Bridesmaids in SkirtsWhen it comes to bridesmaid’s dresses, any woman who has ever been in a wedding knows the drill: it’ll be something jewel-toned, probably unflattering, with as much a chance of being worn again as the dress she wore to senior prom. Bridesmaid’s dresses seem to be designed to make the bride look better by turning the bridesmaids into a uniformly-colored faceless mass. If you want to do your bridesmaids a favor, consider a few of the following options. Your best girlfriends will thank you for not making them spend a chunk of change on a dress they’ll never wear again.

Ditch the Matchy-Matchy

Unless your bridesmaids are identical clones, they’re bound to have different body styles that are flattered by different types of dress, from fit to fabric. So instead of squeezing them all into one mold, make the dress fit the bridesmaid instead of the other way around. You won’t have that perfectly homogenous set of identically-hued dresses, but you’ll have happy, comfortable bridesmaids. As long as they stay in your wedding color family, the pictures will look great.

Skirts and Blouses

Why not dress the bridesmaids more like groomsmen, with white shirts, black skirts, and a matching accessory? It’s a fun look that still has glamour without a hint of those purple sateen sack dresses everyone hates. Let your bridesmaids pick a bowtie, or even a classic necktie, for a look that echoes the grooms’ side of the wedding party while still being unmistakably feminine.


Avoid those blocks of color with a fun but elegant print. Summer and spring weddings can go for a floral print, winter weddings can sparkle with blue and silver, fall weddings can go for zigzags in orange and red. When looking for the perfect print, keep your bridesmaids in mind: is this something they might choose to wear on an average day?

Matching Separates

Your bridesmaids will look prim and proper in matching sweaters and skirts, with a crisp white blouse completing the look. It’s perfect for those fall, winter, and early spring weddings where there’s a little nip in the air. You won’t have to worry about them borrowing the groomsmen’s jackets to keep warm!

Jeans and Button-downs

If you’ve got a rustic or Western theme for your wedding, resist the urge to go for gingham and petticoats in favor of letting the girls go a little tomboy. Let the bridesmaids choose flattering jeans in the color and wash you pick out, and match up the shirts. Bonus points for adding bolo ties and/or hats.

Whether it’s ditching the dress entirely, or simply thinking outside the monolithic sateen dress, make sure your choice fits the theme but also makes the bridesmaids look good. If they’re comfortable with the way they’re dressed, they’ll have more fun, which makes the whole wedding more fun from the ceremony all the way through the reception. After all, the bridesmaids are some of your closest friends; don’t dress them like they’re enemies or rivals.