There is definitely no shortage of clothing options for the bride and groom on their big day. One of the best ways to begin the search is to use body type to find which styles might be the most flattering for both husband and wife. Remember, though, that suggestions are mere guideposts, and there’s a lot of exploring to be done along the way.

There is definitely no shortage of clothing options for the bride and groom on their big day. One of the best ways to begin the search is to use body type to find which styles might be the most flattering for both husband and wife. Remember, though, that suggestions are mere guideposts, and there’s a lot of exploring to be done along the way.

BRIDES

Body type: ATHLETIC
Jeanne Hennessey, owner of Lorraine Roy Designer Collections and Bridal Boutique in Danvers, Mass., said the athletic bride typically has broader shoulders and back, a well-defined waist and bigger thighs.

Recommendations
A-line or ballgown style: This silhouette accents the waist and allows more room for well-muscled legs, Hennessey said. Plus, the fullness on the bottom of the gown helps balance out broader shoulders and back.

Drop or ruched waist: This style, with a lower waistline or added pleating or gathering at the waist, can be combined with the fuller skirt to really draw attention to the waistline. Add a V-neck, in just the front or both front and back, to visually narrow the shoulders.

Classic styling
Lace lends an immediate traditional feel.
Skirts are cut much fuller.
A modified sweetheart neckline provides flattering shape.                                                

Trendy styling
Choose taffeta fabric for a modern vibe.
Large embellishments, such as flowers or feathers, are fresh for now.
Asymmetry, in the skirt or bodice, looks newer.



Body type: PEAR
This body shape is usually characterized by heavier proportions on the bottom half of the body, mostly in the hips and thigh area. Sometimes there can be a dramatic size difference in the body, like a size 6 on top and 14 on bottom, Hennessey said. What will look good depends on that difference.

Recommendations
Wide-neck or off-the-shoulder: The width of the straps helps draw attention upward and helps create a balance. This can also help the waist look smaller as it creates more of an hourglass shape.

Empire: This style draws attention to one of the smallest areas for most women, just below the bust line. The skirt should just “kiss” the hips, Hennessey said, so it doesn’t call attention to the width.

Classic styling
Chapel-length trains trail 3 to 5 feet behind the bride.
Choose a straight neckline with wide straps.
Pure white is a traditional choice.

Trendy styling
Change the neckline with a U-shape and thinner straps.
Keep the silhouette sleek and simple.
Trains are shorter, just enough to sweep the ground.


Body type: HOURGLASS
This is “the one everyone wants to be,” Hennessey said. This body style, which is balanced between top and bottom with a defined waist, can wear just about anything to accentuate those curves.

Recommendations

Sheath: This style was made for hourglass figures, Hennessey said. A sheath is basically a column of fabric that’s designed to hug a woman’s curves.

Mermaid: Named for the mythical creature it mimics, the mermaid dress is fitted through the bodice and hips and flares out dramatically in the lower part of the dress. A modified mermaid is similar but has less flare at the bottom.

Classic styling
Pick a mermaid with a straight-across neckline for classic fit.
Add a touch of lace for tradition.
Keep the skirts very full.

Trendy styling
Use color to accent a tiny waist.
Keep beading to one area to draw attention.
Modified sweetheart neckline with a halter showcases the shape.



Body type: PETITE
In general, petite women are those who are 5-feet, 5-inches tall and shorter. The biggest challenge for these women is to find dresses that don’t look as if they are wearing too much fabric, Hennessey said. Most gown designers cut dresses for women 5-feet, 8-inches tall and higher to allow enough length, but some designers do offer petite sizes.

Recommendations

Sheath: This body-hugging style, when accented with ruching through the bodice, waist and hip area, creates a column-like effect that is especially lengthening. Since the sheath is slender, the fabric never overwhelms the petite figure.

Modified mermaid: Particularly friendly to the very slender frame, this silhouette creates curves. Especially flattering is a style with a yoke and ruching at the waist to create even more shape.

Classic styling
Lovely lace layers keep tradition alive.
A longer train emphasizes length.
A straight neckline is flattering and formal.

Trendy styling
Choose a V-neck with wide-set straps to draw the eye upward.
Champagne, blush and ivory are all big for brides now.
Simple, sleek silhouettes keep the look lean and long.


GROOMS

Body type: TALL/HUSKY
This groom has broader shoulders and a muscular frame, according to information on Jimsformalwear.com, the Web home of Jim’s Formal Wear Co., with corporate offices in Trenton, Ill. The term “tall” typically refers to men who are 6 feet in height or taller, said Anna Kuhn, marketing analyst with Jim’s Formal Wear.

Recommendation
Shawl-collar or slim-collar tuxedo: This is traditionally a single-button, single-breasted style of jacket that elongates the torso, creating a leaner look. The shawl collar is generally not notched.

Classic styling
Accessorize with subdued colors like black or silver.
Choose a cummerbund and bow tie combination.
Add classic black patent leather shoes.

Trendy styling
Choose a microfiber shirt instead of cotton for a plain front.
A fullback vest is a modern addition.
Snakeskin patent leather shoes add a new twist.


Body type: TALL/SLIM
At 6-feet tall and higher, this body type can wear almost any style. Kuhn said a man wearing a suit coat size 42 to 44 or lower would be considered slender. Also, waist measurements would generally be 36 inches or less, she said.

Recommendation
Anything: Jimsformalwear.com recommends a high shoulder line and jacket buttons closed up high on the waistline. Garments should be full, while still following the lines of the body, and trousers should have a higher rise with more of a break in the pant.

Classic styling
White tie events can accessorize with pique vest and tie.
Top hat, cane and gloves are also options for white tie.
Black tie calls for -- what else? -- a black tie and cummerbund.

Trendy styling
Accessorize with paisley or striped Windsor ties.
A fedora can bring a note of playfulness to formal attire.
Choose a tuxedo style with a subtle stripe to add interest.


Body type: SHORT/SLENDER
Men considered “short” generally fall in the height range of 5-feet, 8-inches and shorter, said Kuhn. Slender is considered a waist of 36 inches or less or jacket size of 42 to 44 or less.

Recommendation
Single-breasted jacket: The lines of this jacket elongate the torso, visually adding length. Double-pleated trousers that break slightly on top of the shoe and taper downward in back complete the look.

Classic styling
A shirt with a wing collar – high in back with the front edges folded down to resemble wings – is traditional.
Add a solid Windsor tie, named for the wide-triangular knot that forms it.
Solid patent leather shoes are the final touch.

Trendy styling
A snappy hat with matching band and scarf can add a jolt of color and personality.
Choose a striped or paisley tie for pizzazz.
Microfiber instead of classic cotton is a trendy shirt choice.


Body type: SHORT/STOCKY
While shorter than 5-feet, 8-inches tall, this groom is also muscular, with an athletic build that has broader shoulders and chest. Typically, men in this range wear a suit jacket size 46 and higher, Kuhn said.

Recommendation
Slim-collar tuxedo: This single-breasted style has a slimmed-down collar that doesn’t add more width to the shoulder and chest area. Instead, the look elongates visually.

Classic styling
Stick to classic black for cummerbund and bow tie, as color can add width.
A pleated laydown collar shirt keeps the line long.
A pocket square adds a nice finishing touch without adding bulk.

Trendy styling
A fullback vest and bow tie add updated style.
A microfiber shirt eliminates pleats that can add bulk.
Tone-on-tone shoes are a great final accessory.







RAIL

Mistakes not to make

Joanne Stoner, CEO and founder of eDressMe.com, weighs in on the four biggest mistakes brides make when choosing their gowns.

Keep the focus on the bride.
When a bride-to-be first walks out in a dress, let the first words come from her, not onlookers.

Set aside enough time
Don’t rush the dress selection; try on different styles and designs.

Gauge the wedding mood
Will the day be elegant? Playful? Sexy? Choose the dress with that in mind.

Make it comfortable
An uncomfortable dress will be a major distraction on a day full of memories.