We've all heard the requisite tales of bridesmaid dresses gone horribly wrong — ill-fitting, unflattering, and worse. So, while we know it's really all about the bride, for the sake of your friends' sartorial satisfaction, we've hand-picked the bridesmaid dresses that they'll actually be happy to wear at the wedding. From the more traditional sort to a bevy of pretty cocktail dresses that will transition perfectly beyond the big day, we've got it covered. Click through our editor's picks to shop the bridesmaid dresses your wedding party will happily purchase, wear, and keep long after you say "I do."
If your Summer calendar looks like ours, it might have a few weddings, reunions, and weekend getaways filling those precious Summer months, which can result in the perpetual I-need-a-dress stress. Banana Republic is hoping to alleviate the stress with a Summer dress collection retailing for under $300. Filled with a mix of dramatic maxi dresses, colorful cocktail dresses, and breezy frocks, the collection aims to be a go-to for every event we have. Side note: we can't help but think they're dipping their pinky toe into the bridal market with the silk starburst dress ($165), which comes in four pretty colors and looks like the ultimate bridesmaid's dress. Click to see the best of the dresses available online, as well as our favorites from the preview.
- They're paying. Typically bridesmaids shill out for the dresses, so letting them find something in their budget will reduce a lot of the stress and chance for uncomfortable situations.
- They can pick a flattering dress. Unless you've found the sisterhood of the traveling bridesmaid dress, no one gown looks amazing on every woman. Let each bridesmaid choose something she knows she can shine in.
- One less thing on your plate. It's hard enough to find "the one" perfect wedding dress, so leave the bridesmaid shopping to your friends, and focus on your dress and other planning details.
- They can wear it again. Forgetting any past bridesmaid experience, it seems like most brides genuinely believe they've chosen a dress their attendants can wear again. But that's hardly ever the case. There's a greater chance your bridesmaids will pick a repeat winner though, if you let them choose something they really love.
- Adds an original twist to your weeding. A variety of dresses is visually stimulating and will give your big day, and the pictures to follow, a refreshing feel.
- No resentment. Your good friends won't be holding even an unconscious grudge at your wedding, knowing you trusted them enough to pick out a special dress.
- Good karma. Who knows? Maybe they'll let you do the same when they ask you to be in their weddings!
Leave it to J.Crew to magically seam the gap between wedding attire and fashion. Really, we didn't think it was possible to one-up yourself until now. Its latest Fall '10 wedding collection is the ultimate destination for everyone in the party. Brides will undoubtedly fall head over heels in love with the brand's top-notch fabrics — which hail from Europe's most famous mills — and spectacular hand-made embroidery. Do intricate lace, copious tulle, or silk taffeta tickle your fancy? Furthermore, the rest of the wedding entourage will be giddy with relief when you present them with J.Crew's modern selection of bridesmaid dresses. Believe us, they can wear these timeless cuties over and over again . . .
If you've ever been a bridesmaid, you know the pains of forking over moolah for a dress you'll wear once. Fret not, bridal extraordinaire Vera Wang to the rescue. Her newly released Spring '10 bridesmaid collection is made for the modern girl on a tight budget. Ranging from $180 to $250, the selection boasts wispy Grecian-inspired gowns, structured strapless frocks, and silk halter dresses. “Today’s bride is increasingly sensitive to the tastes, feelings and finances of her attendants” said Wang. I agree; I can see myself wearing this cobalt blue architectural beauty again, again, and again . . .
OK, I know it's all about the bride on the big day. but that doesn't mean bridesmaids should get the shaft. You know what I mean. Why torture your closest friends with gaudy colors and rosettes when they can shine in Vera Wang's new bridesmaid collection? Thanks to Vera's vast selection of gorgeous gowns, bridesmaids can hold their heads high and wear their frocks with pride. The line, ranging from $180 to $300, includes decadent short and long styles made from jewel-toned satins, silks, and refined taffeta. My favorite has to be this modern Renee Satin Tiered Dress. Who ever said you can't wear bridesmaid dresses twice? Not Vera.
This Spring, in the comedy I Love You, Man, we witnessed one of the happiest, liveliest colors a bridesmaid can wear. The maids in the movie wore Nanette Lepore's "Still Free" shift dresses, FYI. Appropriate for a garden, beach, or even indoor wedding (if the reception or party is outdoors), your bridesmaids will thank you. How can one stress on the big day when she's surrounded by chipper yellow best buds? I'm also an advocate of non-bridesmaids bridesmaid dresses for the supporting cast — sourcing a mid-range designer for wear-again cocktail dresses is the way to go. It's thoroughly modern and, again, your bridesmaids will be thankful. What do you think — are you as smitten with this sunshiney bride and her bridesmaids as I am?
If you're feeling me on this one, take a look at my sunshiney bridesmaid picks, and read more
Funny. I just finished an extensive search helping my best friend find her — my — bridesmaid dresses. She put me in charge because, well, you know why. We just found them! We're going with J.Crew's silk taffeta cocktail dresses, but had timing been different, I may have suggested Lela Rose.
The American designer of super femme, city-savvy clothes is delving into the bridesmaid market. Nary a pastel or petticoat in sight, Lela's dresses will come in jewel tone hues and modern silhouettes. One example is a crinkle chiffon dress with rosette details inspired by the First Daughter’s bridesmaids’ dresses. Shorter dresses will be $300 and the maximum will be $450 for full-length gowns. Also, Rose will continue her partnership with Payless and launch "The Unforgettable Moments by Lela Rose" dyeable shoe collection in December.