Show me a maxi dress that’s form-fitting enough to flaunt your shape and free-flowing enough to allow free movement and I’ll show you a mermaid dress.
Contrary to what the name says, it’s not a costume you wear to look like a mermaid. Instead, it’s a dress with a fitted bodice and a dramatic flare around the knees, resembling a fishtail or mermaid fin.
It’s one of the popular wedding dress styles for brides. Also, A-list celebrities and many women don this dress to black-tie, white-tie, and red-carpet events. You too can.
Whether it’s your wedding coming up, a friend’s wedding, prom, or any social event you want to make a fashion statement at, a mermaid dress is what you need. And your being on this page means you’ve been considering having one too.
If that’s your goal but you don’t know the perfect mermaid dress to start with, we wrote this piece for you.
You’ll not only find the best mermaid dress styles to inspire your next statement outfit. You’ll also learn more about this dress style, including how to rock it with impact.
Let’s dive in.
What is a Mermaid Dress?
Also known as the fishtail dress, this type of dress comes with a bit of drama. It fits snugly to your body and only gets free at the knees. It’s the perfect dress to flaunt your curves in an edgy manner.
Fishtail dresses serve as wedding gowns, dinner gowns, or dresses for evening events. They can be made with any fabric such as crepe, lace, sequin, mesh, ankara, chiffon, silk, etc. It’s a versatile style that can work with any receptive fabric.
Furthermore, they also come with different sleeves and necklines. If you want it strapless, long-sleeved, puff-sleeved, flared sleeves, or any kind of sleeve, you’ll have it. The same as necklines. Whether you want it modest or revealing, you can have it.
Now you may be wondering, what’s it about this dress that’s dramatic? I’ll tell you.
It’s not just the flared fishtail part but also the fact that some designers may either make the flared part with a different fabric or exaggerate the flare. They do this to add more accents to the dress.
For instance, you can have the bodice of the dress made with sequin only to find organza, faux fur, or tulle ruffles around the flared parts. Others come with accents such as beads, gemstones, fringes feathers, ruffles or pleats around the bodice, cut-outs, and other standout details.
Who can Wear Mermaid Dresses?
Brides or any woman with an hourglass or pear figure will look magnificent in a mermaid dress. The cut of this dress is designed to flatter your body and accentuate your small waist and natural curves.
Imagine yourself in one. Picture the snug fit around your hips and an ultra-fitted neckline adorning your chest region. You’ll be sure to stun the Internet once you share photos in this dress.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t don a mermaid dress if you aren’t curvy. The flare around the knees will balance your broad shoulders and lower body (if your body type is apple) and add volume to your lower body (if you’re on the straight side), thus giving the illusion of curves.
So, you see, it’s a great outfit for any body type though curvy women have the upper edge. But if you’re conscious of your tummy, you may want to avoid wearing this dress because it brings everything to full glare.
Why Do Women Wear Mermaid Dresses?
There are so many reasons these dresses are in vogue. Buth the most common include:
Whether you’re on the slim side or on the thick side, once you don a mermaid dress, it flatters your silhouette. It gives people a reason to stare and pass repetitive glances.
From your bust to your waist down to your hips and even your legs, this dress does a great job covering up yet revealing your style and silhouette.
It’s a Statement Piece
People will always remember that curvaceous lady who turned heads with her beautiful and well-detailed dress. They will.
Why, you ask? Because you won’t find such outfits every day. They’re for events that require you to make a spectacular attendance.
They Offer Comfort
If the dress were fitted from the bodice down to your heels, you’ll find it difficult to move around or dance.
But it’s not. It only hugs your upper body and flares out to allow your legs to move freely. That’s comfort and style merged in one piece.
You’ll Look Great in It
Imagine donning a statement piece that’s comfy, flattering, and super stylish.
Wouldn’t you feel better about yourself? If it’s your wedding, rest assured your photos and videos will be reposted on different social media pages and blogs. And when you look at your photos in remembrance of your big day, your lips will curve into a smile of pride.
What is the Difference Between a Mermaid Dress and a Trumpet Dress?
The major difference between both styles of dresses is that while a fishtail dress flares at the knees, a trumpet dress flares out around the thighs to elongate your legs.
The trumpet style is an excellent choice for women who want to emphasize their curves without drawing too much attention to the legs.
Can You Walk in a Mermaid Dress?
While a mermaid dress may not be as free as an A-line or ball gown, you can still walk comfortably in it. Sure your legs may not move as fast as it would if you donned a loose dress, but this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to move around easily.
Can You Dance in a Mermaid Dress?
Of course, you can. As Elizabeth Marberry, Founder of Wedding Dance Coach, noted:
“Most dances work well in a mermaid gown – you just won’t be able to take big steps.”Elizabeth Marberry
So, wear your fishtail dress. You’ll dance even better than David so long as you take the right (not big) steps.
History of the Mermaid Dress
These dresses have been around for centuries. As written on Yolancris’s blog, they first appeared around 1877 when fashion was transitioning from maximum width to maximum narrowness.
But the dress gained mainstream popularity in the 1930s when French designer, Marcel Rochas, showcased it on an Haute Couture runway.
Many celebrities of the 1950s donned this dress for occasions. Some of them are Swedish model Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Dorothy Dandridge, and a host of others.
Are Mermaid Dresses Supposed to be Tight?
Yes, these dresses should be tight from your bodice to your waist, hips, and down to your knees. Then flare from the knees to support easy movement.
But there’s a clause: It shouldn’t be too tight. It should offer ease lest you should feel uncomfortable to even sit, let alone move about freely.
A mermaid wedding dress can be easily altered by an experienced bridal seamstress. The fit of your mermaid dress is so important! The hips need to be tight enough to look good but still have enough ease to enable you to move freely and sit down.
What to Consider When Wearing a Mermaid Dress
Though this dress oozes a balance of sexiness and femininity., don’t wear it without considering the following:
1. How Comfortable You’ll be
If you don’t like figure-hugging or tight-fitting dresses, there’s no point opting for this one. Unless you’re ready to learn how to be comfortable in it, don’t wear it.
Inasmuch as it’s a stylish piece, you wouldn’t want to be caught tripping or taking awkward steps because of your dress. Remember, it’s not comfort over style or style over comfort. It’s comfort and style.
2. Your Body Type
If you’re tall and somewhat curvy, rest assured you’ll be the cynosure of all eyes while wearing this piece.
But if your upper body is larger than your lower body and you don’t want to look tacky in your dress, ensure you create a balance.
For instance, don’t wear large sleeves. Your shoulders are already broad and there’s a flare around your legs. So, go for thin straps or tight-fitting sleeves instead.
Regardless of your body type, it’s best you keep the sleeves of your dress lowkey so the fishtail gets the attention it deserves. Or maybe rock the statement sleeves and keep the lower flared part of your dress moderate.
But since there’s no one size fits all, don’t be reluctant to add a standout detail around the upper part of your dress while still bringing the drama with an exaggerated flare.
3. The Most Suitable Accessories & Shoes
Everything you wear has to complement your dress. From your hairdo to your makeup down to your jewelry, headwear, handbags, and shoes.
Thankfully, we have a style guide that shows how to match your hairstyle with your dress. Feel free to check it out. But if you’d rather do that later, let’s proceed.
Dresses like this work best with silver or gold jewelry and heels. Furthermore, your makeup has to be subtle yet beautiful lest it should clash with your statement dress. And if your dress is glittery or embellished with stones, a minaudière bag will suit just fine.
4. A Good Designer
You may choose the best fishtail dress style only to get a horrible finished work all because you worked with the wrong designer/seamstress.
So, if you don’t want that to be your lot, work with the best fashion designer in your vicinity.
If you’ve considered everything mentioned above and you’ve set modalities in place, go ahead and rock your mermaid dress. Need more inspo? Check these out: