From giant puffed sleeves to unflattering colour schemes, most of us have heard a few horror stories about some seriously unsightly bridesmaids dresses that women have been forced to endure at weddings over the years.
According to Judi Limbers from The Dress Shoppe in Leichhardt, Sydney, brides need to be attentive to the body shapes of their bridesmaids so they feeling their most beautiful at the wedding.
“A happy bride needs happy bridesmaids. If they feel overly self-conscious, they won’t be as attentive to their bride and they won’t look happy in the photos either, which are a big financial investment and last a lifetime,” says Judi.
“Brides need to think about whether their bridesmaids will be reasonably comfortable in what they are wearing.”
The team at The Dress Shoppe is passionate about educating brides in how to dress their bridesmaids according to their different body shapes and in dress styles and colours that suit them, so much so, they’ve even developed a whole program in their trunk show workshops which helps couples choose the most flattering cuts for their bridesmaids’ bodies.
Here are some of Judi’s top tips for finding the perfect dresses for your bridal party.
Be aware of your bridesmaids’ different body shapes
Everyone’s got a hang-up or two about their body shape, whether it’s that they wish they had smaller thighs, a tighter tummy or a bigger chest. It’s really important to be aware of your bridesmaids’ different shapes and sizes and to ensure that they’re wearing something they look fabulous and feel comfortable in, says Judi.
Make sure you sort a couple of options for your bridesmaids, and allow them to choose what feels right for themselves.
Let them try before you buy
There is no point in hunting down the perfect bridesmaid dress without bridesmaids actually trying them on. After all, the last thing you want is to have wasted time on dresses that are unflattering and don’t fit your bridesmaids properly. Also, your bridesmaids will probably appreciate having some input on what they will wear on the day.
“If you have bought the dresses already and you have someone who is unhappy see what can be done to add to the dress to improve it,” says Judi. “Make sure you ask them how they would like to change it and see if there can be some solution. Adding a chiffon shawl around the arms or perhaps getting a cut bolero or lace cover-up top can be a solution.”
Mix things up
A great way to cater for your bridesmaids’ different body shapes and sizes is to put them in a variety of complementary styles and colours.
“The recent trend of convertible dresses is popular because it means each girl can change her dress to better suit her figure,” explains Judi. A convertible dress can often be changed into a strapless, one strap or halter neck dress.
Alternatively, some brands do the same fabric in different styles, so you could have a mix of designs with a common colour. One bridesmaid could wear a boatneck A-line frock, another could be in a shift and the other could have a cowl-neck dress.
Consider choosing a classic cut
After your wedding day, you and your loved ones will enjoy revisiting your wedding day photos well into the future. So now is probably not the best time to go crazy and choose a dress that’s out of character. A classic, timeless ‘play it safe’ design is always recommended, says Judi.
Four great body tips for bridesmaids
If you want to emphasise your waist and show off your hourglass shape
“Designs which have a waistband are very easy to find, by far the most common and work perfectly for this,” says Judi.
If you want to showcase your bust
Most girls won’t want to show off their chest in a wedding, so be careful not to make them feel too over-exposed, warns Judi.
“A moderate V neckline will give attention to the bust sufficiently but not too low – it’s a wedding not a nightclub,” she advises.
If you want to minimise your bust
It’s likely that there will be at least one woman in your bridal party with a bigger bust, but the good news is that a ‘minimising’ bust design will flatter everyone.
“A wide neckline draws attention away from the bust by emphasising the shoulder line. Also, at times, a high neckline can also detract from bust size and diagonal lines across the body will be very flattering, too,” says Judi.
If you want to cover up your shoulders and arms
According to Judi, more brides have been looking for sleeves for their bridesmaids recently, as strapless designs are not always flattering for everyone. So, consider gown designs that have full-length sleeves or, even, smaller sleeves rather than going completely sleeveless or strapless.