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If You're Pear-Shaped?

Look for: A skirt that gradually flares out in an A formation from the natural waist to the floor, highlighting the narrowness of the midsection and floating away from the hips and thighs. (Sturdier fabrics, such as duchesse satin and taffeta, are especially effective, since they won't cling.) A spaghetti-strap bodice or a V neckline will also showcase a more slender upper body. Keep in mind: A classic A-line silhouette lends itself to formal weddings, but it can also be dressed down when made from a more casual fabric, like eyelet lace or raw-silk shantung.

If You’re Plus-Sized?

Look for: An Empire dress with a skirt that begins just under the bust and flows into a gradual floor-length A-line. Make sure the Empire seam does not start on the chest and that there is no pleating of the fabric, which is reminiscent of maternity wear. The dress should play up your shape; if it’s too loose, it will add pounds. Keep in mind: Find fabrics like satin that provide structure, rather than anything too flowy. If you love the romantic look of airier fabrics, choose a gown with a stiffer base, then add an embroidered tulle overlay.
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