The fashion world is embracing real women. Women who are tall, curvy, or simply don’t fit into a contrived mold. The bridesmaid dresses available for plus size women are flattering, fashionable, and eminently wearable.
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One style does not suit everyone
The first thing when choosing bridesmaid dresses is understanding that everyone is different. Some women are curvy, with a gorgeous hourglass figure. There are tall women who find clothes that fit their width become scandalously short on them. Some women are point-blank uncomfortable wearing anything that skims their figure.
The bridal party and bride need to sit down and discuss expectations. This means that everyone understands what people are comfortable with, and what the bride wants in terms of ‘the look’.
Then, it’s time to go shopping. But how do you know what’s going to look good?
Define the waist for hourglass figures
Women with hourglass figures can look shapeless in the wrong outfit. A belt or dress pulled in at the natural waistline is their friend- it defines their waist and creates flattering curves. A tailored style of maxi dress beautifully flatters an hourglass figure.
Tall women need long clothes
Tall women often find that when an outfit fits their bodies, it becomes too short. The tulip-style skirt in particular can look a respectable length, but become uncomfortably short when walking or seated. Sadly, buying a maxi dress doesn’t always solve the problem either—what’s long enough for others becomes ankle or calf-skimming for the tall women. A midi-length dress can solve this problem, allowing the entire bridal party to have a skirt that falls to a comfortable length.
Tall women also have long torsos. A jumpsuit might look fun but they can result in unfortunate waist and crotch-line placement unless you’re considering custom-made.
Plus size for short women
Plus size clothing assumes the wearer is as tall as broad. This is simply not the case. Short people might just be told to crop their dress shorter, but then that loses the shape of the garment or some of the pattern in the process. A dress that falls straight to the ground resolves this, with no lace or detailing at the hemline.
Big bustline? No worries
Women who are big-busted may find strapless dresses difficult to wear (depending on how magical their strapless bra is). Also, a deep v neckline can overly exaggerate their cleavage. Be aware that your bridesmaid may prefer some form of straps, or the ability to cover up. A v-neck is very flattering however, so a dress with a wide strap and v-neck can be adjusted to suit the wearer.
The other issue for big-busted beauties is that the top half can be a few sizes larger than the bottom half. A cinched- in waistline dress can help or consider separates. Buy the top and bottom in their respective sizes, no tailoring required.
Pear-shaped doesn’t mean shapeless
Pear-shaped women find clothes that fit perfectly around their hips gape around the waist and bust line. Separates work here too or try a simple A-line gown to fit and flatter.
Tailor to perfection
The answer to many woes here is tailoring. Investing a few extra dollars so that the clothes fit the person perfectly means that everyone looks great, and more importantly, that they are comfortable. No loose fabric, scrunched up waistlines, tight or gaping armholes or too-long straps. Body positivity is about embracing what you are and making the clothes fit; not covering up perceived imperfections.
When you see celebrities with perfectly fitting clothes, often it’s not due to their perfect bodies, but some sneaky shaping. Even a simple white cotton t-shirt looks better if you buy it a size up, and then take in the seams.
Buying shapewear is a good investment- provided it fits correctly. Shapewear isn’t about squishing yourself into a different shape, it’s about smoothing lines and making clothes flow seamlessly. If you want to use shapewear, don’t try to jam yourself into a smaller size, it becomes too uncomfortable, hot, sweaty, and it ends up bulging or rolling down anyway, defeating the point entirely.
Always invest in a great bra—a good foundation helps you and the dress look great.
Fabric choice is important
A certain style of dress might look fabulous, but in the wrong fabric (or with the wrong shapewear), it will reflect every bump, bone, or curve. Satin is one culprit, and some cheaper jersey knits also are a hot mess. Instead, try chiffon, heavier draped jerseys and natural silks. When choosing fabric, also consider the weather; on a hot day, a satin fabric doesn’t breathe well and it may also show sweat marks.
Comfort is key for a great bridesmaid dress
If your bridesmaid feels comfortable and looks great, then your goal is achieved. While there are general rules-of-thumb, it’s up to you and your bridal party to find what suits you. There’s nothing worse than wearing an outfit that rides up, falls down, gapes or needs constant adjustment. Fiddling with your hemline or hauling up your strapless dress all day gets annoying.
Don’t dress according to the rules, but what feels good and makes your whole team look their absolute best.