Style Decision – Waistline
Just as bridal gowns come in a variety of different silhouettes, they also come with a variety of different waistlines. The waistline on a dress separates the top of the gown from the bottom by separating the bodice from the skirt. It is important for brides to understand the visual effect of the different types of waistline, as each type of waistline will help emphasise or disguise various parts of the body. The various types of waistline are shown below, starting with the highest waistline and moving down to the lowest
The highest waistline on a wedding gown is the Empire Line. This is when the waistline is moved upwards from the natural waistline to just under the bust. This is the key feature of Empire Line dresses and is often present in ‘Grecian’ style or Column dresses. The waistline is defined by a line of beading, a thin belt, a stitch line or a thick band. This waistline works well for brides who want to avoid drawing attention to the tummy or hip areas.
The next waistline down is the most obvious – the natural waistline. This is roughly mid-way between the bust and the hips and is often the smallest part of a woman’s torso. Designers highlight and show off the natural waistline through the use of a belt or band, or simply by the dress fitting tightly around the defined waist. This waistline is mostly seen on A-Line, Ball Gown and Fishtail silhouettes. Brides who are looking to skim over hips and thighs should look for this waistline in their dress choices.
The third type of waistline is called a Princess waist. Although the natural waist is still highlighted by the fitted bodice, the waistline is moved down to the top of the hip, where the dress then flares out to a full skirt. Due to the nature of the fullness of skirt needed, this waistline is particularly suited to the Ball Gown silhouette. The Princess Waist suits brides who want to show off their curves or their hourglass figure.
The Basque waist is the next type of waistline. This waistline starts on the outside of the body at the top of the hip, and curves down in towards the centre of the body meeting at mid to low hip level. This can take two forms in the shape of a ‘U’ or a ‘V’. If the waistline is curved then it is known as a ‘U’ shaped Basque, but if the line is straight, it is known as a ‘V’ shaped Basque. This waistline is defined by a seam, often covered by beading or embroidery, and usually defines the bodice from the skirt if the dress is all in one fabric. This type of waistline is most commonly seen on A-Line or Ball Gown silhouettes.
The final form of waistline present on a bridal gown is the Dropped waist. This waistline is moved from the natural waist to the mid hip or below. It is found on a variety of dress silhouettes, the most common being the fishtail or the trumpet style. It is also found on a number of A-Line, Ball Gown and Column dresses. Although the natural waist is still highlighted in many of the styles, as the bodice is nipped in at the waist, the actual waistline falls below that, showing the separation between the bodice and the skirt. Brides with confidence in their curves can opt for this style, as it shows off the figure right down to the thighs.
To see more dresses with a variety of waistlines from a range of designers, click here.