5 Tips on Buying Bridesmaid Dresses

bridesmaid, wedding, dresses, fashion lists, fashion advice

These are gorgeous, simply dresses that would be so pretty for a bridesmaid. And of course you don't need to get the designer version, you can have your own ones made. From left to right, Carven, Issa, and Acne.

I don’t have any personal experience being a bridesmaid, or buying bridesmaid dresses (that was a formality my wedding did not have) but I’ve worked in a bridal store and have seen how desperately tragic bridesmaid dresses can be. I have a friend who has a closet full of hideous bridesmaid dresses (I am pretty sure 27 Dresseswas based on her) and I am always flabbergasted that her “friends” expected her to wear those hideous monstrosities, AND made her pay for them! So, because of her, the request of one of my readers, and any future victims of heinous bridesmaid dresses, I have decided to compile a few tips.

bridesmaid, wedding, dresses, fashion lists, fashion advice

Here are a few dresses for more informal weddings. Imagine the striped one with flat gladiator sandals, on a beach? Amazing! From left to right: Chinti and Parker, Marc Jacobs, and Jil Sander.

1. Consider different body types. The problem with a lot of the ugly bridesmaid dresses I’ve seen is that they don’t suit all the girls in the party. Do you really want to stick one of your supposedly best friends (or sisters!) in a dress shape she’d never get caught dead in otherwise? No. Even if this means they won’t all be in the same dress, you’d prefer a happy bridal party than knowing your friends are going to resent you for the rest of their lives (or seek revenge. See point 5.)

2. Choose a theme, and allow some freedom. Pick a theme, and let your bridesmaid to choose something that works best for them. That could be a colour, a fabric, or a style of dress. For example if you want everyone in chocolate brown, choose the fabric and allow each girl to pick the shape that best suits her. You can have some guidelines (full length, short sleeve, etc…) but this way the girls can at least choose a shape that will flatter them. Another option is to buy accessories, and let them get a dress they like (ex. you provide a red belt and corsage, everyone buys a black, knee length dress. And then, the girls might actually wear their dresses again!)

bridesmaid, wedding, dresses, fashion lists, fashion advice

If you have to do full length, here are a few options. I love the idea of putting your bridesmaids into the strapless one in the center, but each dress is in a different colour, with the matching black belt. From left to right: Roland Mouret, Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu. s.

3. Allow them to personalize. If you are going to insist that they all wear the same dress (this tends only works nicely if they all have the same body type and they will all look good in the colour you chose) then don’t force them to all wear the same shoes, fascinator, and jewelry. (Unless you are buying them all Tiffany’s bracelets, that goes over well.) In fact, don’t allow fascinators in your wedding, full stop. They are an accessory that should be banned unless you are a burlesque star.

4. If you are being a control freak, then don’t make them pay.
For anything. Some Bridezillas are not going to budge on the bridesmaid dresses, and are going to insist they all wear a burgundy satin, full length, empire waist gown. Well, if you are going to be that b***h, then at least pay. For everything.

bridesmaid, wedding, dresses, fashion lists, fashion advice

Of course I can't write a post about dresses without including COS. And imagine these lovely dresses for your bridesmaids? Gorgeous! And all less than $150.

5. You may seek revenge. If you’ve had to suffer through several weddings wearing hideous dresses, and you want to get back at them, then invite those brides to be in your party, and choose the ugliest lime green, pouffy dress with matching dyed satin shoes. And, make them pay. They may not be smiling in the wedding photos, but you sure will.

Images from Net A Porter and COS.

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  • AnaO

    Good one! But I hoped you’d post some really bad bridesmaid dresses as well :)

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Haha, I should have. Could have just gone into my friend’s closet. Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
    http://www.searchingforstyle.com

  • Lola

    What is it about bridesmaids dresses that everyone throws taste and style out the window? I cannot STAND those floor length satin empire waist gowns. I had to wear one for a friend once, the following year I used it for a Halloween costume and went as Miss America. HA! I paid for my own bridesmaids dresses as I agree with you, it’s your day and your choice and essentially your friends are doing you a favour so it’s the least you can do. I’m in the age group now where everyone and their dog is getting married so we are invited to 5 + weddings every summer and the sense of entitlement and bridezilla-isms have nearly made me go crazy more than once. Get over yourselves people, you’re not the first person to ever get married!!!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Yes, it is crazy. I can’t believe how much people are expected to spend if they are going to a wedding these days. You need to buy a present for the bridal shower, then you need to fly somewhere for the hen party, then you need to buy a wedding present, if you are in the party you need to buy a bridesmaid dress (with hideous accessories to match) and then you need to fly somewhere for the wedding and pay for a hotel for 5 nights! Agreeing to go to someone’s wedding these days is ridiculous, it costs over $5K.

  • http://twitter.com/dianasof Diana

    I’ve heard that Ruche (shopruche.com) has launched a bridal line that also includes bridesmaids dresses. I just did a quick browse and there’s some nice ones, there’s quite a variety at a decent price.