10 Tips for Finding a Universally Flattering Bridesmaid Dress

10 Tips for Finding a Universally Flattering Bridesmaid Dress


You're at the dress shop and one bridesmaid looks dynamite while the rest are less than thrilled with your selection. Let's face it-women come in more shapes and sizes than Jelly Belly flavors. All are great, but one size doesn't fit all. A practical option is to also add accessories like shrugs or additional tailoring to make sure that everyone feels confident and beautiful! Here are 10 tips to help you find a dress that all your bridesmaids will look good in.

3/4 sleeves are a sleeve that works on everyone.

We're pretty big fans of the 3/4 length sleeve on a great gown. They are a sleeve that works on every height and age. And when you can get both elegance and something that flatters across the board, why wouldn't you?

If you want the same dress on every bridesmaid, an a-line silhouette is likely your safest bet.

Although an a-line silhouette certainly isn't the most modern option in the world, it's a classic for a reason. Pretty much everyone looks awesome in it. The only body type that might struggle a bit with this dress are apple shapes, but that can usually be addressed with good tailoring or finding an a-line that has a slightly higher waist.

A classic sheath dress can actually flatter a wide variety of shapes.

You might not think it, but sometimes the best solution to finding something that flatters everyone is a dress that is more streamlined. The secret to the power of this sheath dress above is it's just below the knee hemline. For most women, this is the narrowest party of their leg and the dress will actually make their gams appear longer. Of course, the tallest and most petite bridesmaids may have to tailor a bit to find the ideal length for them.

Structure is a girl's best friend.

Flimsy, gauzy fabric and relaxed styling doesn't flatter most shapes. Instead find a dress with sturdier fabric and plenty of internal structure. This navy dress above would work well on both athletic and curvier, hourglass bodies because of how the bodice is designed. Slimmer figures will look lovely (think Audrey Hepburn) and bustier pals will have the benefit of an accentuated waist to avoid making them look frumpy.

Black isn't the only slimming color.

There's a reason why a LBD is such a wardrobe staple. It's usually adaptable to a variety of settings and is the most flattering item in your closet. But it's not only flattering because it's black, it is slimming because it is all one color. A monochromatic statement is lengthening and streamlines your figure no matter what the shade. Although, when finding a monochromatic gown, look for ones where the fabric is matte, rather than shiny or iridescent.

Separates can be an easy way to find the perfect fit.

Not only are separates modern and cool, they can also help take the difficulty out of finding a dress that fits everyone perfectly. After all, how many of us are actually the same size for tops and skirts? By wearing separates, your bridesmaids will be able to find something that fits them well. And if there is one thing that flatters more than anything else, it's the correct fit.

Concealing is important, not simply covering with loads of fabric.

It's a mistake to think that your plus-size bridesmaid will look better with more fabric covering her. In actuality, princess skirts and layers with yards of extra fabric adds shape and pounds, not the other way around. Rather, look for a skirt that skims her body, such as these lovely examples above. It will conceal her less-than-favorite features and bring attention to her hourglass proportions.

Look for subtle design features.

Fabrics with vertical stripes, ruching at the waist, and slits to the knee are all slenderizing design features. No matter what your body type, these will all help you look amazing. If all of your bridesmaids share the same body type, but it is a difficult one to shop for, find features that will flatter them!

High-low hemlines look great on everyone (provided the "high" isn't too high).

These flirty adaptations to a traditionally long dress can be so much fun to wear. As an added benefit, everyone will be able to catch the cool shoes you selected for your ladies. An at the knee hemline is best for everyone. Although it should be noted that if you have petite bridesmaids, the best pairing for this dress is a pair of nude pumps without ankle straps (that can tend to cut you off at the ankle, thereby "shortening" the appearance of your legs).

Have a bridal party with one of every body type? Consider a maxi dress!

When you have an array of different body shapes, including a pregnant bridesmaid, you may want to consider a maxi dress like the one above. Just make sure that everyone buys the correct size (maxi dresses tend to look sloppy when they are too big) and that the hem hits to the desired length while wearing their shoes.

Credits: Aidan Mattox | Adrianna Papell | Allure Bridals | Lela Rose | J. Crew | Jenny Yoo | Hayley Paige | David Meister | Shoshanna | Watters

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