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The Essential Wedding Dress Dictionary

Updated: Apr 4

Bride wearing puffy scarf bolero
L'amour Micayla wedding dress

When it comes to dress shopping, it can feel like you’re learning a foreign language. With so many different terms being thrown around in the bridal world, it can feel like a confusing blur. We here at Blu Ivory Bridal hope to fill you in on all the latest terms for modern wedding dress lingo. We have organized them alphabetically, but fear not! If you see a word you’re not familiar with, chances are we have included it later on.

A-Line Silhouette: This lovely style of dress is generally considered to be one of the most figure-flattering styles. It begins with a perfectly fitted bodice and a naturally-defined waist, featuring a skirt with a gradual flare that lightly skims the hips and extends down to the hem. This shape creates the “A” form of the dress.

Asymmetrical Waistline: One side of the waist is different from the other, either through differing heights or design.

Bateau Neck: A wide horizontal neckline across the collarbone and almost to the shoulder points.

Bustle: The sewing method that allows a long-trained gown to transition into a length suitable for walking or dancing.

Bodice: The part of your dress above the waist.

Boning: The structure that prevents a dress’ bodice from drooping, and is especially common in a strapless dress.

Cap Sleeves: A style of short sleeve that just covers the shoulder.

Chantilly Lace: Traditionally handmade from black threads, featuring floral or botanical patterns. Usually found on the sleeves and overlays on a gown.

Chiffon: A very fine, soft and delicate fabric popular in bridesmaids’ dresses, but has recently grown in popularity for wedding dresses.

Corset: The laces on the back of a bodice, either purely for aesthetic or for fit.

Fit and Flare Silhouette: Similar to the A-Line style, with a fitted bodice and natural waist, but is fitted through the hips before the skirt flares.

Keyhole: A small opening in the back of the dress, which allows for just a peek of skin.

Illusion Back: A see-through design that provides the look of an open-backed dress with the comfort and beauty of a full-backed dress.

Organza: A silk fabric that is stiffer than chiffon but equally as fine, a similar volume to satin without the weight, and used in full skirts to be more flowy than tulle.

Sheath Silhouette: Long and narrow, this shape of dress is a slim-fitting design with straight lines and uses lighter fabrics, usually satin or chiffon.

Sweetheart Neckline: A neckline with no straps, featuring two curved lines of fabric over each breast and meeting in V-neck point to form a heart-style shape.

Train: The long, trailing portion of the dress of varying lengths.

Knowing these terms is only the first step! At Blu Ivory Bridal, we can get you set up for your big day! As Toronto’s premier bridal destination, we can fit you with wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses for anyone, including plus-size! Let us help you say yes to the dress!


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