The fashion industry is a vast space, and it is open to all creative minds. Fashion silhouettes are one of the essential parts of creating a dress as they determine how it will look when worn by people with different dimensions of bodies. There are 7 basic fashion silhouettes to choose from.
Simply put, the dress silhouette is the outline of the dress. It is the first thing you notice at one glance when searching for your desired dress. Without the dress’s silhouette, it will not be easy to manufacture.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of fashion silhouettes and the 7 basic fashion silhouettes you will come across when you enter fashion.
What is a Fashion Silhouette?
Fashion silhouette, also known as dress silhouette, is the outline of a dress. It determines the dress’s shape and how it will look on the wearer. To make things easier for you, the dress silhouette is the first thing you notice when searching for a dress. The silhouette of the dress consists of only some of the dress details.
There are a lot of different dress silhouettes, and all of them wear differently on each type of body. Some silhouettes emphasize some bodies, while others tend to flatter. It all depends on the type of dress you choose for yourself. Such as, A-line dresses or ball gowns have a particular silhouette that emphasizes a tiny waist.
Meanwhile, empire or shift silhouette dresses focus less on the waist. There are various fashion silhouettes but the seven basic fashion silhouettes are what we will be focusing on. Now that you know what a fashion or dress silhouette is, let us discuss why they are essential.
Why are Fashion Silhouettes Important?
Fashion silhouettes are crucial because not every type of dress or gown flatters all body types. When manufacturing a design at your warehouse, you must first create an outline.In fashion industry, your silhouette is the actual shape which makes your clothes in a shape when it’s hang on your body. That is when fashion silhouettes are most important. With the dress’s silhouette, you can put all the other pieces together. There are 7 basic fashion silhouettes you should look out for.
Moreover, only some details will look good with all the dress silhouettes. Indeed you can mix and match and find which suits you best, but it can be guaranteed that details that look good with one dress silhouette will not suit another type. It also helps you understand the body part that needs to be accentuated or other parts that need fixing. They are also a primary factor in fashion walks or catwalks. People instead want to know how the garment looks when the wearer has it on, comparatively when it is on a mannequin.
7 Basic Fashion Silhouettes
In this part, we will discuss the 7 basic fashion silhouettes every person involved in fashion design should know about. Without these silhouettes, creating clothes that various people with different body types can wear is tough.
1. A-Line Silhouette
Whenever you look at the clothes worn by celebrities, you will notice that most of them have dresses that are fitted around the bodice but flare out around the waist. This is the A-line silhouette first coined by the famous Christian Dior, a fashion designer. This dress shape has been around for a long time, and since then, it has been a fan favourite out of all the seven basic fashion silhouettes.
You will not find any fashion walk that does not feature at least one A-line dress. The A-line silhouettes are the most common type of dress as they look flattering on almost every body shape. It is known as the A-line because the flaring out part in the waist forms a triangle shape like the letter capital A. The A-line silhouette dresses help to make your hips seem broader while keeping the waist narrow. Not just dresses but gowns or mini dresses can also be found in the same category.
2. Sheath Silhouette
The sheath silhouette is a body-hugging dress structure. The sheath silhouette type dresses hug the entire body from top to bottom. They have a form-fitting at every point of the dress, which many curvy people avoid wearing as the curves get more accentuated. Many people do not want that. If you want to show off your curves, you should go with a sheath silhouette dress out of the seven basic fashion silhouettes. The dress tends to stay fit on the entire body.
Slimmer women tend to reach out for sheath silhouette dresses because the dress accentuates the body’s curves. You will find various dresses, mini dresses, gowns, tops, or skirts with a sheath silhouette. Often, the dress comes with a side slit so that the wearer can have adequate space for movement. You may only find a few fashion walks that feature sheath silhouette dresses, as these dresses are primarily intended to wear at parties.
3. Empire Waist Silhouette
The empire waist dresses are just like how you imagine them to be. As the name suggests, these dresses were mostly worn by princesses and upper-class women in the medieval period and now it is featured in the seven basic fashion silhouettes. The empire waist silhouette is fitted around the bust area. Still, then it starts flaring out immediately from below the bustline. This dress has no well-defined waistline, which gives the wearer a slimming effect.
The cinch is well above the waistline, creating an illusion of a higher waist. It is because the wearer’s frame is elongated because of the long silhouette of the dress. If you want little attention on your waist, you may wear empire waist silhouette dresses. You will notice a lot of brides going for this dress type as it gives off the royal vibe. This dress silhouette is familiar for bridesmaids or generally to wear at a wedding.
4. Hourglass Silhouette
The hourglass silhouette is the most common dress celebrities wear to the red carpet. As the name suggests, the dress creates an hourglass look, with the waistline being narrow and the hips and bust being more expansive than the waist. This dress is fitted at the waist, but it is fitted all over. These dresses are also used to emphasize body curves, making them a good option for people with narrow waistlines.
In most cases, the hourglass silhouette dresses are short and do not have sleeves. You can customize hourglass dresses according to preference and add details. The measurements of the hip and bust are almost identical for this dress. Still, the waist is made narrower than usual. People with round shoulders and bigger thighs tend to wear the hourglass silhouette dress as it takes attention away from those areas.
5. Ball Gown
Ball gown silhouette dresses are also known as bell-shaped dresses. These dresses start from being fitted to the waist, and then it starts widening out towards the hemline. This gives the dress an appearance that is similar to a bell-shaped skirt. Ball gown dresses are very common for ballroom parties, or you may have noticed a lot of Disney princesses wearing ball gowns. Petite women or women with narrow waists usually go with ball gowns, as the gowns are cinched at the waist.
If you want to camouflage your hips, you can go with these gowns, as the bottom portion is wide enough to keep your hips hidden. Ball gown dresses always consist of various embellishments and details, making them perfect for parties or red-carpet events. The skirt consists of layers of fabric or tulle and even structural pieces to make it seem more rounded. Ruffles, hoops, petticoats, and various other undergarments are also included in the skirt of a ball gown silhouette dress.
6. Trumpet Silhouette
The trumpet silhouette dress is also known as the mermaid silhouette dress. These dresses are also standard for brides to wear on their big day. The trumpet silhouette starts by hugging the body up to the knee, then forming the shape of a bell. The bottom part of this dress is a bell-shaped skirt which usually consists of many tulle or ruffles. That is why it is known as a mermaid dress because it resembles the tail part of a mermaid.
The waist is narrow, but it is not defined. Curvy people usually want to go for trumpet silhouette dresses as it helps to accentuate the curves and sits perfectly on the body. You will find these dresses in mostly sleeveless forms, but you can customize the sleeves according to your preference. The dress comes with a long zipper, so the wearer does not have to go through so much trouble to put the dress on.
7. Shift silhouette
The shift dress silhouette, also known as column dress, is the only dress type that does not have any definitions all over it. The shift silhouette dresses flow straight from the shoulders and do not have much difference throughout the body. The measurements vary for the hips, bust, midsection, and hem, but other than that, the dress has a straight cut.
In the summertime, you will notice various people wearing these dresses as the boxy shape does not fit the body. It helps air pass through and keeps the wearer cool during the hot weather. You may only see a few models wearing a shift silhouette dress on the runway. Still, these dresses are very common because of their comfortable shape. Not only that, but they are also very easy to store, and you do not have to put in a lot of effort to accessorize them.
Among the 7 basic fashion silhouettes, the ones mentioned above are the most common silhouette types. There are various other types of dresses you will find in the market, but these are the most common ones. Not all dress silhouettes compliment every body type, for which it is essential to know which dress will look best on your body.
Moreover, you cannot wear a ball gown to the office, so you should know which type of dress is appropriate depending on the occasion. This article has given you enough insight into what fashion silhouettes are and the 7 basic fashion silhouettes.
Hi readers! I’m Imara Azad. I have been a fashion enthusiast for a long time which led me to become a fashion content writer. I’m currently studying at the Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Brac University. I am researching traditional clothing all over the world. One day I will publish the research paper about it.