Wedding Dress Neckline Guide
When you think about your ideal wedding dress, you might start by thinking about the skirt or fabric or silhouette that might suit you. But finding the perfect wedding dress actually starts from the top down – you should begin by finding a neckline that flatters you, and work from there to find your perfect dress.
There are so many types of wedding dress necklines available that choosing the right one can be a daunting task. The right neckline will help you highlight your face and accentuate your best features. The wrong neckline, on the other hand, can draw attention to problem areas and look awkward on your body type.
This wedding dress neckline guide will help you select the neckline that will work best with your figure and help you look your best on your big day.
When you think of a wedding dress, a classic sweetheart neckline is probably one of the first things that comes to mind. This neckline gets its name from its distinctive shape – it resembles the top half of a heart.
Sweetheart necklines are often found on strapless dresses, but if you feel you need more support, you can opt for a dress with spaghetti straps or a “semi-sweetheart” neckline that sits higher on the chest for a little more coverage.
Ideal For: Full-busted women. The flirty shape of this neckline can accentuate your assets and show just the right amount of cleavage without going overboard.
Not Ideal For: Small-busted women. This neckline can accidentally highlight your lack of cleavage – and smaller-chested women may have to worry about the front of the dress slipping down.
Often found on strapless dresses, the straight neckline is exactly what it sounds like – it creates a line straight across the chest, instead of dipping down in the center like a sweetheart neckline.
Ideal For: Full-busted women. This neckline flatters and accentuates your assets, while offering you more coverage and a more modern look than the sweetheart neckline.
Not Ideal For: Small-busted women. This style is meant to be paired with a larger bust that can keep the neckline in place. Women with smaller busts may find themselves having to hold up the top of their dress for fear of wardrobe malfunctions.
Also known as an “empire” neckline, the square neckline is found on dresses with straps or sleeves, and is cut in a squared-off shape. Square necklines come in high-cut and low-cut variations, allowing you to choose how much you want to reveal.
Ideal For: Pear-shaped women, or women with narrow shoulders. The cut of this neckline helps create the illusion of upper shoulders, balancing out your top help. This neckline also pairs well with more modern dress styles for an up-to-date look.
Not Ideal For: Women with broad shoulders. This neckline can draw too much attention to the upper body and make broad shoulders appear even broader.
A v-neck is a straightforward neckline that you are probably already familiar with – the neckline comes straight down in the shape of the letter V. This neckline can offer a small glimpse of cleavage, or you can opt for a deeper V that shows off more of your chest.
Ideal For: Women with smaller busts. If you can get away with going braless on your wedding day, a daring v-neck with a deep plunge can add timeless glamor to your look.
Not Ideal For: Women with larger busts. If you have a larger bust, a v-neck can come off as too revealing.
The illusion neckline pairs a v-neck or sweetheart neckline with a panel of illusion mesh, offering you more coverage and more assurance that everything will stay exactly in place during the big event.
Ideal For: Just about anyone. Of all the types of wedding dress necklines available, this is among the most versatile; it works well with a wide variety of body shapes and dress styles.
Not Ideal For: Women planning to wear a lot of statement jewelry on their wedding day. Illusion necklines often have detailed beading or lacework that would be overshadowed by a flashy necklace.
A halter neckline will pair a very high neckline with straps or deep armholes that leave the shoulders – and possibly part of the back – bare. This can accommodate a range of styles, from a sleek minimalist look to a more traditional look with lace details and beadwork.
Ideal For: Women with broad shoulders. A halter top draws the eye toward the face and neck, creating an illusion of a narrower frame.
Not Ideal For: Petite women, or women with narrow shoulders. If you already have narrow shoulders, a halter top can be too slimming and overwhelm your frame, creating a “little girl playing dress-up” look that is probably not what you’re going for.
A high neckline will come to the base of the throat, and is often created with mesh or lace detailing to avoid appearing “old-fashioned”. A high neckline pairs well with sleeves, and when done right, offers you coverage without appearing frumpy.
Ideal For: Women with broad shoulders. A high neck wedding dress with a detailed collar will draw the eye over to the face and neck, pulling attention away from the shoulders.
Not Ideal For: Women planning on wearing a lot of jewelry. This neckline doesn’t tend to pair well with jewelry, especially necklaces. If you have a special piece you are planning to wear, look for a lower neckline.
As the name suggests, an off-the-shoulder neckline drops down off the shoulders, wrapping around the upper arms and leaving the shoulders bare. This is an adaptable neckline style – it can be dressed down for a minimalist style, or dressed up for a more traditional look.
Ideal for: Women with pear-shaped figures. The wide neckline draws the eye upward and helps balance out your lower half, creating the appearance of an hourglass silhouette. This is also a flattering style if you’ve been told that your collarbones and graceful neck are some of your best features.
Not Ideal For: Women who are hoping to downplay thicker arms, or broad shoulders. This type of wedding dress neckline will draw attention to those features and make them more noticeable.
This is a neckline you might recognize from your t-shirt closet. A scoop neck is, unsurprisingly, a neckline cut in a “scooped” fashion that is a little more revealing than your typical t-shirt neck. Higher and lower cuts of this neckline exist, depending on your comfort and preferences.
Idea For: Everybody. This is one of the most universally flattering wedding dress necklines – with the right cut, it can work well on just about any body type.
No two wedding dress necklines are alike. Different styles will accentuate different features, and it’s important to choose a neckline that flatters you. This wedding dress neckline guide can get you started on thinking about the sort of neckline that will pair best with your body type and the style that you’re aiming for.
At the end of the day, though, even the best wedding dress neckline guide is only that – a guide. You will feel most beautiful when you’ve chosen a style that you like, and that you feel most comfortable with. Check out Zuri Bridal today for a stunning selection of necklines and wedding dresses to fit your look and personality.