Shopping for a Contemporary Bridesmaid Dress
At one time, tradition required that bridesmaids all have matching dresses. They would likely be pastel colors, formal, single occasion dresses, carefully selected not to upstage the bride.
While the bride should always be the star of the show, contemporary guidelines provide the opportunity to veer away from these strict expectations. It is often permissible for bridesmaids to choose their own dresses, as long as they follow criteria from the bride about color, style, or overall theme.
Bridesmaid Dress Guidelines
It is not unusual for the bride and bridesmaid to go dress shopping together. It is best for the bride to have made her gown selection first. That way, you will know whether your dress is coordinated with, and complementary to, the bride’s dress.
If you are shopping on your own, or with other bridesmaids, be sure you have talked to the bride about her ideas and vision of how the bridesmaids should look. Even if the bridesmaids’ dresses are not matching, similarities in color or style can help tie the group together into a coordinated ensemble.
In this era, a bridesmaid’s dress does not have to follow traditional rules and guidelines, unless that is the look desired by the bride. Hip and fashion forward bridesmaid dresses can be knee length or slightly higher.
Forget about pastel colors. Darker colors look better with a wider range of skin colors. Deep purples, blues and charcoal grays are all trendy choices. Think about options like plunging necklines or one-shoulder dresses as alternatives to the common strapless look.
Materials and Style for Bridesmaid Dresses
Consider a bridesmaid dress that can be worn for other events or occasions. There is no reason not to pick a dress that would be suitable for a cocktail party, formal dinner or even another wedding.
In addition to the bride’s guidelines, comfort and versatility are good attributes for your dress. Materials such as cotton, chiffon or satin are often chosen. Flowing fabrics, bubbles hems or soft ruffles are frequently seen on contemporary bridesmaids. Do not select something that is too stiff or formal.
It is important that your dress is appropriate for your body type. As there is likely to be variation in weight and shape among the bridesmaids, this should be reflected in each bridesmaid’s dress. All members of the wedding party should look their best and feel comfortable and confident in their attire.
Finishing Your Look
Accessories will help to complete your look. Pick some killer shoes or flashy earrings and bracelets that will highlight the best features of you and your dress. Again, coordinating shoes and jewelry among all of the bridesmaids is one of the ways to achieve a harmonious look for the wedding.
Before you make your final selection, make sure that your dress will meet all of the bride’s guidelines. It should be a reflection of the bride’s personal taste and style, as well as, your own.
Most importantly, do not outshine the bride. One day, you will be the bride and have your own ideas about how your bridesmaids should look!