Wedding dresses: necklines

Use our guide to necklines to find the ideal styles for your bridal gown

After the silhouette, the neckline of your dress is perhaps the most important feature to consider as it draws attention to your face, collarbones and décolletage (your throat and cleavage).

The neckline will also affect the accessories that you can or cannot wear with your dress.

A bateau or boat neckline (below left) has a wide shape which follows the collarbone to the edge of the shoulders. The front and back pieces are joined at the ends or linked by thin straps.

A crumbcatcher neckline (below middle) is a square neckline with a ruffled or scalloped fabric ridge which projects slightly from the body. This is a good style for very flat-chested brides as it adds volume and draws attention to the bride’s face.

A halterneck dress (below right) has straps that join at the back of the neck, or a high neckline with wide armholes. Halterneck dresses usually have a low cut back, so you may not be able to wear a bra or will need a special bra for halterneck dresses. This is a good style to choose if you have attractive shoulders and back!

bateau_neckline crumbcatcher_neckline halter_neckline

A high neck dress (below left) covers the décolletage and neck and has a narrow collar. The dress is often cut with a normal neckline and the whole bodice then covered with lace or a sheer fabric. The back may be left uncovered. This is a good choice for brides with a small bust and it looks good with an updo hairstyle. You will not be able to wear a necklace, and small, neat earrings will look best with this style.

A jewel or T-shirt neckline (below middle) is round and cut high to the base of the throat, hence the name “T-shirt”. This is a good style for brides with a small bust who wish to cover up their upper chest and collarbones.

An off the shoulder neckline (below right) has small sleeves or straps that sit below the shoulder on the upper arm. This is good choice for curvaceous brides with a medium to large bust. It is not the best choice for women with wide shoulders.

high_neck_dress jewel_neckline off_the_shoulder_neckline

A one shoulder neckline (below left) has a strap on one side of the body only. This style is gaining in popularity with the modern bride who seeks something “different”, and is suitable for a woman who does not need to wear a bra.

A portrait neckline (below middle) accentuates an attractive décolletage, neck and face. This is wide neckline that forms a wide, soft scoop from one shoulder to the other and stands out or flares out to give the effect of a small collar. It may also be lined in a contrasting fabric.

A scoop or round neckline (below right) is U-shaped at the front and usually at the back too. It is often cut quite low, and flatters any bride.

one_shoulder_neckline portrait_neckline scoop_neckline

A dress with shoelace or spaghetti straps (below left) is usually straight or slightly shaped. The bodice is supported by delicate, thin straps which may often be removed. This is a good style for brides with a small to medium bust.

A square neckline (below middle) is cut straight across with square corners where the straps or sleeves at attached to the bodice. This style is suitable for most figure types.

A strapless dress (below right) is generally figure-hugging, and has a straight or subtly-shaped neckline. This is a good choice for brides with broad shoulders. If you are planning a church wedding, you may need to wear a jacket, shrug or wrap for the ceremony; check with the church.

spaghetti_strap square_neckline strapless_dress

A sweetheart neckline (below left) is fairly low, in a gentle heart shape at the front and a high, straight back. This is a good choice for women who have a good cleavage that they want to accentuate. A Queen Anne neckline is similar to the sweetheart style but with a more accentuated heart-shape.

A V-neck dress (below right) forms a V-shape at the front. The back can either be cut in a similar shape or higher and straighter. This dress is a good choice for brides with a medium bust.

sweetheart_neckline V-neck_dress

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