A-line Originated by Christian Dior, skirt flares away from body from under arms to hem; fitted through shoulders. Similar to princess-line.

Ball gown Narrow-waisted shape with a full, bell-shaped skirt supported by petticoats or hoops.

Empire High-waisted, with the skirt falling from directly under the bustline

Princess-line Fitted through shoulders and bodice, skirt flares gently outward; no waistline. Also known as princess-cut.

Sheath Svelte, narrow-fitting shape that contours the body; no waistline.

Suit Modern shape finished with a jacket or coat.


Ballerina Falls to or slightly below the center of the calf.

Floor Most traditional length, rests about an inch from the floor

Knee Nontraditional length

Mini Above the knee; often chosen by second-time brides.


Basque Sits at the natural waistline in the back and dips lower to form a V-shape in the front.

Dropped Falls below the natural waistline in classic flapper style.

Natural Sits at the waist


Bateau Shallow curve cut the same in front and back.

Illusion High collar made of a sheer fabric such as net, point d'esprit or chiffon; appears almost invisible.

Jewel High, rounded neckline with no collar or binding.

Off-the-shoulder Falls just below the shoulder, with a collar or sleeve on the arm.

Portrait Open neckline with a high back, gathered in front above the bustline.

Queen Anne High at the nape of neck; sweeps low in front.

Scoop Low, curved sweep extending to the shoulders; may be cut deep in front, back, or both.

Sweetheart Low-cut, resembling the rounded curves of a heart.

V Shaped like a V; cut deep or shallow in the front, back, or both.

Wedding band collar High, fitted collar, popular in the 1890s.


Bishop Full sleeve gathered into a band at the wrist.

Cap Short sleeve that just covers the top of the arm.

Gigot See leg o'mutton.

Juliet Long, fitted sleeve with short puff at the shoulder.

Leg o'mutton Wide and rounded at shoulder, fitted snugly on the lower arm; also called gigot.

Puff Short, rounded sleeve; gathered at armhole or cuff.

Three-quarter Ends just below the elbow; often finished with small cuff or band.

Wedding point V-shaped extension of a long, fitted sleeve that comes to a point over the bride's hand.


Cathedral Longer than one yard; reserved for the most formal weddings.

Chapel Formal; extends about one yard.

Court Separate piece of fabric that falls from the shoulders.

Detachable Normally attached at back of waist, but may attach to the shoulders or wrap around the waist.

Sweep Just brushes the floor.

Watteau Cascades from the shoulders.


Ballet Comes to just an inch above the floor; also called waltz.

Bird cage Stiff; covers the face; falls just below the chin.

Blusher Loose, worn forward over the bride's face, or lifted back over the headpiece.

Cathedral Falls 3 1/2 yards from the headpiece; ultraformal.

Chapel Falls 2 1/2 yards from the headpiece; formal.

Fingertip Most popular style, reaches to the fingertips; suitable for all but ultraformal gowns.

Flyaway Multiple layers that just brush the shoulders.

Waltz See ballet.


Floral wreath Worn over the forehead or nestled in the hair.

Juliet-cap Fits tightly to crown of head; may be made entirely of pearls or jewels.

Mantilla Lace veil worn surrounding face.

Profile Decorative comb worn on one side of head silhouetting the face.

Tiara Crown that rests on top of the head.


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