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To a blind eye, all wedding dresses might look the same. However, once you start your search for the perfect gown you realize how many different styles there are, and a drop waist wedding dress is one style worth considering. Drop waist dresses first became popular in the 1920s, so even the most modern iterations have a slightly vintage feel to them, and are perfect for the bride who is looking for something retro.
A drop waist silhouette is defined as one that hugs your curves down to about your hips before flaring out. Since the “waist” sits lower than your natural waist, it gives the illusion of a longer torso and accentuates your curves. It’s similar to a mermaid (which is fitted down to the knee) and also to a trumpet style (which flares out above the knee or mid-thigh). Drop waist dresses can also make you appear taller and are a nice alternative to a classic A-line or ballgown style.
Ahead, keep scrolling for a selection of beautiful drop waist wedding gowns you can buy now for your special day.
Sizes: 0-14 | Material: Mikado silk | Length: Floor-length
This bedazzled strapless silk gown is a classic option that just feels very bridal. The applique stops where the skirt flares out, for a dramatic train that will look lovely in photos.
Sizes: 0-18 | Material: Matte crepe | Length: Floor-length
This Jenny Yoo gown was created with a minimalist bride in mind. Simple and timeless, it’s made of a stretchy crepe material and features fabric-covered buttons down the back and train.
Sizes: 0-16 | Material: 100% silk | Length: Floor-length
With its fitted bodice, drop waist, and gathered silk skirt, this unique dress has an almost medieval look to it. It’s simple but made of high-quality, sumptuous silk that makes it feel extra special.
Sizes: Contact for details | Material: Sequins, lace, tulle | Length: Floor-length
A floral lace design, delicate off-the-shoulder sleeves, and a sweeping train are only a few of the things that make this drop waist gown so feminine. This is a beautiful and classic option for the traditional bride.
Sizes: 0-18 | Material: Silk modal Mikado | Length: Floor-length
In case you were wondering if you can wear a Cinderella-style ballgown with a drop waist, this dress is proof that it’s possible. A plunging neckline, drop waist, and full skirt makes this dress feel so unique.
Sizes: 4-10 | Material: Satin | Length: Floor-length
This dress drops down pretty low before slightly flaring out, aligning closer to a sheath style. The feathers on the shoulders are a fun and unexpected detail, to boot.
Sizes: XS-XL | Material: Stretch matte viscose jersey | Length: Floor-length
While undoubtedly a stunning gown, this piece feels more casual sans a full skirt or a train. The pleated skirt and Basque drop waist make it so interesting, and we love the banded off-the-shoulder sleeves and column silhouette.
Sizes: XS-XXL | Material: Satin | Length: Floor-length
If you want the look of a drop waist without getting an actual drop waist gown, this is a fair option. An asymmetrical hem mimics a drop waist design, with a sash that cinches your actual waist. A long train and high slit complete the look.
Sizes: Enquire | Material: Satin back crepe | Length: Floor-length
Unique and lovely, this sating gown is perfect for a fall or winter wedding. The drop waist isn’t quite as dramatic as some other options, which gives it a more modern look. We love the split sleeves and plunging neckline.
Sizes: 2-12 | Material: Polyester, spandex | Length: Floor-length
Fitted tight to just below the hips, this dress has a high slit right up to the drop waist. It’s simple and perfect for a minimalist, casual bride, or beach bride, and the price is great at under $300.
Sizes: 0-14 | Material: Silk faille | Length: Floor-length
Feminine details like thin straps, a crystal belt, and a full skirt make this drop waist gown feel so special. The crystal detail keeps it interesting and also adds some nice sparkle.
Sizes: 00-15 | Material: Cotton, nylon, spandex | Length: Floor-length
The corded lace detail of this gown makes it almost hard to see the drop waist style, but it’s there. The intricate design is gorgeous, and we especially love the open back with a row of fabric-covered buttons down the middle.
Sizes: 16-30 | Material: Polyester | Length: Floor-length
This lace gown is both traditional and more boho-inspired, which is thanks in large part to the detachable sleeves that offer some fun fringe. If you don’t love the sleeves, you can always leave them off and still have a beautiful dress.
Sizes: Small | Material: Suede, crepe, lycra | Length: Floor-length
Structural and giving off a contemporary feel, this dress is not for the traditional bride. It’s meant to stand out as it features unique cut-outs, a drop waist, and a two-piece silhouette.
Sizes: 0-30 | Material: Chantilly lace, silk chiffon | Length: Floor-length
This stunning dress has an unexpected halter neckline, but is otherwise pretty traditional. The subtle drop waist gives way to a flowing skirt and a long cathedral train, and it’s basically backless for some sex appeal.
Sizes: 0-22 | Material: Matte satin | Length: Formal maxi
White might be traditional for a bride, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear it. Do something different in this champagne-colored dress, which is festive and fun, and bound to stand out.
Sizes: Enquire | Material: Lace, tulle | Length: Floor-length
The drop waist of this traditional bridal gown is not immediately obvious, which is part of what makes it feel so classic. A true ballgown, it features lace and beading, and a skirt that feels magical without being over-the-top.
Sizes: 0-16 | Material: Polyester | Length: Floor-length
Cinched detailing, one off-the-shoulder sleeve, a unique neckline, and a high slit make this dress feel very of the moment (in a great way!). It’s a beautiful and different option for fashion-forward brides.
Sizes: 0-16 | Material: Polyester | Length: Floor-length
The knitted crochet look of this gown makes it feel very bohemian. Details like a plunging neckline and low back give it an alluring feel as well.
Sizes: 0-30 | Material: Silk | Length: Floor-length
The drop waist of this dress makes it a ballgown with a twist. The full skirt and floral lace throughout give it a feminine feel, while the drop waist makes it stand out among other ball gowns.
Sizes: 0-16 | Material: Organza | Length: Floor-length
Go for trendy and youthful with this two-piece gown that features a strapless crop top. The skirt is tight around the hips and then flares out to be more full, as bands of organza provide a bridal feel.
Sizes: XS-XXXL | Material: Silk stretch jersey | Length: Floor-length
Made of comfortable stretchy silk jersey, this dress is just right for the low-maintenance bride who still wants to look and feel glamorous. The drop waist and ruching are beautiful details, and the long sleeves make it perfect for cooler-weather weddings.
What to Look for in a Drop Waist Wedding Dress
When searching for the perfect drop waist wedding dress, decide how bold you want the waist to be. Some drop waists are subtle to the point where you can barely even tell they’re there, and really give the appearance of elongating the torso. Some are much more obvious, which tend to have a more vintage feel, and others are a perfect mix in the middle. You should also think about how full you want the skirt to be. Ballgown skirts with a drop waist exist, but if you want something more minimalist, opt for a straighter style with just a slight flare.
A drop waist wedding dress one that hugs your curves down to about your hips before flaring out into a more full skirt. It accentuates your curves and can create the illusion of a longer torso.
Drop waist and mermaid styles are similar but are not the same. A drop waist dress is tight to about the top of the hips, and a mermaid dress is tight down to the knees before flaring out. The skirt of a mermaid dress also tends to be a bit more dramatic than a drop waist skirt.
Anyone can wear a drop waist gown, but they do accentuate your curves, especially the hip area. If you don’t want something that is tight on your hips, avoid this style.
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Contributing writer Jessica Booth is a freelance writer and formerly served as an editor for seven years. Her work has been featured in Bustle, Insider, Redbook, and Refinery29.