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Serval Brides posing for photo with hands around each others' waist

Guide: Wedding Dress Waistlines

Your wedding gown’s waistline may be one of the most essential elements of getting a flattering fit. But it's something many brides may not even consider. Today, we're going to go over the 5 most common waistlines, what they do for your figure, and which waistline is best for your body type.

Wedding dress from Oscar de la Renta's first bridal collection in 2006

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Bride wearing Basque in forest wedding

Basque Waist

A basque waist sits slightly lower than a natural waistline. With the light v-shaped coming to a point at the center-front of the bodice, basque waistlines are romantic and usually appear on ball gowns and A-line dresses.

What It Does for Your Body

The point at the center of the waistline tends to elongate the bride’s silhouette for an ultra-feminine appearance.

Which Body Types Can Wear a Basque Waist?

Basque waistlines look best on the following body types:

  • Hourglass
  • Inverted triangle
  • Athletic
Bride wearing Dropped waistline by fire place

Dropped Waist

A dropped waist is the lowest type of waistline, sitting down around the hips. This type of waistline gives off a bit of a vintage flair. You’re most likely to find a dropped waist on trumpet gowns, A-line dresses, and some types of ball gowns.

What It Does for Your Body

A dropped waist tends to make your torso look longer while shortening the appearance of your legs. For brides with very short torsos and long legs, this waistline may be an excellent option to balance their proportions.

Which Body Types Can Wear a Dropped Waist?

Dropped waistlines look best on the following body types:

  • Hourglass
  • Inverted triangle
  • Athletic
NearlyNewlywed-Guide-WeddingDressWaist-Infograph-Empire

Empire Waist

An empire waist is the highest waistline, usually sitting just under the bust. This sweet and delicate waistline echoes the light-hearted, breezy fashions of ancient Greece and the Jane Austen era.

What It Does for Your Body

The empire waist shortens the appearance of the Torso and elongates the legs. When paired with some silhouettes like A-line or column skirts, an empire waist may also serve to camouflage a bride's belly.

Which Body Types Can Wear an Empire Waist?

Empire waistlines look best on the following body types:

  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Hourglass
  • Athletic
Bride wearing Natural waistline at wedding venue

Natural Waist

The natural waist is arguably the most common wedding dress waistline. Also known as a medium waistline, it is characterized by a seam that sits in the space between the rib cage and hip bones. It appears most often on A-line dresses and ball gowns.

What It Does for Your Body

The natural waist is popular because it usually emphasizes the smallest part of a bride’s body. This gives them a lovely balanced and proportionate look.

Which Body Types Can Wear a Natural Waist?

  • Pear
  • Hourglass
  • Inverted triangle
  • Athletic
Bride wearing Asymmetrical waistline at beach wedding

Asymmetrical Waist

An asymmetrical waist can sit almost anywhere on the bodice, but usually, it slants diagonally from the waist to the hips. This waistline adds a little bit of modern flair to virtually any silhouette. You're most likely to find asymmetrical waistlines on mermaid, trumpet, or A-line gowns. 

What It Does for Your Body

An asymmetrical waistline draws attention to your curves. Or, if you don't have many natural curves, it can give the illusion of curves. 

Which Body Types Can Wear a Natural Waist?

  • Hourglass
  • Pear
  • Inverted triangle
  • Athletic

See What Works for You

Remember, there are exceptions to every rule. Don't be afraid to try on different silhouettes with different waistlines and see what looks best. Ultimately, the most important thing is that you feel beautiful. 

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