As New York is home to many bridal salons, it is also home to mermaids, among other styles sought by brides. Here’s a handy gown glossary to help you ask for the style you want and an explanation of what gets accentuated by the cut.
Ball gown: a gathered, full skirt, often topped by the bodice style described next.
Basque waist: The hem of the bodice comes to a point above a gathered, full skirt. It’s a fitted style that shows off your waist and adds some dress structure required for fuller figures. But, depending on how the skirt poufs out, it can accentuate the width of full hips.
Bias cut: Fabric is cut on the diagonal to skims curves. Such a cut may be preferred by petite women who want to avoid the little girl look of a puffed skirt and can carry off a slinky 1930’s style evening gown look. It won’t work for women who need extra support or who don’t want to reveal so much through their dresses. Also, you won’t have very much room to maneuver while dancing.
Column dress: Like the bias cut, it hugs the figure, but with a straight weft and vertical seams. It is flattering for slim women, both tall and petite. It is not flattering for women with full hips.
Empire waist: This style is a high waist; fabric is gathered under the bust, then falls in an A-line.This can be flattering to both slim and fuller figures, as it emphasizes the bust and de-emphasizes the hip. Be aware, though, that this style is sometimes associated with maternity dresses, particularly is the part below the waist is gathered in a way that it puffs out. This can be avoided by keeping a slim with a skirt that does not flare out too markedly.
Mermaid: This gown is fitted from the top through to just above the knees, at which point, it poufs out into the mermaid’s tail with puffed out fabric on the lower part of the skirt. A very similar style — the fishtail — dress is flatter at the front but flares at the back and sides. This style shows an hourglass figure to advantage, but its tight fit can be unflattering to a more generously proportioned figure, and you won’t have much wriggle room. The hips are particularly accentuated.
Princess cut: This styles dress is seamed with darts from bust to hips into an hourglass shape, a slimming effect that can also give the illusion of extra height. If you want a shaped look without the gathered skirt, this could work well for you, especially if you have want shape for curves without clinginess. But this style does not flatter a flat figure.
Surplice – the surplice bodice is created by the cross-wrapping of fabric in either the front or back. This could work well if your want something not too close to the body. But watch out that the extra fabric does not add bulk where you don’t want it.