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Fashion Help & Tips

Dress Silhouettes

Silhouette refers to the overall cut of a gown. It's the most vital element to focus on, because a gown's shape is its foundation - it's what sets the mood for the entire garment. The fitted bodice and full bell-shaped skirt of the ball gown, for example, gives a princess-like presence. More form-fitting styles, like the A-line and sheath, offer a different appeal. The A-line elongates the line of the body, adding a classical elegance and the illusion of length. While the sheath ups the ante on wedding-dress sex appeal, creating a sleek and modern option for the more daring bride.

Gino Cerruti dress silhouettes

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The Ball Gown

The most traditional of all shapes, the ball gown is typified by a fitted bodice and natural or dropped waistline that leads to a very full skirt. Pleats or gathers in the skirt are what make it a ball gown.

Good for: Skinny minnies (adds curves) and pear shapes (the skirt hides everything).

Bad for: The petite (the excess fabric can overwhelm tiny frames) and those with a lot on top (you might end up looking round)

Gino Cerruti ball gown

Full

This is the most traditional and one of the most glamorous styles. It designed to make the bride look extra special. The dress has a fitted bodice and is typified by its floating full skirt that brushes the floor.

Gino Cerruti Full Silhouette

The Sheath

A modern sexier take on the traditional wedding gown, the sheath is characterised by a slim profile that closely follows the curves of the body.

Good for: The tall and thin as well as the slim and petite (the lean shape adds length).

Bad for: Anyone who feels like they have something to hide (we repeat: lean shape)

Gino Cerruti Sheath

The A-Line

As its name implies, the A-line cut is narrow at the top, cut close to the ribcage, and extends out along the body in the shape of a triangle (or 'A') in a smooth, elongated line. It is perhaps the most popular skirt option, as it looks wonderful on a variety of body types.

Good for: most body types.

Bad for: almost no one.

Gino Cerruti A-Line

Princess

This style flows from the fitted bodice to skirt without defining lines which makes it look great on nearly all shapes and sizes. It is particularly good for brides who may have shorter torsos, as it elegantly elongates the frame.

Gino Cerruti Two Piece Straight

Bias Cut

This style is perfect for brides with petite frames. The narrow figure-hugging bodice dramatically flows out from the knee to provide a beautiful fish tail effect train.

Gino Cerruti Two Piece Straight

Wedding Dress Trains

A train can completely transform your look, no matter what shape your dress is. It allows you to change the feel of your outfit from ceremony to reception. The train is simply the elongated back portion of the gown that lies on the floor and trails behind the bride, the added weight demanding a tall and majestic stance. Trains date from the Middle Ages, when the length worn at court indicated a person's social rank. The premise being the wealthier you were, the more fabric you could afford. Today, gowns with long chapel and cathedral trains are considered the most formal, lending themselves to bustling following the ceremony. Watteau trains (which spill from the shoulder) and court trains (which start from the waist) are less formal. The sweep gently puddles about a foot behind the wearer, and the detachable train - which can be any length and either a flat panel or gathers of fabric - is generally attached to the gown at the waist with buttons or hooks, then later removed to be a bit less informal and not as imposing.

Gino Cerruti dress traines

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Sweep

The shortest train, extending back one-and-a-half feet or less from where the gown hits the floor. Also known as a "brush".

Gino Cerruti ball gown

Cathedral

A very formal option, the Cathedral extends six-and-a-half to seven-and-a-half feet from the waist.

Gino Cerruti Cathedral

Monarch

Also known as royal, this version extends twelve feet or more from the waist. Managing such a huge amount of fabric often requires pages (young boys), who hold up the train as you walk down the aisle - very regal.

Gino Cerruti Monarch

Dress Sleeves

Wedding dress sleeves have more impact than you may first realise. They can add interest to a bodice and provide balance for a skirt. Once closely linked to season, the selection of sleeve style is now largely a matter of how much - or how little - skin the wearer is willing (or allowed!) to show. Both options can be equally dramatic. Long-sleeved styles designed for maximum flair include the Juliet: a long, fitted sleeve with a short puff at the shoulder; and the bell, a sleeve narrow at the armhole and then wide at the wrist. On the other spectrum are alluring super-spare styles such as the petal and the cap, both of which offer just enough material to cover the shoulder. Sleeves don't have to be made from the same fabric as the gown, often they are made of tulle, lace, or illusion netting, which create a 'barely there' effect even when the sleeves are long.

Gino Cerruti dress traines

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Cap

A small sleeve, shorter and more rounded than a T-shirt sleeve, covering just the shoulder. The cap is best on women with fairly slender or well-toned upper arms.

Gino Cerruti ball gown

Petal

This is a short sleeve that criss-crosses over the bicep of the arm and is also known as the tulip sleeve.

Gino Cerruti Cathedral

T-Shirt

Ending midway between the elbow and the wrist, this sleeve style has made a big comeback in the fashion world. It's an elegant look in bridal wear as it's cool, yet covered.

Gino Cerruti Watteau

Long / Illusion

Long sleeves on gowns aren't a prevalent as they used to be, but one popular option is the 'illusion' sleeve, made of a totally sheer fabric, which will make you feel covered up, though you won't necessarily look it.

Gino Cerruti Two Piece Straight

Dress Necklines

The neckline is a very important feature on a wedding dress. Not only is it the part of the dress people spend the most time looking at, but it's also the one that draws attention to the face, the collarbone, and the décolletage (the low-cut neckline on a woman's dress). Some necklines - the bateau, jewel, and high collar - sit high on, or even cover the collarbone. Others - the portrait, sweetheart, scoop, keyhole, and strapless - are better known for what they leave bare. Because of its prominence, many brides use the neckline to add character to a gown, whether it's to show off an accessory, or to highlight a particular figure feature.

Gino Cerruti dress necklines

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High Collar

A band collar that extends up the neck. The mandarin version of this style is taken from traditional Asian dress, and doesn't quite meet at the centre front.

Good for: Just about anyone who desires an elongated effect. It's also very flattering with an updo.

Not good for: Those with a wider neck, where the fit may be too snug.

Gino Cerruti high collar

Sweetheart

A low-cut neckline shaped like the top half of a heart, accentuating the décolletage. Often done with an overlay of sheer material that rises higher, elongating the torso and neck.

Good for: Larger chest sizes (for a stylish display).

Not good for: Smaller chest sizes.

Gino Cerruti sweetheart

Bateau

This wide-necked shape follows the curve of the collarbone, almost to the tip of the shoulders. The Sabrina version - made popular by actress Audrey Hepburn - is sleeveless; the front and back panels just touch at the shoulders, sometimes with thin straps.

Good for: The bony and flat chested (boosts the bust).

Not good for: Brides on the busty side (you don't want too much cleavage!).

Gino Cerruti Bateau

Scoop

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.

Good for: Everyone.

Gino Cerruti Scoop

Jewel

Also known as the T-shirt neckline, the jewel neckline is round and sits at the base of the throat.

Good for: The flat chested (makes you bustier) and the collarbone conscious (hides deep hollows).

Not good for: The larger breasted.

Gino Cerruti Jewel

Square

The name gives this one away: the neckline is cut straight across the front.

Good for: the bust-endowed (it cuts low, but isn't revealing).

Not good for: almost no one.

Gino Cerruti Square

Portrait

Characterised by a wide, soft scoop from shoulder to shoulder.

Good for: Great collarbones (shows them off).

Not good for: Undefined or bony collarbones, as the scoop only highlights this area.

Gino Cerruti Portrait

Halter

The halter features straps that wrap around the neck, or a high neck with deep armholes. This is often backless.

Good for: Great shoulders.

Not good for: broad or narrow shoulders or anyone who needs the support of a bra.

Gino Cerruti Halter

Spaghetti Strap

This neckline is nearly strapless, except for the presence of thin, delicate straps. A bit like strings of spaghetti, funnily enough!

Good for: Small to medium breasts.

Not good for: Large breasts or broad shoulders.

Gino Cerruti Two Piece Straight

Strapless

Guess what, there are no straps on this style... The bodice is usually cut straight across, but it can also peak on the sides or have a slight dip in the center.

Good for: Broad or thick shoulders.

Not good for: Smaller chests (unless you're wearing a push up bra).

Gino Cerruti Two Piece Straight

Asymmetrical

Asymmetrical by it's very definition means there is no symmetry or no balance. So this neckline appears different on either side of the centre front; one example is a one-shoulder design.

Good for: Great collarbones, the bra-free.

Not good for: The bra-dependent or those with broad shoulders.

Gino Cerruti Two Piece Straight

Dress Waistlines

We all know where the waistline is on our body, and most of us would probably like it a bit smaller. But in wedding dress terms (technically speaking), the waistline of the wedding dress is the horizontal seam that joins the bodice and skirt. Along with the neckline and sleeves, the waistline works to add signature style to a particular silhouette. It's also the element responsible for bringing shape and balance to your wedding dress. For example, the elongate V-shape of a Basque waist beautifully reins in a full ball gown, while the natural waist on an A-line dress will subtly highlight the gentle curve of the design. Waistlines can also be used to manipulate gown proportion. Dropped waists help create the illusion of a longer torso, while high Empire-style waists are favoured for their slimming properties.

Gino Cerruti dress necklines

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Empire

The Empire features a seam based high on the waist, just below the bust line. The skirt falls in a slight A-line.

Good for: Brides with a smaller bust (adds emphasis); the waist-minimising cut allows extra room for brides who want to divert attention away from their tummy or are pregnant.

Not good for: Brides with a big bust (it tends to make you appear top-heavy) or full hips.

Gino Cerruti Empire

Natural

The seam of this waistline lies, as the name implies, at the natural waist, which is the indentation between the hip and ribcage.

Good for: Almost everyone.

Not good for: Anyone wider around the middle.

Gino Cerruti Natural

Dropped

The dropped waist falls several inches below your natural waistline.

Good for: Elongating the torso.

Not good for: Those with narrow shoulders (gives you an A shape) or long waists (adds extras length).

Gino Cerruti Dropped

Basque

The Basque waist forms an elongated triangle beneath your own natural waistline. This style diminishes the width of the dress at the waist.

Good for: Full or hourglass figures and those seeking less emphasis on the hips.

Not good for: Large tummies or the pregnant.

Gino Cerruti Basque

Dress Skirts

Whether full or flared, the skirt is where much of a gown's personality can be found. A few well-placed details can add length and volume, romance and depth, making the difference between a gown that's average and one that's jaw-droppingly stunning. Some skirt details - strategically placed slits or pleats - can make the wedding dress more sexy; others, such as delicate flounces, can make it more poetic. Techniques like folds or draping, as well as overskirts and overlays, can add visual interest, while shapes like the mermaid and trumpet are pure drama. The bustle, for example, is where yards of fabric at the back of the skirt are gathered up and secured - a process known as 'bustling' - with a few discreet buttons or hooks following the ceremony or the first dance. The results in swaths of fabric that add fullness and fun once the formalities are completed. The length of your dress can dictate the formality of your wedding. Generally speaking, the longer the dress, the more formal the affair; floor-length is considered the most formal. Gowns that fall anywhere from mid-calf to the ankle are considered semiformal. And a gown that's knee length or shorter is said to be informal, though today the mini dress is considered a chic option for the unconventional or for the second-time bride.

Gino Cerruti dress skirts

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Bias Cut

Cut on the diagonal, or bias, of the fabric.

Gino Cerruti Bias Cut

Trumpet

A straight-lined skirt that flares toward the hem, like the mouth of a trumpet.

Gino Cerruti Trumpet

Mermaid

A slim, tapered, curve-hugging skirt that follows the line of the hips and thighs and flares out below the knee.

Gino Cerruti Mermaid

Fishtail

This is where an additional panel is stitched on to the back of the skirt, simulating a fishtail.

Gino Cerruti Fishtail

Overskirt

A second skirt that lies over the main skirt, covering it partially without coming together in the front.

Gino Cerruti Overskirt

Dress Skirts - Hemlines

Below are the different options for the bottom edge of the skirt

Gino Cerruti dress skirts hemline

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Floor

The hem on this gown brushes the floor on all sides. A wonderful formal look that works well on both straight and full gown styles.

Gino Cerruti Floor

Tea Length

A gown hemmed to a few inches below the knee. This may be seen as a slightly conservative option, but with a modern twist.

Gino Cerruti Tea Lenght

Knee Length

Another great look for bridesmaids or for the casual bride, this style of skirt ends just below the knee.

Gino Cerruti Knee

Mini

For the super-sassy bride, this skirt ends mid-thigh and is guaranteed to up the wow-factor.

Gino Cerruti Mini

Dress Skirts - Details

Find out what choices you have on how your dress can be decorated.

Gino Cerruti dress skirts details

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Accordion Pleats

Close together pleats that boast folds resembling the bellows of an accordion. The edges all face in the same direction.

Gino Cerruti Floor

Tiered

A skirt made of layers of various-length fabrics.

Gino Cerruti Tiered