To project a bride as being 'short' is often ill mannered and the bride might feel negatively affected. If the synonym 'petite is regularly used instead, it will be perceived as a compliment. The French word 'petite' calls up images of flexible, dainty women with narrow waists and can actually work as a compliment or endearment also. On the other hand petite women may sometimes find it difficult to decide what to wear and what will make them appear less petite while walking up to the altar.
At fashion shows one always sees slim, long-legged women, but what to do when one is petite and want to dress the most flattering way for one's wedding?
There are many solutions available for petite women when dressing up for a wedding. The trumpet style, sheath style and modified A-lines are quite flattering on a petite woman. But remember, the detailing on any of the gowns must, in addition, be small in size and limited to the bodice to draw the eyes of others upward. Another visual trick is to make the waists line high, for example empire style, where the dress is circled with a band just under the breast line and is rather free flowing downwards to the floor. A wedding dress for a petite woman can also appear lengthening if it is short in front and tapered to a length sweeping the floor behind. A petite bride should be aware not to wear too poufy petticoats if she has chosen a dress, which needs support. Dresses with 'dropped' waist usually makes the legs of a petite woman seem non-existent and voluminous skirts often tend to make the bride look shapeless. Finally another style must be mentioned, the 'mermaid' style, which is showing off nice curves when fitted with a tight bodice.
Necklines are important to create visual length. The heart-shaped, v-shaped and draped v-shape are most suitable. The high neck and boat décolletages should be avoided because they cut the visual effect of length from the body to the face.
The length of the dress also contributes to give illusion of a taller body. A calf-length dress will make the legs look shorter as will the knee-length. The most suitable will be the long smooth and eventually flowing from above the waist.
If the bride has long hair, the coiffure can be made to elongate the visual effect. In cases of short-haired brides, the figure can be given a little more height if a pointed tiara is worn to hold the veil. The last but not least advice is that the stature will appear more elongated if she wears high heels. Ready made wedding gowns are generally fitting a 5'9 bodies, but a seamstress can easily shorten any chosen gown (don't forget to wear the same height of heals as the ones to be worn with the gown at the wedding day during the trials).
Regarding the length of the veil, short women should be advised to wear only 'chapel length', which just touches the ground behind. The next step is called cathedral-length and is about 7.5 feet long can eventually be used. It is much more difficult to carry off a long train of 'royal-length' of 9 feet for a petite woman. The focus should be on the bride not the train.