Outfitting bridesmaids has long been regarded a complicated wedding task. Amid an etiquette minefield of do’s and don’ts, cohesively dressing a diverse group of women is no easy task. We love the shift towards individually styling your leading ladies to suit their personal aesthetic, especially considering they’ve been handpicked for their unique qualities.
Whether it's dressing each bridesmaid differently or adding signature styling pieces to a defined look, an individual approach will ensure they too feel their best on your wedding day. We’ve put together a styling guide including advice we gathered from some of The LANE’s favorite brides, to give an insight into the process of dressing bridesmaids with individuality.
DECIDE ON COLOR AND FABRIC
When including your bridesmaids in the decision-making process, setting some guidelines will ensure cohesion between each look. We’re drawn to palettes of varying and complementary shades in different textures and fabrics. We love a muted color palette of ivory and pale, neutral hues, or a contrasting navy palette which highlights the bride. Selecting a color or fabric can prove the perfect starting point for your bridesmaids, helping them to understand the desired aesthetic.
If fabric selection is not your forte, we recommend contacting some local fabric houses and tapping into their expert insider knowledge. Crepe de chine is a fabric we love for bridesmaid dresses, as it's both versatile and lustrous with an incredibly beautiful drape. Silk georgette lends itself beautifully to movement and perfectly translates semi-sheer prints for a softer look, while the use of different lace textures is an edgy but complementary look.
Laura’s advice: “I wanted the girls to all be wearing the same brand, so there was a bit of continuity. Selecting a brand with a wider product offering was perfect because they could all find a silhouette that worked for them in various shades of the same color. All the girls ended up having their dresses eight-nine months before the wedding.”
Tenille’s advice: "I had an easy job, but a variety of heights and bust sizes to find something perfect for. I wanted my girls to be involved in selecting the dresses (that’s half the fun), but did want them all in the same outfit. We looked online from about November to February and finally found the ASOS dresses the girls wore. I was set on white and wanted off-the-shoulder as my dress was a bustier and showed off my collarbones and shoulders so we had a synergy between our outfits.
SELECT A DESIGNER
Drawing influence from the cohesion of runway collections, we love the idea of contrasting fabrics in similar cuts and vice versa. Clashing prints and patterns in similar colorways or a mixture of necklines can work well and allows your bridesmaids to pick their preference. If choosing outfits that are the same, aim for a style that is universally flattering; off shoulder cuts and high cut necks are generally complementary to a variety of body shapes. We recommend doing your research to find a suitable brand. If you’re unsure where to start, try Moda Operandi, Net-a-Porter, SSENSE, FWRD and FarFetch as sources of sartorial inspiration.
Laura’s advice: “We had an 18-month engagement which meant I could follow a fashion calendar, watch the shows and know what pieces were going to be available for the resort/summer season. If your engagement window is smaller than ours, all fashion week content is listed online. I had five bridesmaids; one in New York, one in London, one on the Gold Coast, one in Sydney and another in Melbourne – I needed a brand that shipped internationally at a reasonable cost and I needed a brand that had a diverse product offering.”
Megan’s advice: "I wanted to stay away from anything too ‘bridesmaidy’ and make sure the girls were comfortable and that we chose a dress they could wear again. We chose a silk, ruched Manning Cartell dress in a navy ink color. The style was universally flattering."
Caitlin’s advice: "Camilla & Marc did our bridesmaids’ dresses. They were a beautiful winter white in a stunning soft silk. I loved the simplicity and elegance of the high neck, contrasted with the daring, draped low back."
PICK A DRESS CODE
When allowing your bridesmaids to choose their own gowns, setting a uniform dress code will guarantee your leading ladies all fit the tone of the wedding. Selecting a uniform gown length, or cut will ensure cohesion without some bridesmaids looking dressier in full length, while others dress for cocktail. Alternatively choosing gowns of varying lengths in the same fabric is a complementary styling element which translates beautifully in imagery.
Amber’s advice: "Sticking with a black-tie theme, I didn’t want typical floor length gowns; I wanted the girls to feel confident, comfortable and sexy. The dresses had a sheer slit showing a cheeky amount of skin with a veneer of mesh and a low back, I loved them. They were classic with an edgy aesthetic."
THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT SHOES
Deciding on shoes for your bridesmaids can be defined by various factors including the height of your ladies, dress style and even venue. Everyone has a preferred heel height and keeping in mind everything the bridesmaids will be doing throughout the wedding day, comfort is essential. If your bridesmaids are choosing shoes individually, it is important to choose complementary colors and styles; think a pointed toe or strappy sandal, this will tie them together beautifully.
Laura’s advice: "Because all their dresses were different shapes and slightly different colours, I asked the girls to pick an amazing pair of nude/neutral shoes that would go with their dress."