Contemporary Western wedding dress

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A bride in a contemporary version of the traditional long white wedding dress with train, tiara and white veil.
A fashion designer (right) walks with a model wearing a bridal dress created by her, 2016.

A contemporary Western wedding dress follows popular fashions in Western wedding gown selection from the year 2000 on. Dresses are usually white or ivory, and follow a pattern for popular silhouettes, necklines, and gown lengths.[citation needed] Modern bridal fashion is also characterised by specific styles of headpieces, lingerie, veils, and high heels.[citation needed]


Some of the most popular contemporary silhouettes include: A-line, above-the-knee, column, empire, meringue/bouffant, mermaid, princess, and trumpet.[1]

A dress or skirt silhouette that is narrower at the top, flaring gently wider toward the bottom thereby resembling the letter A. Works well on most figure types; good for disguising bottom-heavy figures.[2]
Can be recognized by their tent-like silhouettes, hemmed short above the knee.
In fashion, a column, similar to a sheath dress, is a type of dress designed to tightly fit the body. It is often made of a very light and thin material like cotton or silk, and rarely contains any flourishes. Unlike the shorter cocktail dress and the longer ballroom dress, a column dress typically falls around the knees or lower thighs, and can be either strapped or strapless.
A type of dress or top where the waist line is raised above the natural waistline, sometimes as high as right below the bust.
Characterized by a very full skirt that begins at the waist and continues to a formal length. It has a full bodice and a cinched waistline that falls into a full skirt.
The mermaid dress is close fitting through the bodice, down through the hips and to below the knees where the skirt flares out.
Designed to hang in smooth, close-fitting, unbroken lines from shoulder to flared hem.[3]
A straight skirt with a hem flounce that flares away from the body at the hem.[4]


Popular contemporary necklines types include: asymmetric, bateau, halter, jewel, off-the-shoulder, portrait, scoop, sheer, square, strapless, sweetheart, and v-neck. The neckline refers to the shape of the material at the top of the dress as it falls on the neck and shoulders.

Asymmetrical by its very definition means there is no symmetry or no balance. So this neckline appears different on either side of the centre front.
Also known as the "Boatneck". This is a wide, high neckline that follows the curve of the collarbone and ends in points on the shoulder seams.[5]
Necklines have a high panel on the front, which is then tied around the neck for support and, optionally, may be tied behind the neck or include a clasp, exposing the back and shoulders.[6]
A plain, slightly rounded neckline without a collar.[7] Also known as the T-shirt neckline, the jewel neckline is round and sits at the base of the throat.
This neckline sits below the shoulders, with sleeve-like straps that cover part of the upper arm. Shows off your collarbone and shoulders.
Characterised by a wide, soft scoop from shoulder to shoulder.
Also known as a "ballerina neckline", this U-shaped style is often cut low, and occasionally the scoop will continue on the back of the dress.
A neckline that is created by "sheer" or translucent fabric, such as lace or netting, rather than an opaque material or strap.
Spaghetti strap
This neckline is nearly strapless, except for the presence of thin, delicate straps; a bit like strings of spaghetti.
The neckline is cut straight across the top in between the straps, creating a "square"-like shape to the top of the dress.
A neckline that can be any shape, but is discerned by its lack of straps (neither over the shoulder, nor around the neck).
A neckline with a plunge in the front in the shape of the top of a heart.
A neckline characterized by a plunge in the front shaped like the letter "V".

Gown length[edit]

Characterized by a hemline that hits at the ankle.
Characterized by a hemline that hits the floor.
Characterized by a skirt that comes to the knee.
Characterized by a skirt that falls very high on the thigh, the shortest option.
Characterized by a skirt that falls in between the knee and high on the thigh (length in between a mini and a knee length).
Characterized by a skirt length that falls between a knee and ankle length, usually having a hemline at the mid-shin.


  1. ^ Brandon. "Common Motifs in the Modern Western Dress". Wedding Tropics. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Definition of A-line dress". 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  3. ^ "princess - definition of princess by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  4. ^ "Fashion Glossary". YouLookFab. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  5. ^ "Bateau neckline | Define Bateau neckline at". Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  6. ^ "Catwalking / glossary". Archived from the original on 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  7. ^ "jewel neck - Definition of jewel neck at". 2010-08-10. Retrieved 2010-09-08.