The Ball Gown is the wedding dress gold standard. It connotes formality and importance. Many brides choose a ball gown simply because it might be the only occasion when it's appropriate to wear such a dramatic dress. The term ball gown refers to the proper dress worn to a ball, and also to its full-skirted ball shape. Ball gowns can be made in virtually any fabric as long as there is the appropriate underskirt to help the dress keep its shape.
Ball gowns are most flattering when they have a small, waist-defining bodice that enhance the wearer's curves (real or imagined) through boning and a well-cut bustline that sits perfectly, revealing neither too much nor too little. Strapless ball gowns are by far the most popular, but can be tricky to wear, particularly for a larger-busted woman.
The bodice of a ball gown (especially those strapless ones) must be fit to perfection; otherwise, a bride runs the unfortunate risk of tugging and pulling her dress up all night long. Strapless ball gowns remain a wedding day favorite in part because the décolleté and shoulders of a woman are highlighted and every woman, regardless of size and shape, has beautiful shoulders and décolleté.
A natural-waist ball gown is extremely flattering and is the current favorite of many designers. Be careful, though, of heavily pleated skirts. They can add extra pounds precisely where one would not like extra pounds, right around the middle. Tulle ball gowns are super romantic and for a fashionista at heart.
Famous ball gown wearers like Marie Antoinette, Grace Kelly and Kate Middleton all looked perfectly appropriate for their place and time in fashion history. Ball gowns are best suited for formal, evening and country club weddings and have the uncanny ability to make every bride look and feel like a true princess.