Every woman wants to look her best on her wedding day. Unfortunately, many of the top designers make that harder than it has to be. Because the fashion world focuses on wafer-thin models, they seldom design dresses for real women.

What’s the big deal? When it comes to formal wear, men have it easy. The pinnacle of menswear is the tuxedo, which is really nothing more than a fancy suit. But dresses are different. Different cuts and silhouettes flatter different figures. The issue is of particular concern to curvy or voluptuous brides.

Since they are often ignored by a fashion industry that caters to skinny brides, they have to look twice as hard for dresses that flatter their unpopular figures. The irony of the situation is that curvaceous brides are far more prevalent than stick-thin model brides.

This may simply be a case of an insulated industry idealizing a body type that does not actually exist in reality.

But that does not mean that the voluptuous bride is without options. Need we forget that fashion designers haven’t always preferred stick figures. There was a time when models were full-figured and formal dresses were designed to accentuate their best features. The first thing a curvy bride-to-be must determine is her body type.

For some strange reason, the female figure is often described as a type of fruit. There are pears, apples, and pearapples. All of these basic body types are used to describe girls who are not wafer-thin. Not surprisingly, they are far more common than the petite, ruler or column body types.


Due to basic biology, women tend to gain and carry most of their weight in their hips, buttocks and thighs. By comparison, men tend to gain and carry their weight in their stomachs, i.e., the classic beer belly. As a result, many women who are out of their twenties have a pear-shaped figure. This simply means that they are carrying most of their weight in the regions we referred to.

The problem this presents when it comes to a formal dress is that pear-shaped women tend to look a bit truncated or uneven if they don’t find the right bridal gown. What they should be looking for is a dress that can help them achieve balance by adding to their upper half.

The silhouette of choice for the pear-shaped woman is the classic A-line. As the name suggests, the A-line is narrower on top and it flares gently as it drops, resembling the letter A. When combined with a décolleté or scoop neckline that shows off a little skin, the A-line often works wonders in balancing out uneven figures.

For brides-to-be that feel a bit more self-conscious about their figures, there are a few unconventional options. For instance, wearing a blazer will add more bulk on top. Dark bottoms can also help to conceal or detract from trouble areas. Pencil skirts are quite popular with younger brides-to-be who often pair them with a loose blouse.


When a woman carries her weight a bit higher up, in her stomach, arms and chest, she is an apple. Apples are much rarer than pears, which can make finding a formal gown a chore.

The key for these brides-to-be is to cover the arms, suck in the stomach, and to support the bust. It is also important to add a bit more emphasis to the lower half to create a more balanced look.

The Empire silhouette has been popular for centuries. As we mentioned earlier, dressmakers weren’t always obsessed with stick figures. They used to design formal gowns for real woman and the Empire gown was one of their most popular creations.

This high-waisted wedding dress gathers just under the bust and is often accompanied by a loose skirt that helps create balance by emphasizing the bust and concealing the stomach. Empire gowns also help to lengthen the body, which makes them a hit with shorter women who are a bit top-heavy.


A woman who is curvy all over is sometimes referred to as having a pearapple figure. Also known as the hourglass body type, these women have large busts and ample hips.

The hourglass shape was made famous by Hollywood starlets like Marilyn Monroe. But it might be difficult for the blond bombshell to find a flattering dress if she were shopping today.

Her best bet would probably be a body-hugging sheath dress. These numbers cling to the natural curves of the body and show off the wearer’s best assets.

Sheath dresses work best at more informal ceremonies, especially outdoor affairs when the bride-to-be can wear skinny straps and a décolleté neckline.

Whatever your size or shape, there is a silhouette that will flatter your figure. Find your perfect wedding dress now.