I recently went to a wedding and was horrified by the bride's choice of dress for her bridesmaids. The cut (strapless and tea-length), the color (a pea green with yellow trim), and the material (think loads and loads of tulle and taffeta) were truly horrendous. That got me to thinking, could you suggest a cut and style of dress that is universally flattering, as well as any particular colors or materials. If I'm going to make my future bridesmaids wear dresses of my choosing, I at least want them to look and feel beautiful. Thanks a lot! Bridezilla Brianne
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Dear Bridezilla Brianne --
I can completely understand your frustration with bridesmaids' dresses, as most of them are odd and overpriced. You're the bride, which means how you dress your friends for the big day is ultimately up to you. Since your friends are bound to have all different body types, the most flattering dress shape, without a doubt, is the A-line. While some consider this style boring, it hugs the right curves while providing leeway for others. As for length, it all depends on time of year and location. For winter, I would suggest keeping the dresses long; for summer or spring, you can go with a knee-length hemline, which is usually the most flattering length.
If you choose to keep all the bridesmaids dressed alike, you'll need to use your own discretion when choosing the neck line. If your friends will be more comfortable with the extra support, I'd opt for something with straps; if they don't have a preference, I think a halter or strapless cut is the most flattering.
Color and fabric can be tough decisions, too. Again, the season will play a significant role. There's a lot of sitting, waiting around, and a little sweating throughout the wedding day, and you don't want your ladies to look messy. Besides, wrinkles can ruin a dress. Silk charmeuse would be the least fussy fabric, while taffeta can be disastrous. As for your colors, that decision rests entirely with you. You'll need to consider your flowers, the skin-coloring of your respective bridesmaids, the time of year, and most important, the room where you'll be married.
I am a big fan of J Crew's bridesmaids collection. Not only do they have an array of styles, but the colors are vibrant and the dresses reasonably priced. Some brides prefer to find a dress their friends can wear again, but no matter how cute or flattering the dress, most of us really don't wear the dress again. Just go with what you thinks looks best.
It's good of you to be concerned with how your friends will feel and look on your big day. Don't fret too much, as all eyes really will be on you and your future husband. Good luck on your big day!