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The best wedding dress for your body type

Wondering which wedding dress will be the most flattering for your body shape? You’re not alone – it’s one of the most Googled dress-related topics there is. And who better than our expert on all things sartorial, Mette to put together this guide to getting it right…

“Your wedding dress is probably, if not the most expensive garment you will ever buy, then one of them, and the pressure is on to get it right.

“In many ways I think it’s more simple than what it’s made out to be, I think you should emphasise what you like about yourself, and cover up the “bad” bits.

“One of the starting points is to work out your own body shape. Your body shape is mainly created by your genetic makeup, you can change it a tiny bit with severe lifestyle changes, but generally speaking, if you are born an “apple” you will be an apple for life – you will gain and lose weight, but you will stay an apple, and so on.

“Let’s start with an apple shape. An apple is round in the middle – it doesn’t mean your belly needs to be big, even though it often is, your waist measurement is nearly the same as your bust and waist, or it could be bigger. Apple shaped ladies tend to store their fat on the middle, and the great thing about an apple is that she usually has very nice slim arms and legs crying out to be shown off, and added details too.

“So for the apple shape, I recommend a style which will make your waist look smaller, it could be ruching to the side, a deep ribbon or waistband, often aslightly dropped waist is better. Go for anything that makes your waist seem small and for detail away from your waist. If you are an apple, do avoid the exaggerated mermaids, and trumpet styles, as the middle of the body is going to look too emphasised. Also, be careful with column dresses or sheath dresses as they might not give you any shape.

“Then there is the pear. The pear has wider hips and a narrow waist. Some hourglasses mistake themselves for pear shapes – if you are a pear your shoulders will be significantly narrower than your hips. Pear usually has a small bust.

“For the pear shape, aim for something which has the details on the neckline, bust and perhaps shoulders, so they become more prominent and even out the hips. Avoid details on the hips, go for softer materials which skim the hips and hang softly down, a soft circle skirt, half circle or an A-line is a great option for this shape. You could consider wider straps or cap sleeves perhaps with a puff, so the details balance out the width of the hips. Empire lines are also great for this shape.

“Some pear shapes are quite at ease with their shape and suit a soft fishtail dress, it will put the focus on your hips, but if you are confident you can carry it off, I think it’s a great look.

“Then there is the hourglass, the hourglass has got hips and boobs and a waist. The hourglass generally finds it easier than other shapes to lose and gain weight, as they have bigger and stronger legs and arms.

“The hourglass is the shape I find the easiest to dress. I am an hourglass, and I have often heard that you should choose a designer who has the same body shape as yours, it makes sense. For an hourglass, it’s all about emphasising those curves, never cover up that waist. Soft empire lines, soft bias cuts, and ball gowns too, soft mermaids.

“Then there is the banana, ruler or the athletic shape, it’s a straight shape with not much difference between waist, hips and bust – almost boyish.

“The best dress for the banana is one where we can add a bit of soft, feminine flair to the body. A soft, sweetheart neckline, a nipped in waist and a mermaid, or fit and flare style skirt will give more shape to such a body shape. A beaded bust area, or a cowl neck is great as it adds to the bust, both in volume and level of detail. A banana also looks great in a super-fitted bias cut, slinky low back number.

“The last one is the inverted triangle, characteristics of this one are that the bust and shoulders are wide than very narrow hips. These ladies usually have legs to die for. What about a trapeze dress or any short dress with killer hills to show those pins off? If you are not into that, a sheath dress or ball gown is good, as well as a mermaid or trumpet dress. The inverted triangle is not great in a slinky bias cut dress.

“Be very aware if you buy your wedding dress from a retailer (as opposed to having it made for you) that you will often be charged if you are not the same size bust, waist and hips – it’s not really a fair charge to be asked to pay I think, so be sure to ask about it in advance. This is particularly a problem for the pear and the inverted triangle.

“So these are the general shapes, then obviously we have other things intervening with those, things like height, and weight, and perhaps you have a scar you want to hide, and so on. So, obviously individual differences we need to take into consideration too.

“So that was a bit of a rule of thumb. But, in general, I feel rules are there to be broken. If you find a dress which does not match your figure, and that dress just feels like the one…. go for it.

“These general guidelines can apply to everyday clothing too. Put the rules into practice when shopping for everyday clothing, and soon you will discover much more what you suit and don’t suit. You’ll then avoid making those wrong purchases and become your own personal stylist.”

Struggling to work out which body shape you are? This Body Shape Calculator may help. Christina x

Originally hailing from Denmark but having now made Edinburgh her home (it was love at first sight!), multi award-winning designer dressmaker Mette Baillie is the incredible talent behind Freja Designer Dressmaking.