The term "fit and flare" is often used (or mis-used, as the case may be) to describe any silhouette
with a fitted bodice and a flared skirt. However, the most accurate use of the term "fit and flare
," is to describe a dress that closely hugs the body through the bodice and right past the hip, where the skirt then flares away from the body.
(See "The Difference Between Fit and Flare and Mermaid and Trumpet
" to read about the differences between the Fit and Flare, Mermaid, and Trumpet silhouettes)
Benefits of the Fit and Flare Silhouette:
Fit and flare wedding gowns can really give you flare! All puns aside, the following are some of the best features of the fabulous fit and flare silhouette. Fit and Flare wedding gowns:
- Add feminine curves to a straight figure
Offer a great balance of drama and glamour
- Create a very couture, fashion-forward silhouette
- Can be a better option for petite brides, as it lends a slightly taller appearance than ball gown or a mermaid silhouettes
- Doesn't have the tendency to swallow small frames like the ball gown silhouette
- Doesn't shorten the frame as much as the dramatic segments created by the mermaid silhouette
Things to Consider about the Fit and Flare Silhouette:
While the silhouette of fit and flare wedding gowns is exciting and glamorous, it isn't quite as versatile as the A-line, so there are a few "guidelines" to remember when deciding if fit and flare wedding gowns are right for you (as always, these guidelines aren't always 100% applicable, every body is different!) Fit and flare wedding dresses:
The silhouette of fit and flare wedding dresses is similar to the trumpet silhouette
and the mermaid silhouette
, and the three are often thought of as interchangeable terms, describing the same style. However, there are a few characteristics that can be used to differentiate the three styles.
So, what's the difference between the fit and flare and the mermaid? And what's the difference between the fit and flare and the trumpet?
The Fit and Flare flares right below the hip
- The Mermaid flares at or below the knee
- The Trumpet flares gradually, at approximately mid-thigh
Keep in mind however, that there is always room for interpretation in fashion, so if your heart is set on a fit and flare wedding dress, you may also want to shop our selection of trumpet bridal gowns
and mermaid bridal gowns
, as there may be fabulous styles among them, quite similar to the fit and flare.
Variations of the Fit and Flare Wedding Dress
Just like any other form of art, fashion is not governed by any set-in-stone rules. Thus, designers may vary their interpretation of the fit and flare silhouette in any way they feel inspired to. The following are some of the variations that are commonly seen.
Fullness of the Skirt
Depending on the fullness of the skirt, a fit and flare wedding dress may be thought of as a hybrid of the Mermaid silhouette
The "Ball Gown" Fit and Flare Wedding Dress
With a full skirt, this variation on fit and flare wedding gowns is a perfect style for the bride who wants a fairy tale princess look on her wedding day, this dress offers the drama of a ball gown, without completely swallowing up a smaller frame.
The "A-Line" Fit and Flare Wedding Dress
With a slightly slimmer flare, and a smoother transition from bodice to skirt, this variation of the fit and flare dress is perfect for the bride who wants the classic look of an A-Line, but with an update, adding her own personal "flare".
The "Sheath" Fit and Flare Wedding Dress
With a very slim flare, and smooth transition from bodice to skirt, this variation of the fit and flare dress is made with soft fabrics, lending the style a sexier feel.
Because the bodice of a fit and flare wedding dress extends past the hips, you may find that your waist needs a little something extra, in order to achieve a beautiful hourglass shape. To do so, fit and flare dresses can be accessorized with Bridal Belts and Sashes
, tied around the natural waist. This serves a dual purpose, accenting your waistline (making you look teeny tiny!), and adding a beautiful personal touch to your wedding gown, making it wholly your own!
(Read more about the waistline
, for help with deciding which styles are the most flattering choice for your figure.)
Sometimes, designers even do the work for us (how nice!), designing fit and flare wedding dresses with perfectly coordinating sashes built right in.
A beautiful example of a fit and flare dress, complete with a beaded sash, is Mori Lee 1651
Although the fit and flare silhouette may over-emphasize a wide waistline and wide hips, it can also be a great choice for curvaceous women, it's all a matter of finding the right one!
Other Interpretations of the Fit and Flare Silhouette
The skirt of the fit and flare, being slimmer than a ball gown, more dramatic than an A-line, and longer than a mermaid, is ideal for adding embellishments. From tiered layers of organza, to rosette appliqués, fit and flare dresses can really bring the drama!