The ballgown, sometimes called the princess gown or bouffant gown, is the most formal style for weddings. It is full-skirted, falls to the floor and sometimes has a train. There have been periods when the full skirt was supported by a hoop or stiff petticoat. The fabric is always lovely, such as satin, silk, taffeta, tulle, lace and often exotically trimmed with pearls, sequins, ruching and embroidery. Most versions are either strapless or cut off the shoulder with decollete necklines. The gown, itself, is just the beginning. It is almost always accompanied by a long cathedral veil which is held in place by an ornate headpiece, such as a tiara or jewelled comb.
Where It Is Worn
The ballgown belongs at a large wedding held in a cathedral or large church. It is not an ideal choice for a small wedding, a destination wedding or even a garden wedding – the length of the gown and veil inevitably catch on the grass so that ‘walking down the aisle’ can be less than graceful.
Who It Flatters
It is not a good choice for a woman with a large waist and small hips because the width of the skirt hides the slim hips and magnifies the thicker waist. It is ideal, however, for the woman with large hips which are well hidden under the voluminous skirt.