Style Guide – Wedding Dresses

Models  wearing a selection of Bridal Reloved dresses
Models wearing a selection of Bridal Reloved dresses

Hello All,

Wedding dresses that’s our game here at Bridal Reloved.

Whether you want sleek and simple, a dramatic long train or a full on princess effect, we have something that suits everyone’s taste. However, what if you are not so well versed in the styles of dress available? You can get lost in a minefield of too much choice. Sometimes you can be adamant that a particular style isn’t for you and then end up walking down the aisle in that exact style. Some of our brides want to cover up and some want to show it off. Whatever you want to do, there is a shape and style out there for you.

I thought this week I’d briefly take you through some of the styles that are available to give you a glance at guide. Now we have found over the years that people can get confused between similar styles i.e. Mermaid/Fishtail/ A-line/Ball gown. We are not the fashion police and hope this “guide” is useful. It’s meant to be exactly that, just a guide. There are some styles that may look the same, but it is the subtle variations that can make a dress look completely different, but at the end of the day there is no substitute for actually going into a store and trying on a few styles to learn what you love. The key thing is to keep an open mind and not rule anything out before you’ve even got your coat off.

A Line

A-line dresses are the ones that you are likely to have seen the most of. It’s a very distinctive pattern, it fits you right at the waist then tends to flare out as you get towards the hem. This style was very prominent in the 1950s, not just for wedding dresses but for prom dresses and tea dresses (**tip – if you can’t find a tea length that you love, find an A-line and have it chopped), a lot of the female fashions tended to follow this style. The A-line is a popular gown in-store and reason for this is that they look good on most body types. This style can generally hide a multitude of sins at the same time as making you look and feel like a million dollars.

An image of an A-Line dress
A beautiful A-Line dress from our Beverley store
Image of various A-Line dresses
A selection of A-Line dresses from our three stores

Ball gowns

Similar to A-line but more dramatic. Instore we like to call these dresses ‘full on Princess Dresses’. Think of all your favourite Disney characters from your youth, Belle from Beauty and the Beast and obviously Cinderella et al. As with the A-line, this type of gown looks wonderful on most shapes and sizes although it helps if you have some height as this can better highlight the effect of the full skirt when it is flared out. If you are shorter than average then this style may drown you a little, unless you tone down the puffiness at the alteration stage. This dress nips in at the waist and can give the illusion of a corset even if you aren’t wearing one.

An image of a ball gown wedding dress
A Ball gown from our Dorchester store.
An image of a selection of ball gowns
A selection of ball gowns fom our three stores.


Mermaid/fishtail dresses are a relatively new phenomenon. Following on from the Princess Diana look in the 80s and the Victoria Beckham ‘crumb-catcher’ creation in the late 90s, some 21st century brides are looking for a sexier yet elegant bridal look. Mermaid/fishtail dresses have really captured the imagination because a lot of celebrity brides are opting for this look. It’s a very tight-fitted dress that sits on all your curves until it gets to just above the knee when it flares out. A mermaid dress is not for all figures, it is a style that can look sensational on someone who has a toned, curvy silhouette as the tailoring can accentuate the line of their body.

An image of a Mermaid/Fishtail dress.
A gorgeous Mermaid/Fishtail dress from our Dorchester store.
A selection of Mermaid/Fishtail dresses from our three stores
A selection of Mermaid/Fishtail dresses from our three stores


Empire line, traditionally known as the last bastion of maternity wear. However this is not the case, please don’t let it put you off. Empire lines have been and still remain a fashion classic. The skirt flows gracefully, it doesn’t cling. It is a very relaxed style. Many women with a smaller bust often worry about not having ‘enough’ to fill in a dress, however an empire line is the answer to that. As the waistline starts just under the bust, it gives you some lift and can draw people’s eyes to your neckline. It’s a very flattering shape for a petite frame

An image of a Jenny Packham Empire line gown.
A stunning Jenny Packham Empire line gown from our Dorchester store.
An image of a selection of Empire line dresses
A selection of some beautiful Empire line dresses from our three stores.

Fit To Flare

A fit to flare looks fab-u-lous on someone who wants to flaunt what she has got. They cling and follow the natural curve of the body. If you have a lean, athletic or hourglass body then this style is made for you. This style of dress can often be strapless or backless so they are ideal for someone who can get away with not wearing a bra. This shape fits close to the body and flares out below the hips anywhere on the thigh. A dropped waist dress could fit in to this category too.

An image of a Fit To Flare dress.
An example of a gorgeous Fit To Flare dress from our Beverley store.
An image of a selection of Fit To Flare dresses
A selection of Fit To Flare dresses in our three stores

These are the five main styles of dress we have in-store. Like I said before you before you should try on a few styles just to get a feel of how comfortable you feel in each one. If you know that you don’t feel comfortable without a bra then a fit to flare isn’t for you, likewise if you want a dramatic ‘wow’ factor look then you know you definitely want a ball gown style dress.

I hope this has helped, if you want more help or advice then please feel free to contact one of our stores, we will be more than happy to assist you. We update our dresses weekly on our website so it’s always worth a look, you never know when your dream dress will come in. Remember if you want my weekly update to come straight to your inbox, please sign up and subscribe, and Twitterers come and find me @zbridalreloved

Speak soon,

Zarina xx

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