Which Silhouette Should I Choose?

There are 5 types of Silhouette: A-Line, Ball Gown, Empire, Mermaid and Sheath.


First created by Christian Dior in 1955, this style is fitted at the top and flares towards the bottom, creating a shape that resembles the letter "A". Also known as a "Princess" silhouette, it is similar to the Ball Gown silhouette, but the A-Line's skirt is not as full, making it a suitable choice for less formal occasions (where a ball gown may look out of place).

Try It: This silhouette suits most shapes, and is an especially good if you have an hourglass figure, are large busted, or are full-figured. If you are pear-shaped, it will help to balance your body. If you are slim / slender, it will give the illusion of added curves. Also, as the skirt is not as full as the Ball Gown's, it is a great option for petite ladies who would prefer a fuller skirt, but are worried about being swamped by that of the Ball Gown.

Avoid It: If you want a more dramatic style, or are attending a particularly formal event, you may wish to consider a Ball Gown instead.

Ball Gown

This is the style of dress which many people think of when they hear the words "fairytale princess". While the top half is tight fitting, the full skirt, which often consists of many layers, flares out from the waist. Although the skirt adds drama to the dress, it can also add weight, which can make the dress heavy and difficult to move about in. This silhouette works well with a variety of necklines, lengths, and accessories, making it incredibly versatile. Ball gowns often have lots of embellishment and detail, ensuring the wearer is the centre of attention! It is a popular choice for traditional weddings, and quinceañeras.

Try It: This silhouette flatters most shapes, and is especially flattering if you are full figured. If you are pear shaped, the full skirt will hide your hips. It can be equally flattering if you are slim / slender, and if you have a small waist, the fitted bodice will help to emphasis this. This silhouette will look best on you if you are average height, or taller.

Avoid It: If you are petite, the full skirt could swamp you. This silhouette is considered very formal, and can look out of place at more casual events.


Also referred to as an "Empire Line" and an "Empire Waist", this classic silhouette has been in fashion since the 18th century, with popularity beginning in Western and Central Europe. It has a fitted bodice, a raised waistline (which is often just below the bust), and a flowing skirt, which falls from the waistline. The loose-fitting design means this dress is easy to move about it - perfect if you are planning to dance the night away! - as well as being comfortable in warmer weather.

Try It: This style will flatter most figures. It will look great if you are petite, as it can give the impression of "lengthening" the body. Since it draws attention away from the waistline, and emphasises the bust, it is a good choice if you have no defined waistline, or are small breasted. If you are a pear or apple shape, this silhouette will draw attention to your top half, while hiding your hips and stomach area. Also a great option if you’re pregnant, due to the location of the waistline.

Avoid It: If you have an hourglass shape, this style will hide your fabulous waist. If you are large breasted, remember that this style will emphasis your bust and give the illusion that you are larger than you actually are.


Also known as a "Trumpet" silhouette. This style is figure-hugging until it reaches your knees, and then begins to flare, creating a shape similar to that of a mermaid's tail. This style is both glamorous and sexy. But beware, the tight nature of this design has been known to reveal embarrassing underwear lines - so choose your lingerie carefully!

Try It: A great choice if you have an hour-glass figure, as it will show off your natural curves. It can also give the illusion of added curves if you are slim / slender.

Avoid It: This style emphasises the lower leg, so it could be one to avoid if you are petite. Also, if you are pear-shaped, be aware that this style will draw a lot of attention to your hips. The figure hugging nature of this silhouette means it can be unflattering if you are fuller-figured, and is one to avoid if there are parts of your body you wish to hide. While this silhouette looks beautiful, it can be a little hard to sit in, and should be avoided if you will be kneeling.


Sometimes referred to as a "Column" silhouette, this style follows the line of your body, emphasising your natural shape. Unlike the A-Line and Ball Gown silhouettes, which have fuller skirts, the sheath has a straight skirt. This silhouette was first worn in the 1920s by flappers (young Western women who were flouting social norms), and, at the time, was considered "inappropriate" due to its tight-fitting nature. As a result, it did not gain popularity until the 1950s, when a more relaxed attitude to women's fashion meant that the sheath was considered an acceptable choice.

Try It: Ideal if you are slim / slender, as it will show off your toned figure. If you are a hourglass shape, and want to emphasise your curves, then this style may be for you, too. This style will look great on both tall and petite ladies.

Avoid It: This style should be avoided if you are pear shaped, apple shaped, or are full figured. Also, remember this style will hug your figure, so regardless of your shape or size, if you don't feel comfortable showing off your figure, or there are parts of your body you wish to hide, this is a style to avoid.

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