Your Guide to Finding the Best Wedding Dress Neckline for Your Body Type
"Since every woman has an individual body type, knowing your body and embracing it will help decide what fits best," says designer Galia Lahav of finding the perfect dress. We couldn't agree more.
Of course, it's easier said than done. If you still haven't embarked on what could be the most stressful, overwhelming, and drama-induced shopping experience of your life, take it from us—you could make it less painful by doing your homework in advance and knowing what looks best on you. Are you a fit-and-flare kind of gal? Is your venue calling for a cathedral train? Veil or no veil? And of course, the neckline together with the silhouette are probably the most essential features of your wedding dress.
As Lauren Crispin, co-owner of The Mews Bridal, puts it: "While you might be in love with the idea of a plunging V-neck, your body shape might suit a flatter, off-the-shoulder look. Once you find one or two necklines that work for you, make sure you tell your stylist immediately–they should then be able to focus on the right dresses for you."
A lot of women think of weddings and their dress, in fictitious, almost mythical terms, and it becomes more about portraying an image (a princess, old-Hollywood glamour etc) as opposed to showing up as who you truly are. As a result, you could end up looking like a completely different person, and that, in most cases, looks and feels awkward and unnatural. So go for something that is comfortable and flattering.
Without further ado, here's everything you need to know about wedding dress necklines and how to choose the most appropriate one for you, according to industry professionals.
“A high neckline is a bride’s most sophisticated option,” says designer Madeline Gardner. She likes to spice up this style with embellishments and lace appliqués for a refined look.
This type of neckline also calls for less jewelry and an updo. You could accessorize your hairstyle with a beautiful hairpin or opt for statement earrings.
“One of the most popular necklines because of its ability to be universally flattering,” say designers Valerie and Stephanie Chin of Val Stefani.
“For the busty bride it enhances your natural curves while for brides with smaller assets the heart shape line creates the illusion of a larger bust. Sweetheart necklines also come in different forms from the more model soft sweetheart to the daring plunging deep sweetheart.”
We love the classic combination of a mermaid-style fit and a sweetheart-neck—it’s flattering and so sexy.
Speaking of sexy, a deep V-neck will definitely increase the hot factor.
“The timeless V-neck is the ultimate effortless look, the lower the V-neck, the sexier the bride – this works especially with smaller cleavage, and it allows the bride to play around with small gold jewelry such as long necklaces with beautiful details,” says Rime Arodaky.
Another advantage to wearing a V-neck gown is that it elongates the silhouette, according to Crispin. “It will make round face shapes seem more oval and petite brides appear a bit taller,” she adds.
“Boatnecks are inherently graceful, and remind me of Audrey Hepburn’s signature style,” Crispin adds. She suggests keeping it simple when it comes to accessories. “A popular choice is to add some modest stud earrings.”
If you have broad shoulders, designer Galia Lahav suggests opting for a halter neck.
“The halter top accentuates the figure of the body and lightens up the broadness of the shoulders. It also works well with taller brides and flatters the upper body. For shorter brides the halter top can generate a taller figure and emphasize the neck for a longer silhouette,” she says.
As far as accessorizing this type of neckline goes, you can save yourself the expense for a sparkly necklace.
“Match the dress with a pair of statement or drop earrings. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple and let the dramatic neckline speak for itself,” adds Crispin.
This type of neckline is best for women with athletic, pear, hourglass and petite shapes, says Crispin. “This deeper, wider neckline style will draw the eye downward, lengthening your neck and accentuating your collarbone,” she adds.
“This oh-so romantic neckline is fun and flirty and accentuates the collarbone and shoulders,” say the Chin sisters. “This neckline evokes an old Hollywood vibe as it was favored by Hollywood beauties like Audrey Hepburn and Ava Gardner.”
The only thing, they warn, to be aware of is that this neckline has some restrictions on arm mobility.
It’s important to think about how your dress will look like from the back.
“The backless neckline can be sexy, elegant, classy, and edgy, a perfect silhouette for any kind of bride,” says Lahav.
Of course, you still need to be mindful of your venue. If you’re getting hitched in a church or another place of worship, either consider covering up with a jacket or opt for a semi-backless style.