Sure, long gowns are still the queen of the wedding aisle, but these days, more and more designers are also opting to include short and sweet, sexy or vintage-inspired dresses in their collections.

Among the many innovative short looks at the fall 2013 bridal shows, Theia walked a sparkly cocktail dress with a dramatic, kimono-style over-shirt down the runway, St. Pucchi and Jenny Lee were inspired by flowers, Pronovias played with high necklines and swingy skirts, Marchesa featured layers and ruffles, and Reem Acra had a lace peplum and flapper-style feathers.

Feeling a little nontraditional yourself? Here’s what you should know about this fashion-forward, less-fabric-is-more trend.

When to Wear One

Short wedding dresses are always appropriate. However, they do typically feel less formal, so unless you’re well-known for your unconventional personality and style, you’ll definitely want to consider your event’s venue and vibe. Going short isn’t the best fit for traditional, black-tie or church weddings. But it might be a playful addition to an urban/modern fête, a daytime party, or a more casual affair at the beach, on a farm, or at home.

If you want to make your short frock a touch more formal, pair. it with a long veil. For cool season soirées, who doesn’t lovesshort dresses with tights – try bright colors like fuchsia or turquoise, or go with sophisticated and universally flattering black.

Get the Best of Both Worlds

If you’ve fallen in love with a particular little white dress, but can’t quite imagine saying your I do’s in it, wear a long gown for the ceremony and then changing into the short option for your entrance at the reception, before the cake-cutting, or when you’re ready to hit the dance floor. Dresses that play with proportion e.g. shorter in front and long (even trailing) in the back are very trendy right now. And Watters, Anne Barge, Lazaro and more are crafting two-in-one beauties – chic, short sheaths with long, flowing tulle or silk organza detachable overskirts. Mix in short white dresses for your other bridal events, like showers and bachelorette parties

Who Should Do It

Any woman can wear a short dress, but just as with longer gowns, certain silhouettes will work better on your specific body type than others. Have great gams that you want to show off? Go mini! Or for a more demure look you can try tea-length, look at short designs by Elizabeth Dye, Ivy & Aster, Theia and Encore.

A-lines and (if not large-busted) empire waists are great for apple-shapes, cupcake dresses are good for hourglass and pear-shapes, and sashes or skirts that flare at the bottom can create a waist on athletic types. Petite in both height and stature? Blair suggests amping up your short frock’s impact with a train.

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