Wedding Dresses for Apple Shapes

Apple shaped brides can find themselves in a tizzy when shopping for a dress. I know, I know, tizzys and brides go hand in hand, but for apples, weddings present a special sort of anguish.

See, for many apples, it’s the first time we thought about how on earth to make these beautiful dresses look beautiful on us. Especially for those of us who spend most of our time in what we find the most comfortable – oversized clothes, scrubs or sweatpants – being the princess on our big day can be intimidating, even frightening.

Luckily, the same principles that apply to best dresses for apple shaped women apply to wedding dresses. 

Anything A-line. With Diagnonal LINES. AND Ruching. 

Here’s an A-line dress

This dress has a ruched bodice and diagonal skirt line: this smooths and shrinks the midsection. As a reminder – ruching is the gathered material that crates a “wrinkled” draped look.

The dress also has embellishments along the bust and neckline which draws the eye up.

This particular plus-sized model is even closer to apple shaped than most! Go Dressilyme!

Here’s another A-line dress

This dress also has a ruched bodice and diagonal line, with lace embellishments along the sleeves and neckline and bust to draw the eye up.

The diagonal gathered fabric on this dress starts higher and is even more dramatic, for maximum concealing.

Both of these specific wedding dress examples also have multiple layers on their skirts, and a reinforced bodice. The combination of a reinforced but fitted bodice and a layered, flaring skirt work together to create structure and silhouette.

These two examples are among the most flattering wedding dresses apple shaped women can wear.

If you hate these ones, that’s cool! But when you’re out shopping, look for dresses with stylistic elements in common and you can’t go wrong!

RECAP:
1. A-LINE
2. DIAGONAL LINES
3. RUCHING

Try Before You Buy – even if you buy online

Even if you’re one of the millions of brides shopping online for your wedding dress, TRY THEM ON!  YES: THEM. Plural. I bought mine online, and Ibought several different wedding dresses (and returned the ones that didn’t work). How? Why? Because I wanted the perfect one. Gone are the days of needing to spend thousands on a dress – the one I chose was a whopping $180 (and I rocked it – that’s me under the pagoda).

The two dresses I selected as examples above are on sale right now for about $160.

In my humble view, why hemorrhage money for something you wear once (ok, maaaaybe twice if you repurpose it into a zombie bride costume on Halloween)? Speaking for myself, we wanted to devote more of our budget to an awesome reception than to a designer gown. (My husband still managed to spend thousands on his suit and shoes…but that’s another story.)

So, here’s my suggestion: buy several promising dresses online. You are an apple, so don’t expect each and every one to be flattering or perfect. However, don’t settle for anything that comes below either of those reasonable expectations.  Pick the one you love the most (and the one that loves you the most), get it tailored if necessary, and call it a day’s work.

STYLES AND EMBELLISHMENTS TO AVOID

  • Waist belts of any kind
  • Decorative buckles or pins or accents on the center of the waist (see the example in picture)
  • Color accents or sashes on the center of the waist
  • Any dress that is TOO TIGHT. Don’t buy a dress that’s one size too small and expect that you will diet or corset your way into it, by hell or high water. That kind of thinking is a trap. Do not accept discomfort on your wedding day: the tightly-laced look isn’t necessary to look awesome (and most of the time it makes us look like stuffed sausages unfortunately.  The most important reason why I’m stressing this? You want to be relaxed and enjoy your time with your guests. This isn’t as possible if you can’t breathe and are spilling out of a corset every which way.
  • Mermaid style dresses – they’re pretty, right? And awfully trendy. Everyone wants to be Ariel these days. But leave ’em for our hourglass and pear girlfriends – the mermaid style draws attention TOWARD the center of the body and that’s just about the last thing we want on our big day.

Please reach out with any bridezilla rants, apple anxieties, or other thoughts, comments, or questions about the best wedding dresses for apple shapes!  Your feedback is valuable and helpful.

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10 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Ah, wedding dress shopping. So fun, so exciting, so emotional, so draining… but if you have a big day coming up, you go through it happily. Sorta.
    My “rant” is more advice to also only take along people whose advice you truly WANT. People whose opinions you actually CARE ABOUT. Because those opinions can hurt. I tried on the “dress of my dreams” and I was all emotional in the change room thinking “this is it” but then my ladies with me were, shall we say, underwhelmed. And it crushed me. BUT, since I truly valued their opinions, they helped steer me, an “apple” away from a mermaid-ish/tight-er dress to a ruched bodice/diagonal skirt-line, which was much better in the end. Just like the advice you give here on your post.
    (So ladies reading this later… this author knows her stuff!)

    1. Very cool, a real-life testimonial! Yeah, I love those mermaid dresses too, but geometry is geometry and we apples have to stick with what dress styles flatters us. Weddings and the entire process preparing for it is so emotional!

  2. I found wedding dress shopping to be very surreal but stressful!
    I’m a typical pear, so classic A line works best for my shape too. I also found that mermaid dresses were beautiful but all they did was to highlight my biggest bits!

    It’s a great post and I’m sure it will help many other apple shaped brides to be.
    Best Wishes, Sarah

    1. Thank goodness for the A-line, right??! I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and survived the wedding dress experience (hehe). I wonder if someone’s cornered the market on a pear-shape only fashion tip blog? Hmmmm….*puts on thinking cap*. I’ll have to suggest it to my Aunt, she’s also a pear and would know firsthand!

  3. Thanks so much for this excellent recommendation. I had no idea that such service existed. I will be certainly be checking out Dressilyme. I’m helping my wife search for a wedding dress, and this just about the price range we’re looking to spend. Like you said, she will only be wearing once. We are also planning on holding a diy wedding reception. Great job!

    1. Hey, I’m glad that you saw something you like and I hope she is able to find a great fit! Dressilyme is a good vendor with a great layout specifically for wedding dress shopping. I am right there with you on the price range being reasonable. I’m sorry, but $3,000 (and the like) sounds way more like an alcohol budget than a dress to me! We’re the smart ones!

  4. I have an apple shaped body type and trust me it is a pain to find the right clothes.
    I really liked waistbands, is there any way I could maybe add it to my wedding dress that compliments my body type?
    However, I would try to go for the multi-layered dresses as you have suggested here.

    1. Hi Shrey, thanks for the comment! Rule #1 in fashion is do what you want to do, and this couldn’t be more true on your wedding day. If you really like a waistband, and you don’t mind drawing attention to your midsection as an apple shape, wear the waistband!

  5. Greetings Penelope,

    When I first came across your site, I though, “I used to be an ‘apple’.” But I was actually confusing it with the wrong fruit! I used to be a pear, but I’m an apple now! Too embarrassing!

    Your post is right on point! Too many women think that they can wear any style. NO!!! I particularly like the section on “Style and Embellishments to Avoid”. Knowing what styles work for your shape is really important; yours is probably the firstarticle I’ve read that addresses the right style wedding dress for apple shapes.

    All the best in sharing your ” apples” to the world, Penelope!

    1. Hi Veronica, thanks so much for the great feedback, I’m glad you enjoyed the article and had some new thoughts about shape and style! I agree with you – we’re all different and we all look different and some things are always gonna be more flattering than others. take good care, and happy shopping!

      Penelope

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