Image courtesy of Photo Pink
I have no idea where to start for my bridesmaids’ dress shopping. Help!
I have a confession to make: I hate shopping for clothing. Therefore, I am probably not the best person to be answering this. Hopefully, though, some of our readers will chime in and leave some comments!
I’m not sure if you’re struggling with something like choosing a color or style, or where to actually purchase a dress. If you’re having trouble with the former issues, I’d suggest starting with your bridesmaids’ skin tones and figuring out what will or will not be flattering. For instance, in general, it takes a special someone to pull off yellow. So, if your wedding colors are yellow and grey, I’d go for grey for the dresses. If you’re deliberating over what style, check out some actual weddings and see if you are drawn to any looks. For more casual affairs, I’d avoid full-length gowns. And if any of your bridesmaids have concerns about certain styles (some folks really don’t like strapless dresses), take that into consideration.
When it comes to shopping for dresses, there are several options. The first option, and the one I chose, is to simply say something to the effect of, “Buy a [color] dress that’s [this material] and [this length].” You can even leave out some of those descriptors. If you’re a bit more particular, feel free to send fabric swatches, or ask that your bridesmaids send you a picture of them in the dress before purchasing it (or make sure the return policy is reasonable). To see what this could potentially end up looking like, just check out the picture at the top of the post. Those are my bridesmaids (and bridesman, who was told “Get a grey suit. We’ll provide your tie.”) The only instructions they received were to purchase a knee-length cool-toned (blue rather than red undertones) purple dress. Bam.
The second option is to simply choose a store and go for it! This can be a David’s Bridal, Alfred Angelo, Macy’s, Ann Taylor, Gap, Old Navy, or anywhere you shop on a regular basis. If you already shop there, odds are you like what they offer. There’s no reason why a bridesmaid dress has to be purchased at an official bridesmaid dress retailer (whatever that means). If not all of your bridesmaids are local to you, obviously make sure there’s a store available near them, or that the store you choose has an online presence and a good return policy.
Which leads me into my last option – online. There are some retailers who offer bridesmaid dresses online but not in stores. Target is one such store. J. Crew is another. I’m positive there are more out there, but those are the ones that spring immediately to mind. If you have a favorite store, it’s probably worth looking into whether they fit this bill. I’m also a fan of Dessy and ModCloth for dress needs. You could also simply search for “[color] [length] bridesmaid dress” and see what pops up. (Also, check out BAB’s Resources page and look through the banners on our sidebar for more places to find great bridesmaids dresses. – Eds.)