The Empire Wedding Dress

Looking for a classy, elegant wedding dress? Then the Empire style wedding gown is for you! Characterized by high waistlines that gather just below the bust area, this dress flows smoothly down to the hem, creating an hourglass illusion. Furthermore, the Empire style can be altered to suit different levels of formality by adding or removing certain elements of the gown.

Photo by Digio Bridal


Sophisticated and classic, Empire wedding dresses are great for bottom-heavy brides as the cut of the dress hides the hips and thighs while enhancing the bust line. Brides can also play around with the length of the sleeves to achieve desired effects. Long sleeves are better suited for regal weddings, while cap sleeves are great for less formal celebrations. Meanwhile, going sleeveless, as well as variations such as spaghetti and halter and strap, is a popular choice if you want to show off your shapely shoulders. The sexy V-neck is a great alternative to sleeveless designs, if you desire for more gown support, which could be pretty heavy.

Photo by My Dream Wedding


Empire designs work great with lighter fabrics, as they give maximum flow from the waistline. Silk chiffon is amazing if you want to achieve a dreamy effect, especially when the dress is arranged in tiered layers that overlap smoothly over each other. Lace overlays give an additional air of charm to an otherwise simple gown, and can come in varying colors such as gold to attain a classy look.

Photo by La Belle Couture

Body Types

The Empire cut is one of the most versatile, but is best suited for small-chested brides as it will draw focus to the neckline. Fabric accents and intricate embellishments such as detailed beadwork and capped sleeves will aid in creating focus on your neckline and chest to create an impression of a more voluminous bust. For women who want to achieve the opposite effect, a square neckline helps make the chest look flatter.

The flowing fabric of the Empire dress can help a bride appear taller, making it great for petite women who want to add height to their frame. At the same time, slim lines on the fabrics like silk, satin and chiffon, help to create the illusion of a slimmer frame for larger women. Thus, very slim women should refrain from wearing Empire dresses with these lines to avoid looking too skinny.

Photo by Z Wedding Design

For pregnant brides who are starting to show, the smooth flow of the Empire wedding dress is perfect for hiding the baby bump

Empire style wedding dresses never fail to impress. Stay tuned for more wedding dress styles here on Perfect Weddings!

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