I enjoy writing articles that help women feel more comfortable in their own skin and clothing.
If anyone tells you to just go with your heart and buy whichever wedding dress you like the most, that could possibly be very bad advice. When it comes to choosing a wedding dress, short women are not as genetically lucky as their taller fellow brides-to-be. Those long legs and high torsos tend to look nice, or at least alright, in all types of dresses: mermaid, ball gown, babydoll, A-line, you name it. They can wear them all and pull them off. It's no wonder why the average height of fashion models is 5 foot 10.
Short women (including moi!), unfortunately, don't have that advantage. If you're short, you have to be more careful and finicky about selecting your dress in order to look your best on your special day. Certain styles of wedding dresses can add some visual height to your body, while some may not make you appear any taller but simply flatter your petite size. But, if you choose the wrong wedding dress for your body type, it could really work against your small figure.
Best Wedding Dresses for Short Women
A-Line or Princess
There's a good reason why the A-line silhouette is the most popular among all types of wedding dresses; it looks beautiful on any body type. An A-line dress is fitted around the bodice and flares just right below the waistline. Narrow-framed short women who want to create the illusion of extra height and curves will certainly love this wedding dress style. Besides making a petite figure appear taller and fuller, it also works marvels for pear-shaped women who wish to hide their large hips.
Charmingly simple and Victorian-inspired, most empire wedding dresses are slightly flared and made of flowy fabric. It is tight-fitted around the chest, and the rest of the dress flows down from right below the bustline. The high-waist silhouette subtly "adds" a few inches to your legs.
If you want to embrace your smallness instead of trying to appear taller, however, a knee-length or tea-length empire dress with a crinoline underneath is a lovely choice. It is sometimes called a "babydoll dress," and makes petite women look nothing but adorable. Brides with small busts tend to like this style of wedding dress a lot, as it visually enhances their upper section. And for short women with thick waists, an empire dress can nicely conceal that fullness in the mid area.
Close-fitted all the way from the top to the bottom hem, sheath dresses are great for slender short women who want to boast their slim hips. Plus, the lengthy tube-like shape of a sheath dress can visually elongate your body by one or two inches. However, I have to warn you it's not the most comfortable dress style to wear. So if you're planning for some "serious" dancing at the reception party, a knee-length sheath dress is probably better than a full-length one.
Unflattering Wedding Dress Styles for Short Women
A ball gown is similar to an A-line or princess wedding dress, except that the skirt is much fuller. Think of what Cinderella wears to the ball; that's it. Why is it not so flattering for short women? Well, even though it is a very elegant style, it doesn't create a lengthy flowy line from the top to bottom like an A-line wedding dress does. The skirt of a ball gown usually resembles a huge upside-down bowl, which doesn't add much visual height and can appear too overwhelming on a small frame.
A mermaid wedding dress is basically a sheath dress with a fishtail. It is not ideal for petite brides, especially those with very short legs or large midsections. The flare at the knees visually divides the lower body into two parts, and that could make short legs look even shorter than they already are. One way this type of dress can work on a petite frame is to keep the fishtail small and modest. The larger and more extravagant, the less flattering it will be on short women.
missioneventsaz from Arizona on June 07, 2012:
Great advice for petite women!
Om Paramapoonya (author) on December 28, 2011:
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Thanks! I'll post some pics on FB :)
anglnwu on December 27, 2011:
Haha, let's call ourselves petite--we may not be very tall but we're skinny. Good luck on your dress--send pictures.
Om Paramapoonya (author) on December 27, 2011:
@Healingwords - Thanks, Ann. And yep, having another dress for the reception party is also a good solution to the sheath dress issue! :)
@randomcreative - Yeah, I agree it seems like lots of dresses at most wedding boutiques are made for tall women. I'm glad you found this hub helpful. :)
@anglnwu - You're short, too? Now that's one more thing you and I have in common besides the fact that we're both from the Teochew clan and have a significant other named Steve! hehehe
anglnwu on December 26, 2011:
Om,gosh, you're almost there. Thankfully, there's a wedding dress for everyone, even short women (me included too...sigh). Good tips and rated up.
Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 26, 2011:
As someone who is short and doesn't like shopping for dresses in general because so many of them are made for taller women, I really appreciated this! Thanks for the great tips.
healingsword on December 26, 2011:
Sigh!! Lovely dresses displayed and an informative Hub. Good advice for those of us under 5'5". Regarding the problem with a long sheath wedding dress at the reception--one could always change to something looser for that, for easier dancing...