It’s an honour to be asked to be a bridesmaid. It shows there’s a long-term friendship and a depth to the relationship; this person means a lot to you. But for some people, being a bridesmaid can be stressful.
(6 minutes to read)
It means they’ll be standing in front of a crowd of people, and they are going to be in a lot of photos. Any anxiety around this will be heightened if they are in clothes they don’t usually wear or that they feel uncomfortable in.
You can help to make the day more awesome for your bridesmaids. Don’t get too stuck on the idea they all have to match perfectly; it’s simple enough to allow styles to be modified to suit the person. Also, throw away the idea they have to be in pretty dresses; there are so many other options now, with cute skirt/ trouser and top sets or even rompers. You want them to be comfortable so they can focus on supporting you, and having an amazing, fun, happy day.
There are some dress styles that do suit somebody types more than others, but whatever you do, ask your bridesmaid first! You love them for who they are; don’t force them to be something they’re not. The following suggestions are just that: only suggestions. What an individual likes could be completely different. Involve them in the process; while you might have some definite rules about colours or styles, give them choices in other areas.
This is less about making them all conform to some out-dated bridesmaid expectations and more about making them comfortable and happy—and gorgeous.
Petite women sometimes struggle to find clothes that don’t overwhelm them. Because they are smaller framed, the dress can end up wearing them instead of the other way around. Big details, such as dramatic bows or huge amounts of fabric can simply be too much.
Strapless, spaghetti straps, and simple dresses look amazing. They can also get away with strapless bras, which leads into the second point…
Women with a large bust know it’s a blessing and a curse. Their boobs need support—there’s no strapless or backless bra that is truly comfortable. Think about:
V-neckline dresses: These make the neck look longer and stops the chest area looking like a huge expanse of fabric. This v-neck can be a deep as they wish, with cleavage if they want to get the girls out.
Ditch the strapless: Thick straps on the dress mean that it’s easy to wear a bra. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
Emphasize the waistline: Many busty women have gorgeous figures, but the bust to waist ratio on ready-made clothing doesn’t emphasise it enough, and clothes can end up looking shapeless. Get a tailor to make the dress in at the waist to avoid a sack-like look.
For those of us with a bit of junk in the trunk, our top half is narrower than our full hips. A-line skirts are flattering, although why you’d want to cover up that booty is beyond our understanding.
If you want a skirt/ top look, you’ll need to get the skirt tailored so the waistline doesn’t gape open; what fits around the hips will probably be too loose at the waist.
Athletic/ slim women
While a slim person will fit everything off the rack, they can look very rectangular. If they like this, that’s cool, but if they want to look feminine, there are some things you can do.
Belted waistlines: These emphasise the waist, giving a bit of shape. Also, a skirt that sits at the waist worn with a cute top will do the same thing, adding shape and breaking up the line of the body.
V-necks lengthen: A dress with a v neck help to draw the eye to the point of the v. This gives the impression of wider shoulders, drawing to down to the waist.
This is pretty common at weddings; after all, the age many people get married is when people are also starting their families. Not only do you want the Mum-to-be to be comfortable, but the dress also needs to accommodate an expanding tummy.
High waistlines: A simple a-line dress that has a ‘waistline’ just under the bust is ideal. This leaves room for belly expansion so you’re not trying to make alterations to the dress in the days before the wedding.
Flowy fabrics: Give your expectant friend light, flowy fabric so they can have freedom to move, airflow to keep them cool, and room to grow.
Is there a style that looks good on everyone?
There are certain styles that are universally flattering and comfortable. V-necks can be adjusted to be as deep as your bridesmaid wants, and makes the neck seem longer. They allow bras to be worn and can have any length of the sleeve.
Buy an infinity dress and spend some time trying it in different styles, seeing what is comfortable and easy to wear. If you want everyone to have the same colour dress but are flexible on the style, then this is a great option. It gives people the freedom to do what they like, with no special tailoring needed.
Fabric matters too
Some fabrics can be very challenging to wear. Shiny satin reflects every bump and crease, making every tiny line- for instance, from underwear- into a visible nightmare. There’s no way your dress can have pockets either if it shows every bulge.
There are also some very thin, drapey jersey-fabrics. These are really comfortable to wear but can cling to every bump.
Chiffon looks luxurious, it flows and floats, and looks great on everyone. Beautiful natural silk is also lovely to wear and has a lovely sheen to it, but it does require specialised cleaning.
Get things altered to fit
If you are buying off-the-rack, be prepared to get them all altered to fit perfectly. No one is the exact size as garment manufacturers seem to think and spending $50 to take in the waist or hem to the perfect length is well worth the cost.
Overall, this is less about making people conform to some vague standard and more about making them comfortable. Your busty friend might love strapless gowns, or your super-petite friend is the loudest person in the world, so loud that no print or detail could overwhelm her personality.
Get them on board and have a weekend (or two) shopping for what they like. Once you understand what they feel comfortable in, you can buy the dresses online and then get them tailored to suit them.