Each wedding ceremony is unique in its own way. For many brides, every little detail counts.
On this special day, you want to feel as comfortable and confident as possible. Finding the perfect wedding gown that suits your body type, complexion, and personal style is vitally important to achieving that confidence!
If you have broad shoulders, it can oftentimes be a debate whether you want to show them off or conceal them a bit. I’ve put together a list of wedding dress styles that are flattering for broad shoulders, but at the end of the day, wear what makes you feel confident!
Top Wedding Dresses for Broad Shoulders
If your body type is an inverted triangle, that means your shoulders and torso are generally wider than your hips and legs. This can sometimes be a challenge to find a dress that fits comfortably and is flattering on your entire body.
While you can (and likely will) get the dress altered to fit perfectly, you ideally want a dress that initially fits pretty well. Here are 5 styles to look at:
Off-the-Shoulder Wedding Dress
For broad shoulders or inverted-triangle bodies, an off-the-shoulder dress creates a gorgeous silhouette.
Since the straps aren’t sitting directly on top of your shoulders, an off-the-shoulder gown works well because the straps drape gracefully off the side of your broadest area, creating a dreamy, romantic appearance.
For rustic-themed weddings, an off-the-shoulder dress is the ideal wedding gown. Paired with just earrings as the only jewelry accessory and a low pair of heels, this creates a relaxed, effortless look that will make your broad shoulders appear more beautiful than ever.
It’s worth keeping in mind that an off-the-shoulder dress is not the same thing as a cap-sleeve dress. A cap sleeve is tight and rests at the widest part of your shoulder, which draws attention to this area—precisely what you don’t want.
If the sleeves are too snug at the widest area of your body, it will make you appear larger than you are. As a whole, the cap sleeve is not well-suited to broad shoulders.
Comparatively, a genuine off-the-shoulder dress adds emphasis to what appears to be smaller—your arms. This helps your shoulders look beautiful, graceful, and strong instead of extra-large and angular.
Princess or A-Line Wedding Gown
For inverted-triangle bodies, princess or a-line dresses tend to flatter the figure since they are cinched at the waist, letting the skirt softly dilate—creating an elegant ‘A’ shape.
Paired with a paneled corset, this style supports the shoulders and bust, then generates a subtle curve to the lower body.
Choosing an A-line gown with a short bodice that ends at the waistline is also a good tip. Dresses with a longer upper bodice can emphasize the shoulders and make them appear too large.
In general, A-line dresses appear flattering on almost any body type, making this dress style a go-to for brides.
A-line gowns feature a cascading skirt that has a lot of body and shape to it. The skirt portion of the dress can be ruffled, pleated, or ruched.
This type of wedding dress creates the illusion of an hourglass body shape, which works exceptionally well for broad-shouldered figures. By defining the smallest part of the waist, an A-line dress adds volume to the hips.
A great variant to an A-line dress is the princess gown. Since those with broad shoulders tend to have a more rectangular figure, a princess gown emphasizes the waist and hips while keeping the natural beauty of the body’s lean shape.
An A-line dress with a sweetheart or V-neckline and layered satin or tulle skirt that gently fans out creates an undoubtedly gorgeous look.
Since the lower portion of your figure is emphasized, this balances the top, thus giving you an even and flattering silhouette.
Wedding Ball Gown
The ball gown is a traditional wedding dress style that appears very dignified and majestic. Similar to an A-line, this dress contains a fitted bodice that cinches the waistline, and a full, voluminous skirt draped in sophisticated satin or soft tulle.
Ball gowns are another great choice for broad-shouldered brides since they create a subtle yet beautiful curve to your bust and waist region. Ideally paired with a strapless sweetheart neckline, a ball gown adds just a hint of drama and elegance to your wedding look.
For the broad-shouldered bride looking to make a lasting impression on her special day, the ball gown creates the ultimate regal look.
Choosing a dress with a high-waisted corset-style bodice that cascades out into a dramatic, flowy skirt is an exceptional choice for brides with wide shoulders.
Mermaid Style Wedding Dress
Mermaid-cut gowns are undeniably stunning, but many soon-to-be brides are afraid to choose this dress for several many reasons.
Some think the style is overly dramatic, while others might feel self-conscious in a fitted dress. One thing’s for sure: many often steer clear of this dress, only to end up regretting it.
A mermaid wedding gown features a distinct fitted style, which hugs close to the body. However, unlike ball gown or A-line dress, this style doesn’t flare out into a flowy, cascading skirt.
Instead, it begins its dilation at or below the knee (similar to trumpet gown), creating the illusion of an elegant mermaid “tail.”
On the plus side, mermaid-cut dresses look gorgeous on figures with broad shoulders. The overall fit balances out your bodily proportions and specifically accentuates your waist and hips.
Some mermaid cuts include a train for a more dramatic effect. For brides looking for an elegant, ballroom-style wedding, choosing a mermaid gown will make you radiate with stunning beauty, while simultaneously boosting your confidence.
Strapless Wedding Gown
A common misconception about strapless gowns is that they make your shoulders appear wide. The result, however, is the exact opposite, making this another great selection for broad-shouldered brides.
Covering your shoulder with extra fabric will make them appear larger than they are. That’s why we advise against choosing a wedding dress with thick or thin straps, as well as cap sleeves.
However, exposing your shoulders not only shows how beautiful they are, but all makes them appear smaller.
Instead of hiding your broad shoulders, don’t be afraid to show them off in an elegant strapless wedding gown.
For warm, outdoor weddings, this style of wedding dress is another great choice. Not only is it feminine and charming, but it’s also beautifully versatile. You can choose to wear a light and airy strapless gown or go all out with a fairytale princess style.
Either way, a strapless dress lets you unveil those gorgeous shoulders with style and grace.
Where to Find Wedding Dresses for Broad Shoulders
Now that we’ve narrowed down the best wedding dress styles for broad shoulders, let’s take a look at where to buy them.
For affordable wedding gowns in various shapes and sizes, David’s Bridal is perhaps the most popular wedding dress designer today. Not only do most of their stores carry wedding dress samples, but they also feature gowns to purchase in multiple sizes and styles.
As the largest American bridal-store chain, David’s Bridal operates more than 300 stores in over 40 US states, UK, Canada, and Mexico.
- Efficient shipping and delivery
- You can try on ready-to-buy dresses
- Notably more affordable than other designers
- Carries a wide range of sizes (petite and plus)
- Some styles are only available online
- Due to its popularity and affordably, trying dresses on in-store is typically more hectic than other bridal shops
- Dresses run in normal sizes, which might make it difficult to find a well-suited, flattering fit
Founded in 2011, BHLDN is quickly becoming a fan favorite as they’re known to design amazing gowns and styles. Their designs are a little less traditional and more bohemian, whimsical, and rustic.
Some of their most signature and highest-rated dresses feature soft tulle designs and cascading tiers of ruffles sprinkled with dainty floral embroidery.
For broad-shouldered brides, in particular, BHLDN is one of the best brands out there since they feature many draped-shoulder dresses and flattering V-necklines.
Additionally, BHLDN caters to both in-store and online customers with professional, attentive, and personal service.
- Includes both timeless and trendy pieces that buyers can wear again to other special events
- While they offer a smaller selection, this allows brides to quickly narrow down the dress of their choice
- Generally affordable
- Doesn’t have as many stores, making the try-on process a little more difficult
- Most dresses are off-white, so if you’re looking for a snow-white, you may want to look at other bridal shops
- Unavailable in plus sizes
Now, not everyone has a budget upwards of $10K assigned to just a wedding dress. However, this doesn’t mean you have to skimp on style or quality. Enter Azazie.
This body-inclusive, eco-friendly brand is a brilliant choice for brides who want a cut-to-order wedding dress and prioritizes the uniqueness of each bride.
Additionally, Azazie has modernized the bridal process by offering a try-at-home program where brides can pick up to three dresses to test drive at home. A model that’s especially well-suited for a crisis, but also holds up beyond a stay-at-home order.
- Offers free custom sizing with available sizes ranging from 0 to 30
- Minimizes their carbon footprint by making all wedding dresses cut-to-order
- A solid choice if you’re on a budget and maintains a quality selection of dresses
- Online shopping poses the risk of ordering the wrong size, which can become stressful very quickly
- Dresses must be ordered within 24 hours with a showroom ID
- Dress sizing most often runs small
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s very normal for any bride to have questions regarding her wedding dress. Below, we’ve answered the most common questions regarding dresses for broad-shouldered brides.
What Style Wedding Dress Makes Your Shoulders Look Smaller?
Dressing in necklines like halter tops tends to show off your broad shoulders. But if you’re looking for a dress that makes them appear smaller, choosing a dress with a bodice that highlights your waistline and adds volume to your hips can offset your inverted triangle shape.
More specifically, scoop-neck and V-neck dresses work well as they distract attention from your shoulders and shift it toward your chest area. Likewise, gowns with fitted and/or loose, long sleeves can make your shoulders look smaller.
Should I Wear a Wedding Dress with Sleeves?
It’s crucial to avoid puff sleeves, cap sleeves, or sleeves with address padding as it will draw attention to your broad shoulders. Instead, if you choose to wear a dress with sleeves, look for gowns with fitted dolman or raglan sleeves.
Whether you choose a classic ball gown, dreamy off-the-shoulder, or elegant A-line, keep in mind that the best wedding dress for broad shoulders ultimately depends on your style and personality.
Whichever dress you decide on, you should feel confident and comfortable no matter what.
Now that you’ve been able to choose a style that makes you appreciate your body and look forward to your big day, even more, it’s time to head to the bridal shops and start trying on wedding gowns!