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Which short wedding dress is best?

Modern fashion leaves nothing off the table. Mismatched patterns, mom jeans, braless tops and short wedding dresses were once considered fashion faux pas but are now top tier contenders for fashion week. The Calvin Klein Bell Sleeve Sheath With Sheer Inserts Dress is a classic dress choice for those who treasure understated beauty over extravagance. This knee-length wedding dress has a modern chic style with sheer details that exude classiness.

What to know before you buy a short wedding dress

You should never go bridal shopping blindly. At least know your own style and have some grasp of fashion terminology so you can track down the perfect nonconventional dress. Buying a wedding dress isn’t a simple process for most brides. There are extra costs that tag along with a short wedding dress purchase even if your choice is a low-maintenance pick.

Dress terminology

Short dresses may have less fabric, but they do not have any less style. They can come in a variety of silhouettes that flatter different body types.

  • Shift dresses hang loosely over your body and have no tailored shape to them. These dresses look best on people with rectangle-shaped bodies. 
  • Sheath dresses are the form-fitting version of shift dresses. They draw attention to the waistline and best fit an athletic or hourglass figure.
  • A-line style is popular in long and short dresses. The torso is fitted and the skirt is flared slightly outward, making this a silhouette that suits every body shape. 
  • Trapeze dresses are a variation of the A-line dress that isn’t fitted but flares outward at the bottom.
  • Mermaid dresses are a tight fit that flares at or below the knees, while trumpet dresses flare at the thigh. These dresses suit curvy figures as well as hourglass and inverted shapes.

Your style and outside opinion

Wedding dresses can be any style you can imagine, but shorter dresses tend to lean toward being modern, vintage, boho or casual. Even though your wedding dress is completely your choice, be careful not to block out the opinions of friends, family and bridal consultants. An outside opinion could help find the perfect above-the-knee or midi wedding dress.

Money and management

Purchasing a dress and paying for alterations are not the only expenditures for achieving the perfect wedding day look. You will want to factor in the cost of your shoes, accessories, wedding veil, makeup and hair. If you have been meticulously planning this event, you should begin searching for all of these assets early on to ensure you have ample time to find what you’re looking for.

If you have already purchased some of these products, be sure to pick out a dress that will correlate well. Remember that, unlike typical floor-length wedding gowns, short dresses will not obscure your shoes. 

What to look for in a quality short wedding dress

A short wedding dress isn’t just a refreshing new look that allows you to be glamorous and move freely. Short wedding dresses should be convenient to dress in and wear throughout your wedding and wedding reception. They should be made of quality materials with wash instructions, especially if purchased in a standard ivory color. 


The charm of a short wedding dress is its simplicity. Short wedding dresses do not have the layers and additional assets that are often attached to a long gown. Bathroom breaks aren’t a hassle and you can stand up without worrying about tripping over your own skirt. Many short wedding dresses are outfitted with a zipper, and putting them on is no harder than pulling on a pair of jeans.


Traditional wedding gowns require skilled cleanings due to their delicate lacing and details. Choose a short dress and you won’t have to spend your entire wedding agonizing over the fear that you’ll spoil your pristine white gown. Most short wedding dresses can be safely machine washed or dry cleaned.


Despite their low maintenance reputation, short wedding dresses do not need to be boring. They can be embellished with the same features as their longer counterparts. Corsets, veils and other accessories can add depth, while lace, embroidery and mesh can add artistic detail.

How much you can expect to spend on a short wedding dress

Expect to spend $100-$150 on a short wedding dress.

Short wedding dress FAQ

What shoes go with a short wedding dress?

A. Short wedding dresses are versatile and can be paired with sandals, heels or boots. Some brides go “Father of the Bride” style and lace up a pair of bridal sneakers.

Can you wear a veil with a short wedding dress?

A. The short answer is yes. Both long and short veils are acceptable to wear with a short dress. Most short wedding dresses are accompanied by a cropped veil that falls past the shoulders.

What’s the best short wedding dress to buy?

Top short wedding dress

Calvin Klein Women’s Bell Sleeve Sheath with Sheer Inserts Dress

Calvin Klein Women’s Bell Sleeve Sheath With Sheer Inserts Dress

What you need to know: This sheath-style dress is cream-colored with sheer lining on its sleeves and hem.

What you’ll love: This dress is made of a polyester and spandex blend that is flexible and comfortable. It has a back zipper and comes in the colors black, evergreen, red and cream.

What you should consider: It only goes up to size 14. The dress is dry clean only.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top short wedding dress for the money

Calvin Klein Floral Embroidered Lace Women’s Sheath Dress

Calvin Klein Floral Embroidered Lace Women’s Sheath Dress

What you need to know: This is a lace-and-floral embroidered sheath dress.

What you’ll love: The dress is an affordable price and has intricate detailing across the entire body. It is available in the colors regatta, white and black.

What you should consider: This dress is dry-clean only and has no plus-size options.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

BCBG Max Azria Asymmetric V-Neck Sleeveless Mini Sheath Dress

BCBG Max Azria Asymmetric V-Neck Sleeveless Mini Sheath Dress

What you need to know: This is an asymmetrical dress with spaghetti straps and a V-neck. 

What you’ll love: The dress is machine washable and has a back zipper. It comes in off-white and lime sherbet colors.

What you should consider: It is a mini sleeveless dress and thus an unwise choice to wear from the late fall to early spring.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Gwen Swanson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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