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Bridal gowns styles lengths necklines waistlines

April 7, 2014 5:47 pmViews: 392

It’s all about the bridal gowns. Silhouettes, lengths, waistlines, necklines, sleeves, trains, bustles, veils, headpieces, gloves. And then it’s the fittings!
Bridal gowns styles lengths necklines waistlines photo by Tomas Ramos in Mexico.

Photo by Tomas Ramos of a bride’s gown in Mexico.


A-line – Originated by Christian Dior the skirt flares away from body from under arms to hem. Fitting through shoulders similar to the princess-line.

Ball gown – Narrow-waisted shape with a full, bell-shaped skirt supported by petticoats or hoops.

Empire – High waisted, with the skirt falling directly under the bust-line.

Princess-line – Fitted through shoulders and bodice, skirt flares gently outward; no waistline.

Sheath – Svelte, narrow-fitting shape that contours the body; no waistline.

Suit – Modern shape finished with a jacket or coat.

Bridal gowns don’t have to match every trend.

LENGTHS for bridal gowns.

Ballerina – Falls to or slightly below the center of the calf.

Floor – Most traditional length, rests about an inch from the floor.

Knee – Nontraditional length.

Mini – Above the knee; often chosen by second-time brides.

WAISTLINES for bridal gowns.

Basque – Sits at the natural waistline in the back ad dips lower to form a V-shape in the front.

Dropped – Falls below the natural waistline in classic flapper style.

Natural – Sits at the waist.

NECKLINES for bridal gowns.

Bateau – Shallow curve cut the same in front and back.

Illusion – High collar made of a sheer fabric such as net, point d’esprit, or chiffon; appears almost invisible.

Jewel – High, rounded neckline with no collar or binding.

Off-the-shoulder – Falls just below the shoulder, with a collar or sleeve on the arm.

Portrait – Open neckline with a high back, gathered in front above the bust-line.

Queen Anne – High at nape of neck; sweeps low in front.

Scoop – Low, curved sweep extending to the shoulders; may be cut deep in front, back or both.

Sweetheart – Low-cut, resembling the rounded curves of a heart.

V – Shaped like a V; cut deep or shallow in front, back or both.

Wedding band collar – High, fitted collar, popular in the 1890s.

Bridal gowns styles lengths necklines waistlines and more.

SLEEVES for bridal gowns.

Bishop – Full sleeve gathered into a band at the wrist.

Cap – Short sleeve that just covers the top of the arm.

Gigot – See leg o’mutton.

Juliet – Long, fitted sleeve with short puff at the shoulder.

Leg-o’-mutton – Wide and rounded at shoulder, fitting snugly on the lower arm; often called gigot.

Puff – Short, rounded sleeve; gathered at armhole or cuff.

Three-quarter – Ends just below the elbow; often finished with small cuff or band.

Wedding point – V-shaped extension of a long, fitted sleeve that comes to a point over the bride’s hand.

TRAINS & BUSTLES for bridal gowns.

Cathedral – Longer than one yard; reserved fro the most formal weddings.

Chapel – Formal; extends about one yard.

Court – Separate piece of fabric that falls from the shoulders.

Detachable – Normally attached at back of waist, but ma attach to the shoulders or wrap around the waist.

Sweep – Just brushes the floor.

Watteau – Cascades from the shoulders.

VEILS for bridal gowns.

Ballet – Comes to just an inch above the floor, also called waltz.

Bird cage – Stiff; cover the face, falls just below the chin.

Blusher – Loose, worn forward over the bride’s face or lifted back over the headpiece.

Cathedral – Falls 3 1/2 yards from the headpiece; ultra-formal.

Chapel – Falls 2 1/2 yards from the headpiece; formal.

Fingertip – Most popular style, reaches to the fingertips; therefore suitable for all but ultra-formal gowns.

Flyaway – Multiple layers that just brush the shoulders.

Waltz – See Ballet.

HEADPIECES for bridal gowns.

Floral wreath – Worn over the forehead or nestled in the hair.

Juliet cap – Fits tightly to crown of head; may be made entirely of pearls or jewels.

Mantilla – Lace veil worn surrounding face.

Profile – Decorative comb worn on one side of head as a result, silhouetting the face.

Tiara – Crown that rests on top of the head.

GLOVES for bridal gowns.

Match your gloves with the color of your dress. Gloves come in different lengths, fabrics, and patterns. The opening on the glove has to be large enough for you to slip your ring finger in.

Short wrist gloves are worn with long sleeves. Three-quarter or above-the-elbow are worn with sleeveless or strapless gowns. Opera length gloves add a note of formality to a gown, especially a long more-formal style. Wrist-length gloves are a charming touch for brides who favor a cocktail-length dress, especially strapless styles that have a ’60s styles retro look to them.

Another option for the bride is to take off both gloves during the exchange of rings and hand them along with her flowers to her Maid-of-Honor or a bridesmaid. This looks much better for photos than only taking one glove off or pushing the ring finger through an opening in the glove.

Source: The Wedding Dress by Maria McBride-Mellinger is available at (Random House ISBN 0-679-41884-9).

Related articles to read.
The Wedding Dress.
Shopping for Dresses.
Trains & Bustles.
Bridal Gown Fabrics.
Headpieces, Tiaras & Veils.

W&H | Bridal gowns styles lengths necklines waistlines and veil tips.


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