Shopping for the right clothing is never an easy task for petite women. When it comes to finding that ideal wedding dress for the most important day in your life, it is not as easy or glamorous as sipping on a glass of bubbly with your best girlfriends and waiting for the bridal shop assistants to bring that perfect dress in front of you. Well, it could be stressful and even difficult. It’s almost (kind of) like, finding your Mr. Right. When you find it, you know you have found it. The moment you try it on, you will know if it is for you or not. It is that intuitive. But, before that, you have to go through a ton of gowns, or even numerous bridal shops, in order to find the one. Are you hourglass shape? If you are not sure, take the quiz to find out what is your petite body type. Learning about what to look for that is specifically flattering for your body type when you are going to the bridal shops will save you a ton of time. Understanding your body shape and know what works and what doesn’t will definitely help you make the right decision for your big day. (Read more about How to Dress Petite Hourglass Figure, Best Wedding Dresses for Petite Brides, Best Petite Jeans for Your Body Type).
Now, let’s first take a look at your body type. If you have hourglass shape, your body generally have the following characteristics:
- Your hips and shoulders are well balanced, i.e. they are roughly about the same width. That is, your shoulder and hip measurements are within 5 % of each other. Many petite women with hourglass figure have round and sloping shoulders that align nicely with the hips.
- You have full chests and hips. Typical hourglass figure means you are quite well-endowed, which is one of your best assets.
- You have a well-defined waist line that is significantly smaller than your shoulders or hips. The rule of thumb here is 75%. That is, your waist is at least 25% smaller than your shoulder, hip and bust measurements. Normally, when translated into inches, that means your waist is 8 to 12 inches (or 25 to 30cm) smaller than the hip or bust measurement.
- You have a rounded bottom.
- You have a beautiful front and side profile. And, from top to bottom, your figure is in harmony and balance.
- You may have full thighs, but they are narrower than your high hips. You gain weight above hips and through waist.
Depending on height and proportions, hourglass shape can wear almost anything! Most silhouettes are going to look great because your body is going to bring any dress to life. That said, because you are also petite, you may want to consider a more elongating style such as a gown with asymmetrical or vertical elements. Opting for a simple V-neckline or one shoulder rather than a strapless neckline will do the trick. Although you can’t really go wrong with anything, you may want to avoid empire waists because they won’t showcase your slim waist- one of your biggest assets.
With an hourglass shape’s balanced proportions and defined waist, it’s hard to go wrong in terms of picking a silhouette. Most dress shapes will pair well with an hourglass figure, so it’s ultimately up to the bride to decide what you want to show off.
Trumpet Fit (or Fit-to-Flare): Presenting an exceptionally beautiful silhouette, these head-turning dresses are relatively form-fitting through the torso and hips, and then begin to flare out around mid-thigh. This creates a very flattering shape and provides enough room around the legs to walk comfortably. This is a nice option for hourglass shape brides who are looking for a formfitting dress that’s slightly easier to move in. Trumpet fit bridal gowns are sometimes referred to as “fit-to-flare” dresses as the straight-lined skirt subtly flares from the knee toward the hem in a trumpet shape. If you’re not comfortable showing off your shape, you may want to avoid this style.
Drop waist- Dropped waist is chic and contemporary. It drops and flares out slightly below the waistline around your hip area. Dropped waist designs can vary from simple and elegant to intricate and detailed. Many brides who want to showcase their hourglass shape choose dropped waist as they naturally create this silhouette. If you want to flaunt your shape, this is the style for you.
Mermaid style gowns is the most feminine style that flatters many different body shapes, and works perfectly for petite brides of hourglass shape. Curvaceous and very form fitting, this wedding dress style is typically for the very confident bride. Mermaid gowns hug the body all the way down to the knees, where the dress flares out. It hugs at the midsection and flares at the skirt like a fish tail. For petite brides who want to ditch the ball gown wedding dresses but still are interested in a little bit of drama, the mermaid style will make you feel glamourous walking down the isle and give you the moment of “red carpet” feel. Mermaid/Trumpet style emphasizes bust and hip, so they are the best wedding dresses for petite brides who want to show off their feminine curves. The flare skirt has moderate volume and will not overwhelm the petite frame of short brides. Look for elevated waistline (i.e. above your natural waistline) so that your legs will look longer. This is shows off ALL of a bride’s curves. It screams sophistication and elegance, yet can be chosen for a barefoot beach wedding or formal ball room affair. Perfect for brides with hourglass figures, but if you don’t want something tight, we would not recommend the mermaid.
Of course, as a petite bride, regardless you are hourglass shape or apple shape, you should also focus on how to look taller- a simple gown flatters a tiny figure. Subtle shoulder detail, like delicate cap sleeves –or opting for strapless-keeps the focus up and adds height.
If you are short, avoid exaggerated details. The point is to elongate the body, so proportion is very important here, as well- embellishments should flatter, not overwhelm you.
Chi is 5’2″ founder of Petite Dressing, an online petite clothing store dedicated to women under 5’4″. Petite Dressing blog is here to help you understand yourself, such as your petite body type, and look your best ever. If you are new, start here. Connect with me today by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.