The Gown Co. Glossary

There are several different styles associated with gown shopping, including silhouette, neckline, and sleeve. Below are illustrations and definitions to better explain these styles. Feel free to click on any of the style terms to search the site for garments which display them.


 A-Line     Ball Gown     Empire     Mermaid    Trumpet

A-Line ~ Fitted bodice through the waist and flows out to the ground, resembling the outline of an uppercase “A”.

Ball Gown ~ The “fairy tale” dress, with a fitted bodice, flairs at the waist with a full skirt. This silhouette tends to have a "shortening" effect, and hides curves below the flair line.

Empire ~ The Empire silhouette, also known as the High Waist, has a waistline above natural waist, usually as high as right below the bust, which creates an illusion of length. The cocktail version of the Empire silhouette is commonly referred to as a "Baby Doll Dress".

Mermaid ~ Fitted on body from the chest to the knee, then flares out below the knee. This silhouette is ideal for accentuating curves.

Trumpet ~ Fitted on body until mid-hip, then widens to the hem, resembling the mouth of a trumpet. Often confused with mermaid, however, the trumpet flairs out at mid-hip, and the mermaid flairs out below the knee.  Tends to add curves on straight figures or accentuate curves on fuller figures.

Column ~ A Grecian styled silhouette with a narrow shape that flows straight down from the neckline to the hem.  This style is generally cut with a flowing fabric such as chiffon or silk.








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