Ditch Bad Bridesmaid Dresses Forever

by Simone Hill, Rebecca Hanley

Did your bridesmaids look honoured, yet slightly scared, when you asked them to stand up with you at your wedding? If so, they may have been freaking out slightly at the prospect of that cliché of all clichés, the bad bridesmaid’s dress. But your bridesmaids don’t have to look like they’ve just stepped out of an ’80s prom moment – or worse, like clones from every other wedding. It is possible to dress your bridesmaids in frocks they’ll love (and maybe even wear again).


We took inspiration from the runways at Bridal Fashion Week in NYC to bring you 11 current trends you can adopt for your bridal party. Tiered bodices, one-shoulder looks and white (yes, white for bridesmaids!) are just a few ways to give your bridal party a fresh take. Keep scrolling for ideas on how to make your bridesmaids stand out for all the right reasons.

1) Tiered bodices
 Images: Maria Valentino / MCV Photo, Kurt Wilberding

Layering adds a fun element to the bodice and neckline of otherwise simple dresses with clean lines. This look works in a light fabric, like chiffon or even silk jersey.

2) Let them wear white, or ivory

Image: (Left) Kurt Wilberding

Break the taboo that wearing white is reserved only for the bride. (Don’t worry: Everyone will know who you are, regardless of what your friends are wearing!) Look for gowns with interesting texture, fabrics or silhouettes, so your girls don’t blend into the background.

3) One-shoulder detail

Image: (Left) Maria Valentino/MCV Photo

Asymmetrical shoulders are huge for bridesmaids right now, and it’s easy to see why with sophisticated updates like twisted fabric, lace illusions and sexy cutouts.

4) Relaxed tailoring

Images: MAID by Yifat Oren x Rory Beca, Ivy & Aster

A long dress in an effortless short-sleeve bohemian style has a comfort-meets-chic look that’s still elegant. It’s perfect for a wedding with a beach or rustic vibe, and works well with sandals!

5) Pleats

Images: Ivy & Aster, Jim Hjelm, Donna Morgan/Kurt Wilberding

Micro accordion pleats are a subtle way to add texture to lightweight fabrics. And they’re not just for skirts — pleats can also work on the bodice too!

6) V-straps

Images: From Left: Amsale, Jenny Yoo; Photo: Maria Valentino/MCV Photo

For a modern twist on the halter neckline, swap out traditional straight-strap dresses with flattering V-straps to create a unique neckline for your bridesmaids. This simple-yet-stylish silhouette works in a variety of fabrics, like chiffon and lace.

7) Cut-out backs

Image: (Left) Maria Valentino/MCV Photo

Want your girls to look stunning from all angles? Choose a gown that flaunts an unexpected cutout or a fresh detail from behind. It’s a little sexy (and yes,they’ll need to find the right bra) but still subtle enough that your bridesmaids won’t feel like they’re baring it all.

8) Belts

Not only are belts a built-in accessory, they also flatter pretty much any figure. Whether you’re looking to give the gown a pop of color or a splash of sparkle, there’s a belted version out there that both you and your bridesmaids will love.

9) Fit-and-flare skirts

Image: (Right) Kurt Wilberding

Bridesmaid dresses in flowy fabrics are pretty much status quo these days, so to really set your bridal party apart, put them in gowns with a more pronounced fit-and-flare shape in a structured fabric like dupioni silk. It’s perfect for a formal affair.

10) Layered fabric

Image: (Left) Maria Valentino/MCV Photo

A skirt draped in layers of sheer fabric gives floor-length bridesmaid dresses an ethereal vibe.

11)  Gunmetal Grey

Images: (Middle) Kurt Wilberding, (Right) Maria Valentino/MCV Photo

This stylish shade was all over the runways at Bridal Fashion Week. Give industrial-inspired grey hue a softer spin and pick gowns in fabrics like chiffon, tulle and lace.

What are you planning for your bridesmaids’ dresses, Knotties?

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