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Wedding Dress 101: Bridal Silhouettes

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

Let's learn all about the different silhouettes for bridal gowns.

We are starting an educational series focusing on all the important things you might not know if you aren't part of the bridal gown industry. We use all kinds of special jargon and vocabulary when describing bridal gowns. If you aren't familiar with it all, you might come into your appointment having no idea what we are talking about!

We want you to be confident when you come for your appointment with some knowledge so you have the best appointment you can at Chantilly Place! (Don't worry though, there won't be a test at the end).

The most common wedding dress silhouettes are listed below. We'll go into each of them in more detail with some visual examples for each silhouette.

Ball Gown
fit and flare


Fitted bodices and full skirts that flare out from the waist are the hallmarks of the ball gown silhouette. Often the shape of a ballgown is made fuller with layers of tulle or organza. You can find this dress made in a variety of fabrics from satin to tulle. This style is perfect if you want to accentuate your waist & minimize your hips while give you support in the bust while. The ball gown style is more traditional in style and perfect for brides who want a more dramatic bridal look.


The sheath silhouette features a slim, fitted shape that closely follows the contours of the body, often with little or no flare in the skirt. It is fitted but not so tight that it is uncomfortable to wear all day. A sheath bridal gown can be full lace or beaded but also in crepe. A sheath silhouette can be perfect for both a fancy and elegant wedding or your more causal event, the details and material are going to determine if the dress is appropriate for your wedding.


If sexy and fun are the adjectives you'd use to describe your perfect wedding dress, a mermaid silhouette is perfect for you. This shape is fitted through the bodice, waist and hips down to the knees. It has a dramatic shape at the bottom where it flares out (think a mermaids tail...hence the name). This silhouette is going to show off your curves and is perfect for brides who want a dramatic wedding day look. You can find mermaid shaped bridal dresses in a variety of materials from lace, to tulle and satin.


The trumpet silhouette is the slightly less dramatic sister to the mermaid silhouette. You still get the fitted bodice and waist but a little less fitted through the hips. A trumpet silhouette will be a little easier to move and dance in all night long while still showing off or enhancing your curves. A trumpet bridal dress in satin is a classic and effortless look but you can also find them in lace as well if you prefer lace.

Fit and Flare

Another style that is perfect if you want to show off your shape, but it's a little bit more forgiving. The fit and flare style is fitted through the bodice and waist but flares out mid thigh. Fit and Flare wedding gowns are very flattering on a variety of body types which makes them very popular style. This style comes regularly in lace and tulle materials.

*Note on Mermaid, Trumpet and Fit and Flare! Due to the similarities of these styles there might be some dresses that one designer categorizes as a mermaid, but we feel it's more of a trumpet. So if you are interested is this silhouette consider looking at styles that fall into the other categories.


Like the ball gown silhouette, but it's just a little too much drama for you? The A-line silhouette is similar in shape. It features a fitted bodice and a skirt that gradually flares out from the waist, resembling the shape of an "A." This is a universally flattering style that works for so many body shapes. This silhouette comes in a variety of materials too and is perfect for your fanciest weddings to your beach side affairs.

Final Thoughts

No matter what silhouette you think you want, make sure you come to your appointment at Chantilly Place with an open mind! You should come in with an idea of what style you are interested in trying, but our bridal consultants job is to help you find the dress that is perfect for you no matter what silhouette you think you want. You might be surprised and love a silhouette that is completely different then what you thought you wanted!

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