flattering for brides with a thick waist or full figures. Its top focus is also flattering to pear-shaped brides, and it's elongated lines make petite brides look taller.

Princess--This style features shaped seams extending from the shoulder or armhole, over the bust to the hemline, with skirts that flow outward at the waist. It's slenderizing and creates the illusion of height, making it a good choice for short-waisted brides.

Ball Gowns--The most traditional of all options, featuring a fitted bodice with full skirt, ranging from softly gathered to voluminous, this style flatters most figures. The bodice hugs the waist and enhances the bust for a slenderizing effect and the full skirt conceals the hip area.

Garment details Sleeve, neckline and waistline variations can also enhance your figure.

Deep V and scoop necks flatter curvy figures. Sweetheart necklines are naturally romantic, forming a heart shape for a sweet innocent look. Off-the shoulder gowns emphasize the shoulders, draw the attention upward and thus look fabulous on a full bust. Dropped waistlines lengthen the torso, creating an illusion of height. Halter necklines offer a continuity of line that makes one look taller and show off beautiful shoulders. Bateau necklines are good for narrow shoulders, while spaghetti straps frame a pretty neck and minimize shoulders.

Details, such as bows, rosettes, beading, or appliqués can draw attention to your assets and away from areas you wish to minimize. For example, a row of buttons or bows down a gown's back will have a lengthening affect, while shoulder details draw the eye upward.

Petite figures should select styles that are properly proportioned, with smaller details.

Try gowns in various shades to determine which best compliments your complexion and hair color. Whites can have undertones that range from warm pink or yellow to cool blue. Ivories range from soft candlelight to deeper tones.