Six Necklines for Sleeveless Wedding Dresses

Wedding dress styles for the bride, bridesmaids, and guests can vary from the modest to sexy, depending on the design of the dress. Besides the fit, the silhouette, neckline, and sleeves will influence if the style is conservative, sensuous, or seductive. Brides and guests of all body shapes can find a sleeveless wedding dress to suit their style. Consider these six necklines that are classic silhouettes popular for any bride’s wedding dress.  

Dress Without Sleeves vs Sleeveless Dress 

A “dress without sleeves” and  “a sleeveless dress” are not actually synonymous. “Sleeveless dress” specifically refers to a dress designed without fabric on the arms, but features fabric extending beyond the bust line, over the shoulders, and continues down the back. Strapless, halter, spaghetti strap, and one-shoulder dresses do not feature sleeves, but are uniquely identified by their shoulder strap (or lack thereof.)  

Pairing Necklines with a Sleeveless Wedding Dress 

Bateau, also known as boat neck, is a wide neckline that mimics the curve of the collarbone and extends to the shoulders. This style neckline can expose a horizontal glimpse of shoulder, but it pairs well with a sleeveless dress. The extra material covering the chest and decolletage puts showcases the bare arms while adding a bit of modesty. Women with large busts should use caution, as this neckline can add emphasis to the chest. 

Cowl neck is a draping neckline that exposes the collarbone. It can appear messy, as stretch or knit fabrics have a tendency to hang or flop. For a formal wedding dress, consider a structured cowl neck made from a firmer fabric that will not need re-positioning during the ceremony or reception. This style neckline can add a touch of elegance to a simple sleeveless column dress.  

Plunging necklines create a deep V from the shoulders to the center of the bust. This style is typically the most revealing of the neckline choices. Choosing a sleeveless wedding dress with a plunging neckline will expose significant swaths of skin. Provocative, seductive, and sexy would describe this pairing. 

Square necklines feature a horizontal line across the bust, which meets at a ninety-degree angle with the vertical straps. This neckline frames the face and neck. The square neckline can vary in levels of modest, depending on the cut of the bust line. Paired with a sleeveless wedding dress style, a square neck can add a touch of glamour to the look. 

Bonus: Two Tips to Maximize The Wedding Dress Style Glossary 

Try on one wedding dress in each style. Remember to take pictures. Hint: Take four pictures: front, back and each side. The purpose of this fitting is to determine which style the bride is most comfortable in, and which style is most flattering. If several styles suit the bride, use this fitting to whittle down the options and definite “no’s.” 

Create a mood board for each wedding dress style. Tech-savvy brides will use Pinterest. This allows the bride to quickly window and save her favorites in a visual medium. Hint: also create a Pinterest board for wedding dress embellishments and accessories. 

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