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  • Writer's pictureSydney Schatz

Five Most Popular Wedding Dress Silhouettes

Do you tend to get overwhelmed thinking about what silhouette you want for your wedding dress? Do you get the feeling that you don’t even know what the options are for silhouettes? Or, even better, are you scrolling through Pinterest thinking you are looking for a specific type of wedding dress only to figure out it is called something completely different? I sure felt that when I was shopping for my wedding dress! I went into my first appointment very confident and cocky that I knew exactly what I was talking about and what I wanted for the silhouette of my dress. I was soon humbled when I didn’t like anything they brought out in that style, and I realized I didn’t in fact know what I was talking about.

But don’t fret! Bridal shops absolutely do not expect you to be experts in the different type of silhouettes or what dress types are “called”. However, I am always out here trying to educate you all, making this process less stressful and more enjoyable. So, with that goal in mind, I teamed up again with Cloud Nine Bridal in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to bring you explanations and examples of the 5 main, or most popular, wedding dress silhouettes. You still may not be an expert when you walk into those bridal dress shops to find your dream dress, but at least you can be armed with all the accurate and appropriate information to make a fully informed decision!

Without further ado, here is Kaitlyn from Cloud Nine Bridal to give you some amazing and super helpful information all about wedding dress silhouettes.

“Currently in bridal there are 5 main silhouettes. These include A-line, Ballgown, Mermaid, Trumpet, and Sheath.

A ballgown can be described as a dress that has many layers in the skirt to create a large amount of volume in the full skirt.


A-line gowns are similar to ballgowns but not as voluminous and the skirt widens out from the waist to the ground to form the shape of an “A”.


Sheath is a style where the bodice is fitted (like that of ballgowns and a-lines) but instead of flowing out at the waist it just falls straight down to the floor without being fitted to the body.


Mermaid and Trumpet gowns both fall under the fit-to-flare family of silhouettes. They both are fitted most of the way down the body and then flare out at the bottom. The main difference between the two is mermaids tend to flare out at the knees while trumpets flare out about mid-thigh.

Mermaid [left] and Trumpet [right]

In our boutique, as well as most other bridal shops, we don’t expect brides to know the “correct” terminology of all of the styles. We find inspiration photos or pictures of dresses they have previously tried on to be the best way to figure out what they are looking for. It is also really important for us to know what they are wanting to be able to do in their gown the day of the wedding.

For example, a common request among our brides is to be able to eat and drink at their wedding without the worry of their stomach showing. When we hear that we instantly go for the more flowy side of silhouettes which would include the a-lines and ball gowns (also depending on how poofy they are wanting to go).

We also have brides who are either curvy or have had a recent weight loss and they want to show their shape off. For that we look at the fit-to-flare category of dresses that hug their body. In our shop, most of the brides tend to lean more towards the trumpet shape versus the mermaid so they can have that fitted look without really limiting their range of motion.

One of the MOST important things for brides to know is that no silhouette is “off-limits” based on your body type. It all just comes down to personal preference on what you are wanting to show on your wedding day and what your level of comfort is in different styles.”

What do you think now? Do you feel more informed and like you actually understand a bit more about the options that are out there? Hopefully you had some “ah-ha” moments and now feel ready to find your dream wedding dress!

After you find that perfect fit, there is still a whole wedding to plan, so let’s chat about how we can continue to make the process stress-free and enjoyable for you. Click over to my contact page to get in touch and start a conversation about wedding planning or coordinating. It is never too early to reach out!

If you want to get to know Cloud Nine Bridal & the ladies who run the magical shop a little more, click on this link to go back to the in-depth interview I did at this time last year: Get to Know: Cloud Nine Bridal

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