There’s one trick that all stylish girls get right, whether it’s Cara Delevigne, The Duchess of Cambridge or Miranda Kerr – they dress for their body shape.

And if you’re thinking ‘well, that’s fine, all those girls have perfect figures and nothing to worry about’, then you’re wrong.

Everyone has parts of their body that they’re not so happy with, but these celebrities have learned to accentuate their good points and hide the bad.

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That’s a lesson you need to remember on your wedding day and it’s why we always say you should go wedding dress shopping with an open mind. Take an honest friend with you who’s going to give you a truthful opinion of how you look. Try on all the frocks suggested to you by the salesperson in the boutique, even if they’re not what you had in mind. You may be surprised.

Of course, there are masses of different styles of wedding dress and a large part of the design is created from the shape of the skirt. So here’s a guide to wedding dress skirt shapes so you can learn what might suit you best.

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Empire line

Falling directly from the bust line into loose folds, this shape suits shorter brides who are smaller ‘up top’. If you’re a bit pear-shaped, it’s perfect for you, because it will accentuate your small upper frame while hiding less-than-perfect hips and legs.

Fishtail

If you’re curvy with an hourglass shape (we’re thinking Kim Kardashian) then this style of skirt can be a knockout if you’ve got the confidence to carry it off. It’s a bit of a siren look – the top can be strapless or high necked and the bottom half accentuates your bottom, thighs and hips, fitting snugly into your curves.

Goddess

If you’ve been spending a lot of pre-wedding time in the gym and are proud of your fit and toned body, then take a look at this style. It’s a wedding gown with an asymmetric skirt that is twisted into a column that lightly clings to the body – usually in a fabric such as chiffon. If you’re fairly slim you could look like an elegant statue on your wedding day. These dresses usually come with varying neckline options; you could have strapless, one shoulder or capped sleeves and they can look perfect at a destination wedding.

Draped

If you’ve got a bit of a tummy that won’t seem to go away whatever you do (maybe you’ve had a baby recently or you’re in early pregnancy) a side-draped skirt can give you the camouflage you need. These wedding dresses have a skirt that is ruched and swagged over the waistline with the folds flowing fluidly down through the skirt. If you haven’t got much of a waist then this style will make the best of what you do have and you won’t feel you have to struggle with holding your tummy in all day.

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A-line

A wedding dress classic and it will suit every bride, whatever her size. From the fitted bodice, the skirt flares out on each side loosely (it’s the opposite of fitted) to flow (and cover any skinny or wobbly bits). This skirt always looks wonderful, so if you want to play it safe, try on a few dresses in this style and we’re sure you’ll be pleased with the result.

Bustle

Do you daydream about being a romantic heroine being swept away by the man of your dreams? Then maybe a bustle style skirt is for you. Fitted at the bodice with a flat front, a bustle skirt springs into life at the back with cascading frills, folds, flowers, lace – whatever you fancy. You’ll look amazing from the rear as you walk down the aisle and stand making your vows – so don’t choose a long veil that hides the bustle, you want to show it off in all its glory. You’ll need to be tall and fairly leggy to carry this off – it’s not a style for the small and curvy. Ian Stuart makes some amazing bustle dresses – perfect for daydreaming over.

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Ballerina

If your ankles and legs are one of your best features and you want more of a quirky look (perhaps you’re having more of a vintage style wedding) then consider a ballerina-length skirt (also sometimes known as tea length). These finish just below the knee, flaring out from the waist of a snug-fitting bodice. Again, you could have a coloured petticoat if you want to add an accent of colour and you might like to have a sash if you’re proud of your waist. It’s the perfect choice also if you’re having an evening party, because it’s easier to dance in than a traditional long wedding skirt.

Ballgown

If you want to sweep up the aisle in a cloud of tulle, then have a look at these. A ballgown shape is flattering to most (unless you’re very short) and won’t date in your wedding photographs. The full skirt will cover your pins and you may even decide to wear a hooped petticoat underneath to create a crinoline effect. In fact, with this style, you could add a quirky touch by having a coloured petticoat.

If you’re still dreaming of the one, our Wedding Dresses section has everything you need to find your perfect gown.

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