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While unique, modern, and trendy wedding gowns can be fun, there's something to be said for a more classic look. For brides who want to go for the traditional rather than the unexpected, sheath wedding dresses are the perfect pick. This style offers a beautifully tailored silhouette, with a fitted look that also allows for some movement; the result being a glamorous frock that shows off your curves, while also embodying a minimalist but elegant feel.
What differentiates a sheath dress from other styles is that it's fitted through the bodice with a skirt that falls straight. Some sheath numbers have skirts that flare just a bit below the knee, but it is the straight skirt that really distinguishes them from a mermaid or fit-and-flare gown.
This style is also perfect for the bride who isn't into ballgowns, but still wants something that feels classic and timeless. And luckily, there are plenty of options out there, as this is a popular silhouette that will forever be a bridal fashion top pick.
Ready to shop for your favorite styles? Scroll on to find the best sheath wedding dresses that will certainly offer a classic bridal look.
Best Halter: DB Studio Sequin Leaf-Appliqued High Neck Sheath Gown
Size Range: 0-14 | Length: Floor-length | Material: Polyester organza
A high halter neckline is what makes this David's Bridal number unique. The gown is covered in a leafy sequin applique that gives off a touch of sparkle and a beautiful texture.
Best Strapless: David's Bridal Collection Pleated Chiffon Sheath Wedding Dress with Beading
Size Range: 0-14 | Length: Floor-length | Material: Chiffon
This empire waist sheath dress has a lighter and airer skirt than many of the other options. The pleated chiffon gives it a more delicate look, and we love the shimmering detail on the bodice.
Best Embroidery: Phase Eight Poppy Embroidered Wedding Dress
Size Range: 2-14 | Length: Floor-length | Material: Polyester
The intricate floral embroidering on this gown is so beautifully detailed that it will leave everyone in awe. We also love the halter neck and belt accent, and this is a great pick for someone who wants some sleeves.
Best Lace: Jenny Yoo Sydney Gown
Size Range: 00-32 | Length: Floor-length | Material: Cari chemical lace
This floral lace gown is gorgeous to look at and would be lovely for a spring wedding. Thin straps and a sheer panel on the back show just a bit of skin, while a hidden flounce in the skirt offers some really nice movement.
Best Budget: Watters Maverick Gown
Size Range: 0-14 | Length: Floor-length | Material: Lucios charmeuse, knit lining
At just $500, this Watters gown is a great option for a bride trying to stick to a budget. The flouncy sleeves and flowy skirt give off a chic boho vibe, perfect for brides looking for a more casual look.
Best Off-The-Shoulder: DB Studio Crepe Off-Shoulder Sheath Wedding Dress
Size Range: 16-30 | Length: Floor-length | Material: Polyester, spandex
You can never go wrong with the form-fitting crepe and beautiful draping on this stunning, but otherwise simple, dress. The off-the-shoulder neckline gives it an air of elegance as well.
Best Cap Sleeves: Cassi Namoda X J.Crew Limited-Edition Wedding Dress
Size Range: 00-16 | Length: Floor-length | Material: Silk, ramie
This ethereal gown comes from a limited-edition capsule collection between Cassi Namoda and J.Crew, so snagging it is a must. Capped sleeves, a plunging neckline, and a gathered bowtie waist are all beautiful touches.
Most Statement-Making: Adriana Papell Nicole Lace and Hand-Beaded Platinum Wedding Gown
Size Range: 0-30 | Length: Floor-length | Material: Beading and crepe
There is nothing minimalist about this gown, which features delicate all-over hand-beading, an illusion neck and back, a sheer waistband, and interesting lace.
Best for the Casual Bride: Reformation Lecce Dress
Size Range: 0-12 | Length: Floor-length | Material: Viscoe
This gown is made from a lightweight, crepe-like fabric, and has a formfitting silhouette with a skirt that flows just enough. Simple and on the more casual side, the scoop back and bustier top keep it bridal.
Best Flutter Sleeves: DB Studio Lace Flutter Sleeve Draped Sheath Wedding Gown
Size Range: 0-14 | Length: Floor-length | Material: Nylon, spandex
All-over lace, delicate flutter sleeves, and gathering at the waist make this dress appear light and feminine. While it's sometimes hard to find wedding dresses with sleeves, this is a beautiful example and it comes at a budget-friendly price point.
Best for the Minimalist Bride: Katie May Sheath Gown
Size Range: S-XL | Length: Floor-length | Material: Polyester, spandex
While not technically a wedding gown, this is a great budget-friendly option that is ideal for the minimalist bride. Thin straps and a deep V-neck, in both the front and back, make this very flattering.
Best Back Detail: Adriana Papell Fluted Off The Shoulder Wedding Gown
Size Range: 0-30 | Length: Floor-length | Material: Crepe
From the front, this looks like your standard off-the-shoulder crepe gown, but from the back, it's much more fun. A Chantilly lace insert paired with a modern bow tie keeps this gown on the unique side.
Best Long Sleeve: Anne Barge Manhattan
Size Range: 0-24 | Length: Floor-length | Material: Stretch crepe
If you're getting married in the winter, this comfortable stretch crepe gown will be a stunner. A high neck keeps the front conservative, but the back features a gorgeous draped cowl silhouette and oversized buttons that make for excellent details.
What to Look for in a Sheath Wedding Dress
Sheath wedding dresses are a classic and traditional style, ideal for the bride who wants to keep things simple but chic. If you are looking for a full ballgown skirt that evokes a princess feel, then a sheath wedding dress isn't for you. Also, since these silhouettes are more fitted, you will want to look for a material that is comfortable and not too restricting.
For those who want their look to be a little more dramatic, opt for pieces that feature embellishments like beading or lace. For the bride who wants a sexier look, shop for gowns with sleek cut-outs, slits, or plunging necklines.
What is a sheath wedding dress?
A sheath wedding dress features a skirt that falls straight and is a gown that tends to be more fitted to your body type. They show off your curves while having a more simple, minimalist design.
Who should wear a sheath wedding dress?
Of course, anyone can wear a sheath dress! If you're a bride who wants something more minimalist, modern, and shapely, then this style is a great choice.
How do I style a sheath wedding dress?
If you're looking for a clean bridal look, you really don't have to do anything to a sheath wedding dress. You can keep them unadorned and they will still look elegant. However, if you want to add some enhancements, a beaded or lace belt can nip in the waist for a standout silhouette. You can also add on jewelry for some extra sparkle and really play around with beautiful footwear.
About the Author
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.