Modern Wedding Dresses for Your Athletic Shape

Athletic shapes look best in styles that work with the slimness of their lower body.

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When you go looking for a wedding gown, you'll probably find yourself trying on countless styles that do nothing to highlight your fit, fabulous figure. Familiarize yourself with your athletic body. An athletic shape has a small lower body with an undefined waist and small backside. Thighs are slim and hips are small, while the chest is full and shoulders are broad. Now that you've identified your best assets, you can really search for the wedding dress of your dreams.


An athletic gal who desires a streamlined and slimming silhouette for her big day should look for a capital "A" when scouring dress racks. The A-line style is fitted through the shoulders and hips, slightly flaring out to the hem. This will highlight your slim thighs and hips and elongate your torso. A narrow, plunging V-neckline on this style will draw eyes inward and avoid adding breadth to shoulders. A ribbon or sash at your natural waistline defines your waist and emphasizes a slim middle. Opt for A-line styles with a flowing train, which will add volume to a smaller backside.


Commonly known as the "fit-and-flare," the mermaid style is form-fitting along the waist and thighs, flaring out into a fan shape at the knees. This style accentuates an athletic physique's natural curves. Choose mermaid styles that have beading or ruching along the bottom of the dress, because this will add volume to your slim lower half. Avoid detailing at your bust, which will visually add thickness to your already-toned upper half. A halter neckline with a deep V offers support for larger busts while (tastefully) showcasing your perfectly poised and positioned ladies.

Ball Gown

Feminine and romantic, ball gowns often conjure up childhood memories of whimsical fairy tales and princesses. With a fitted waist and full skirt, a ball gown style is fit for a princess on her big day. This style adds fullness to a slim lower body while accentuating a small waist. If you have an athletic shape but are on the shorter side, avoid styles with excessive gathering or pleating, as this will overwhelm your petite stature. A style with a contoured bodice will keep you looking proportional while a sweetheart neckline will highlight an ample chest.


A sheath-style wedding dress is a sophisticated and simple option for the bride who desires understated elegance. A short (above the knee) sheath shows off slim thighs and fit legs, while a longer style (mid-calf) naturally follows athletic curves without clinging to trouble spots. Strategically placed darts and seams cut inward to the waist, whittling your middle. Wondering whether to sleeve or not to sleeve? Since athletic body types have toned arms and shoulders, go with a sleeveless style to show them off. On the busty side? Opt for a sheath with a wider neckline to break up the area between your neck and bust.

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